Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign
April 26, 2017
BOB SCHIEFFER: I’m Bob Schieffer.
H. ANDREW SCHWARTZ: And I’m Andrew Schwartz.
MR. SCHIEFFER: And these are conversations about the news. We are in the midst of a communications revolution. We have access to more information than any people in history. But are we more informed, or just overwhelmed by so much information we can’t process it?
MR. SCHWARTZ: These conversations are a year-long collaboration of the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
MR. SCHIEFFER: With us today, Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen, the authors of “Shattered,” a bombshell book that is out this week and is basically an autopsy of the Clinton campaign. Amie is the White House correspondent for The Hill newspaper, which is widely read in official Washington. Jonathan Allen is a columnist for Roll Call, which is The Hill’s biggest competition, I would say, here in Washington – a newspaper also widely read here. He is also the head of content at Sidewire, which is a digital place that specializes in sophisticated conversations about the issues of the day. This is their second collaboration. Previously, they wrote “HRC,” a biography of Hillary Clinton.
Welcome to both of you. I want to ask you first: Explain to us how you put this book together. As I understand it, you did interviews with people during the campaign with the promise that you wouldn’t report any of it until after the election, and most of the interviews were done on background. Is that about how it was?
AMIE PARNES: That’s right. We wanted the most candid stories that people could tell us, and the way that Jon and I – we met a lot of these people the first time we did the book. Jon and I have relationships with them dating back to the first campaign, so a lot of them are great sources of ours. We reached an agreement that we would not publish anything before the campaign ended and that – in order for them to basically be as candid as possible with us.
MR. SCHIEFFER: So, Jon, the people that were sources for you when you wrote “HRC,” those became the sources, named and unnamed, for this campaign?
JONATHAN ALLEN: Not entirely. There is some crossover there. We don’t really talk too much about our sources, you know, the individuals. But some of them were people that we had known for a long time. Some of them were people we just came to know now. Some of them were people from the, you know, earlier Clinton campaigns. I mean, you know, the Clintons have done so many things over the years – (chuckles) – there’s a lot of different sort of institutional sources about them, and we tapped into as many of them as we could.
MR. SCHIEFFER: The thing that struck me as I was reading some of the reviews is how the campaign – and as I understand it, the first chapter is pretty much how the campaign tried to come up with a rationale for Hillary Clinton to run.
MS. PARNES: Right.
MR. SCHIEFFER: I mean, that, to me, is shocking.
MS. PARNES: Yeah.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Is that right?
MS. PARNES: You would have thought that she would have learned her lesson in 2008, when she was the inevitable candidate and no one really knew why she was running. Barack Obama got out there and basically told people, you know, I’m for hope, I’m for change. No one really knew that about Secretary Clinton. No one had that kind of – those ideas about her.
So she had all these years to kind of prep and revise her message, maybe, and talk about her kind of, as I like to call it, the center of gravity, what she was about. And she didn’t really come to that.
And so we have a scene in the book where we talk about her first speech, on Roosevelt Island. She brought in all kinds of people to help her from various walks of Clinton life, and even Jon Favreau, President Obama’s chief speechwriter, to help. And by the end of the process, there were so many cooks in the kitchen that Jon Favreau kind of threw his hands up in the air and said I can’t do this anymore. You know, he was used to working with President Obama and maybe David Axelrod, and no one else. And he just – he was – he became exasperated and didn’t know what to do, wasn’t used to that kind of thing. (Laughs.)
MR. ALLEN: And one of our sources put a fine point on it – it’s actually the end of chapter one – where they said I would have had a reason for running or I wouldn’t have run about her. (Laughter.) And I mean, it’s amazing; this was one of her senior aides who basically said they couldn’t figure out what it is that she was trying to accomplish with the presidency in that sort of narrow sense. I mean, she had a million policy ideas, but what was it that she was – was motivating her run for the presidency? Why her? Why now?
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, what do you think it was?
MR. ALLEN: (Laughs.) Well, you know, if all those Clinton campaign officials and the American public had trouble figuring it out, I’m not sure I’ve got – I’ve got the answer. I mean, I think her basic thought was that she would competently manage the American government better than anybody else. And it turns out that enough voters in enough places – in enough of the right places didn’t want that versus what Donald Trump was offering.
MR. SCHIEFFER: It’s kind of like the old saying, if you don’t know where you’re going a map really doesn’t help. (Laughter.)
MS. PARNES: Exactly. She has this wall, or had this wall in her Brooklyn headquarters that had “Hillary is for” and there were lots of Post-It notes saying for various different things that she was for. And you know, when you have – someone put it to us this way. When you have so much, so many ideas, when you’re for everything, you’re really for nothing. And I think that kind of became convoluted.
