Clinton critics jab at Obama camp hiring

Story highlights

  • A key Republican attack on a would-be Hillary Clinton presidential run would be that she'd be Obama's third term
  • Clinton has been talking with a number of high profile Democratic operatives while considering a presidential run
  • Clinton has also reportedly hired advisers from Obama's 2008 and 2012 runs for top jobs in her campaign

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton's most vocal critics have long tried to tie the former secretary of state to President Barack Obama, hoping that her 2016 run would be dragged down by the somewhat unpopular president.

But ahead of Tuesday's State of the Union address, critics say Clinton is making their job easy.
Tim Miller, the executive director of America Rising, an anti-Clinton communications and research super PAC, argues in talking points to other Republicans that Clinton is tying herself to Obama by working with and hiring many of his staffers ahead of her all-but-certain 2016 run.
    "By hiring his key political and policy staff and making no public moves to place clear distance between herself and the President on issues likely to be front and center in the coming Congress, Clinton is signaling that she's not just from the same party as the President, but that she's an Obama Democrat, who will back his policies, pursue his agenda, and represent a Third Term of the Obama Administration," Miller argues in a memo to the group's supporters.
    Since last year, Clinton has been meeting with a broad array of Democratic operatives and possible campaign staffers ahead of a possible 2016 run. But in the last month, Clinton has reportedly began to tap certain Democratic operatives -- many with ties to Obama's two successful presidential runs -- for certain jobs on her nascent campaign.
    John Podesta, a top aide on the Obama White House, has said a number of times that he plans to leave the White House in early February and would happily work for Clinton is she runs.
    "If she runs, as I hope she will, I will do whatever she asks me to do," Podesta, who previously worked as chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton, said on the Charlie Rose Show in November. "Right now she hasn't made a decision to run, so I am expecting to return to what I was doing before."
    Democrats widely expect -- and other outlets have reported -- that Podesta will serve as Clinton's campaign chairman, should she run.
    In the memo, Miller argues that Podesta's inclusion on team Clinton is the biggest sign of her joining with Obama. "He [Podesta] will bring that same policy agenda, willingness to subvert Congress and rhetoric to Team Clinton," he writes.
    What's more, Clinton has reportedly selected pollsters Joel Benenson, John Anzalone, David Binder and media adviser Jim Margolis for top roles in the campaign. All have worked in similar capacities for either the President's 2008 or 2012 campaigns.
    Clinton allies have long expressed concern that one of the most effective critiques could be that her presidency, should she run and be elected, would be nothing more than President Barack Obama's third term. But Clinton allies have become more upbeat about being tied to Obama in the last few months given improved economic indicators.
    Adrienne Elrod, spokeswoman for Correct the Record, a pro-Clinton super PAC, said Miller's energy behind the Clinton memo could have been dedicated at another possible 2016 candidate.
    "America Rising, ​the Super PAC where Tim Miller works, is essentially a pro-Romney organization founded by staffers from Mitt Romney's failed 2012 presidential campaign. They would serve themselves better to focus on their growing Romney shadow campaign for their party's nomination."
    Republicans have been closely watching for Clinton to break with Obama on certain issues, while at the same time labeling her 2016 run as "Obama's Third Term."
    "Beyond Clinton's issues agenda, her campaign's political leadership is shaping up to be staffed not by her own former campaign advisers, but rely heavily on President Obama's 2012 campaign leadership," Miller writes. "Put bluntly: the state of the Obama-Clinton 2016 Union is strong."