Clinton will be on defense against GOP attacks on her record, especially on her email server
Democrats hope to galvanize liberals in opposition to Trump
While Republicans rally in Cleveland this week, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, with help of the Democratic National Committee, will set up shop in the “Rock and Roll Capital of the World” to cast the Republican ticket as out-of-touch with what voters actually want.
But the Clinton campaign also plans to spend a substantial amount of time on defense this week, especially around Clinton’s exclusive use of a private email server as secretary of state.
In a fact sheet written and distributed by Brian Fallon, Clinton’s national press secretary, the Clinton campaign argues that while Donald Trump will focus on Clinton’s emails and FBI Director James Comey’s investigation and comments about the issue, most of what the presumptive Republican nominee will say will be false.
“With the Republican National Convention set to take place next week, Trump is likely to continue distorting Comey’s words about Clinton’s emails,” Fallon wrote, adding that while some comments Comey made did provide initial fodder for Trump, his testimony on Capitol Hill earlier this month on the topic “ended up substantiating what Clinton has long said.”
The prepared as defense is not just a nod to the fact that Clinton’s email controversy continues to nag her, but it’s also an acknowledgement to the fact that the one thing that may unite all Republicans in Cleveland this week is disdain for the idea of a Clinton presidency.
Dozens of Clinton aides, from a headquarters less than a mile from the Quicken Loans Arena, will also push their counter-convention plan – titled “Better Than This” – this week, trying to “amplify the idea that America is better than the divisive and dangerous rhetoric Donald Trump has offered us,” said Christina Reynolds, Clinton’s rapid response director.
Clinton’s top dollar super PAC, Priorities USA, will also blanket the city in anti-Trump advertising, making sure anyone who gets into a cab in Cleveland gets the question, “Does Donald Trump really speak for you?”
The super PAC has paid for their ad to play in 125 cabs in Cleveland for the entirety of the Republican convention. The spot, which features women and fathers with the daughters wearing Trump shirts and reading some of his more controversial lines about women, will be played an estimated 28,000 times, said the group’s spokesman, Justin Barasky.
Clinton herself will not be in Cleveland, but unlike past year when opposing candidates would stay dark most of the week, the former secretary of state has stops scheduled in Ohio, Minnesota and Nevada.
On Monday, when Republicans plan to focus on the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi at their convention, Clinton will announce a plan to register 3 million new voters by Election Day in November when she speaks at the 107th NAACP Annual Convention in Cincinnati, an aide said Sunday.
After the speech, Clinton will attend a Cincinnati voter registration rally for volunteers who have completed at least one shift for Clinton’s campaign.
The aide added that voter registration will be a primary campaign focus during the week of the RNC, with the campaign and other Democratic groups hosting more than 500 registration events across the country. Multiple events will take place in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Clinton will also travel to Minneapolis on Monday to attend the American Federation of Teachers Convention and headline a fundraiser.
Clinton will then travel to Nevada on Tuesday, where she will speak at the 42nd International AFSCME Convention and headline another fundraiser.
With much of the political world focused on the Republicans in Cleveland, it is expected that Clinton will respond to Republicans at these events.
Earlier this month in Virginia, Clinton knocked the Republican convention as a great event “If you are into bigotry, bluster and bullying.”
“We are going to have a great convention in Philadelphia,” Clinton said. “I have no idea what is going to happen in Cleveland.”
She added, “It is going to be entertaining I am sure if you are into bigotry, bluster and bullying, if you are into drawing lines between Americans, if you are into insulting groups of Americans, if you are into saying you don’t want to let Muslims into the country, you want to round up and deport 11 million people with a quote deportation force, if you enjoy seeing women demeaned.”
The Democrats will have an uphill battle to get attention, though. Conventions are a boon for the hosting party, in part, because of the blanket coverage they get by the press. Trump will likely lead cable and broadcast news every night, so the goal Democrats have is to muddy his message and break in at all.
Clinton’s aides in Cleveland will try to break through the media’s focus on the Republicans with a series of press conference, press calls and events.
“We believe the Republican convention will be a great recruiting tool – reminding voters how important it is to help Hillary Clinton make history and ensure that Donald Trump never takes the White House,” Reynolds said.
According to Reynolds, Democratic events in Cleveland will includes appearances by Sen. Al Franken, Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Xavier Becerra, all Democrats who have been talked about as possible vice presidential options for the former secretary of state.
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will also headline events, along with Rep. Marcia Fudge, Rep. Joyce Beatty, Ohio Senate candidate Ted Strickland, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Joe Crowley and Rep. Bennie Thompson.