MR. SCHIEFFER: How do you all describe yourselves going into this? Obviously, you’re reporters, and very good reporters. Do you have any political leanings one way or the other? Did you go into this with an agenda – I want to get Hillary Clinton elected or I want to see that Hillary Clinton loses?
MR. ALLEN: I think that was the – one of the key parts of the formulation of how we put this together. We told people we weren’t going to write anything until after the election, so that it wouldn’t impact the election, so that they would feel more comfortable telling us what was really going on. They knew – you know, we had, I think, good reputations coming in as people who would protect our sources, and we continue to do that. And I think that was the key to being able to get all of the sort of candid look at this, was that we weren’t going to write until afterward.
In terms of, you know, what we thought was going to happen, we had a book that showed a lot of dysfunction in the campaign, a lot of the aimlessness of the candidate, the candidate’s inability to really put her finger on what was going on in terms of the populist sentiment that we were seeing in both the Democratic and the Republican electorates. And we saw that, and then we looked at the polls and we thought she was going to win because, you know, she was winning in the polls. (Chuckles.) And that was – it was a tense period for us because we knew that we had a good story about what was going wrong – and really a lot of object lessons for candidates and campaigns going forward in this book, anybody who’s interested in politics. But we knew that there was a dissonance there, and we were going to have to figure out how to – how to explain that you can win even when you do a lot of things wrong, which was probably a slightly more complicated narrative than – you know, than what we ended up with on Election Day.
MR. SCHIEFFER: So, in the end, what – did you come to a conclusion? Did she lose because of the campaign, or was the campaign lost because of the candidate?
MS. PARNES: Well, it was hers to win. She had everything. She had the financial backing, the star power. She had President Obama. At one point she had President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, her husband – she had a long list of surrogates out there campaigning for her. She had the name and everything else. She had the financial – the infrastructure, a traditional campaign infrastructure, whereas Donald Trump didn’t really have any of those things, and for a while started losing staff because things were going so poorly for him. So I think she had everything. It was really hers to lose. And that’s why I think it was a little shocking for us, too, in the very end.
MR. ALLEN: Yeah, we were surprised, as surprised as anybody else. We do look at it as this being a candidate who put a lot of obstacles in her own path when you talk about the email server scandal, which is completely an own goal, to borrow a soccer phrase. If you look at the speeches she gave to banks right, you know, in the midst of a populist rising sentiment. There were a lot of – a lot of things she did to hamstring herself. And one of the things that sort of came up in trying to analyze this was this idea that folks on the campaign had expressed to us, which is just that they felt – some of them felt, anyway, that they were trying the entire time to reduce the likelihood that she would lose.
MR. SCHIEFFER: I did an interview with Mika and Joe, the “Morning Joe” team, and they were getting a lot of heat about putting Trump on so much, and a lot of people said they were not giving pushback. Well, in fact, they did. Joe Scarborough was as tough on Trump as anybody out there covering the campaign. But I asked Mika. I said, well why don’t you let Hillary Clinton call in? And she said to me, getting an interview with Hillary Clinton is harder than getting an interview with Mother Teresa. (Laughter.) And to me that kind of summed up the campaign. Trump was playing by one set of rules – I think maybe he was playing without even knowing what the rules were – and she was playing by all the old rules.
MS. PARNES: Mmm hmm. And she had to tweak her campaign a little bit to match his because he was kind of nimble and could just call in to shows and was much more flexible than she had been. And suddenly you saw her trying to do the same thing. She started calling in to shows, you know, was a little more flexible with what she was doing on Twitter, and – because, as we reported in the book and other people have reported, it took a lot of people even to come up with a single tweet by her. I mean, it was like pollsters and advisors and everyone, and this is for, you know, a short, 140-character little line. (Chuckles.) And I think that says a lot about the way her campaign was run.
MR. ALLEN: And one of the things Donald Trump did well, obviously, was to get a lot of free media. And people like to blame the media for that, but the other side of that is Donald Trump was pretty good at figuring out how to get that free media, and that’s part of a campaign. Part of a campaign is – (chuckles) – is getting the attention, and getting on the shows, and talking about your ideas.
I think you’re absolutely right. I think Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were extremely tough on Donald Trump when he did things that deserved scrutiny, and they got hit a lot for having him on and for being friendly with him. But I don’t think they pulled any punches.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Andrew.
MR. SCHWARTZ: Thank you, Bob.
And thanks for being here, you all. I really appreciate it.
Your book talks about how, you know, Hillary Clinton didn’t really seem to get what was going on in the country, that she was disconnected. You know, it makes me wonder: Why didn’t she spend the immediate years after leaving office as secretary of state traveling the country, connecting with people, and trying to figure out what people really thought and what they really wanted?
MR. ALLEN: I think the big reason is that she was denying what was obvious, which is that she wanted to be the next president of the United States. I mean, that’s sort of an old-school model, too, the sort of disingenuousness that we used to expect from candidates about whether or not they wanted to run. She wanted to go out there and do things that would accrue to her benefit as somebody who was above politics and wait for a while. And we wrote about this in the first book, “HRC,” that the idea was once she got back into the political realm, her approval rating would drop significantly. It always has. She’s in public policy or out in the nonprofit sector or whatever, her approval goes up. She gets into the political realm, her approval goes down. I think she was trying to avoid doing that. And you know, she would say that she hadn’t made up her mind to run until she actually announced it, but the truth is she was leaving that option open and doing more than that. I think the question was always not whether she was going to start running, but whether she would stop running.
MR. SCHWARTZ: Well, and she certainly didn’t want to work on any of the issues that she seemed to really care about. She wasn’t working on issues of children or women or going into small towns and finding out what people really thought around gas stations and town halls. And she just seemed, you know, to be too worried that that would have an effect on whether she would run or not.
MS. PARNES: Mmm hmm. And I think President Clinton was a little frustrated because he was getting a different sense of things on the ground when he was campaigning. And he would push back a little bit with Brooklyn and say something’s not quite right, it doesn’t feel right, and they would say, no, no, you know, it’s almost like a quaint view of – (chuckles) – of the way things were. And they were relying totally on their analytics and data – mostly, I should say – and they were getting different reads out of that than the former president. And I think there was that kind of push-pull there as well.
MR. SCHWARTZ: So his old-school instincts against their new-school data didn’t work.
MS. PARNES: Right, exactly. He was basically saying send me to these places, and they were saying, no, no, we think you should – you’d be better served if you went to these places. And so that was problematic.
MR. ALLEN: I think the lesson is that the – that in politics, obviously, you want as much information about the electorate as you can get. You want to do the polling. You want to slice and dice, and figure out who’s interested in what issue. You want all of that at your fingertips, but there is an art to political persuasion that still matters. And the candidates that win tend to be the ones that can persuade people who disagree with them to vote for them anyway.
MR. SCHIEFFER: You know, Peter Hart in the interview, being the dean of American pollsters, one of the things that struck me, Peter said we had too much emphasis on analytics. And he said analytics will tell you certain things; they don’t tell you what’s in a person’s heart. And you look back on this campaign, and I wonder if he really didn’t hit on something. And this is somebody who’s depended on the numbers, the polling, all his life.
MS. PARNES: Yeah.
MR. SCHIEFFER: But that was one of the things he underscored about this.
Let me ask you this: Who was running this campaign?
MS. PARNES: That’s a very good question. You had John Podesta kind of flying at a 50,000 level – foot level, and then you had Robby Mook flying kind of much below that. Podesta was sort of in charge of everything. Mook was more in charge of kind of the day-to-day operations.
The problem that some people point to is that there wasn’t anyone in between those two. There wasn’t a kind of David Axelrod who could speak truth to her and say, look, we need to cut this, we need to do more of this. And a lot of people told us that over the course of the campaign.
MR. ALLEN: One of the revelations in this book is that when there was dysfunction and people weren’t sure who was running the campaign, because there was a lot of confusion as to whether John Podesta was giving orders or Robby Mook was giving orders or Hillary Clinton was giving orders. In roughly March of 2016, they had a campaign shakeup that was essentially unreported on, and they created a – sort of a board of directors for the campaign called the Super Six, which consisted of Mook; Podesta; Jennifer Palmieri, who was the communications director; Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s personal aide –
MS. PARNES: And Minyon.
MR. ALLEN: – Minyon Moore, who was a longtime confidant that was brought in toward the end; and Jake Sullivan, who got promoted to a position of de facto chief strategist as Joel Benenson, the chief strategist, kind of got pushed to the side. None of this stuff was reported, but their response to not having a streamlined decision-making process was to go from two people at the top to six. (Laughter.)
MR. SCHIEFFER: It all just kind of defies belief. I mean, I think you’re right. I mean, I think you – I think you’ve figured it out, and obviously you’ve done a tremendous amount of reporting. But when you look back on this, it’s hard to believe that she would have gone to speak to the Goldman Sachs people, and when asked why she took $600,000 in fees she said, well, it’s what they offered. I mean, I think somebody running for junior class president at the local high school would have a better ear and would have an understanding why, of all things you would say, you wouldn’t say that. That’s the part that I still find astounding.
MR. ALLEN: And it’s, you know, just – so you’ve got that issue, the speeches. And then you’ve got the email server. And they are alike in a couple of ways, but one of the ways that I think is important is getting at something that you were getting at, which is they may be the wrong thing to do ethically, or maybe they’re not unethical, but – it’s possible that they’re unethical. It is impossible to make the argument that these were politically advisable things to do, that somebody who wanted to be president of the United States would take these huge risks for seemingly – I mean, $300,000 is a ton of money to me; $600,000 is a ton of money to me. It is not a ton of money to Hillary Clinton, and it is not worth the presidency. And if it is worth the presidency, which it helped cost her, her priorities are out of line.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, we can and will be debating 10 years from now what Comey’s role was and the revelation they were investigating the emails and all of that. But the basic question was just what you’re pointing to right now: Why, in the first place, did she decide to do that? Why did she decide it was necessary to establish this email thing? And was there no one there would say to her, look, this is not worth the trouble, this is what you could get in trouble with by doing this? That’s the part that I still don’t understand.
MS. PARNES: I think a lot of people are grappling with that, even internally. You know, there was this push-pull also to get her to kind of come out ahead of it. She was drowned out. Her message was completely drowned out all summer in 2015 by email, email, email. And there was a sense of frustration inside. You know, the president and former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton were kind of like at odds with their campaign staff, who kind of wanted them to get ahead of it and wanted them to come out and apologize. They didn’t think that they needed to apologize for it. They thought that they did nothing wrong. So that took a lot of time for them to kind of realize that they needed to do that.
And that was, you know, well into the fall. They started apologizing right at September, you know. But so much time had gone by since her launch, and that’s what people remembered.
MR. ALLEN: Every day her honesty ratings were taking a hit. She’s out there saying there was no classified material in her email. There was. She’s out there talking about how she did this for convenience because she didn’t want two devices, though she had multiple devices. And, of course, it’s not like she’s carrying them; Huma Abedin was carrying them. And the easy conclusion for pretty much anybody who understands how information systems work – and I include the Yale Law-educated Hillary Clinton, who has spent a lot of time defending herself against people going through her records in this category – the obvious conclusion is that she didn’t want the public to have access to her records while she was running for president. And if it was for any other reason, it doesn’t make sense. And obviously, that backfired on her pretty badly. Kind of – it’s just – it’s jaw-dropping.
MR. SCHWARTZ: You know, I love the groove of this book. There’s so much detail in it, and it moves along so quickly because you can’t take your eyes off it, really. It’s almost like the Rolling Stones song “Shattered.” I know the title refers to –
MR. ALLEN: Can we play that in the background here? (Laughs.)
MR. SCHWARTZ: I know the title refers more to shattering the glass ceiling, but this book has an extraordinary amount of detail. And one of the things that you all unearthed is that Hillary Clinton did an autopsy on her server from 2008 because she wanted to look at the infighting that was going on among her then and future campaign people. Can you guys tell us a little bit more about that?
MS. PARNES: That’s right. That summer, she wanted to know exactly what happened in 2008 – where she went wrong, where she could do better. She started checking. She asked a couple of aides to check on this email server to find out exactly who was leaking to who, what was going on. She wanted the full picture. And she also did this in conjunction with a lot of meetings she was doing where she invited people in to talk about what happened. And she met with dozens of people to kind of – to get her own autopsy of what happened that year.
MR. SCHWARTZ: What do you think she learned from it?
MR. ALLEN: She learned that it’s a bad idea to let other people look at your email. (Laughs.) That’s one of the lessons she clearly learned. (Laughter.)
But I think, you know, what she saw was that there was a lot of backstabbing going on. What she saw was that there were certain people who were leaking to the media, and she felt like disloyalty was one of the reasons that her – that she lost in 2008. And I – you know, I think a different possible conclusion is that some of the disloyalty, some of the backstabbing, some of the leaking was actually a function of the fact that the campaign was not going well, rather than the cause of the campaign not going well.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Were there positives? Did you find any positives as you were doing this book?
MS. PARNES: Oh yeah. I mean, this book has something for everyone, I want to say. You know, it’s easy to kind of latch onto the blurbs and say, oh, it’s a really negative book on Hillary Clinton. There are – there’s actually a lot of – you know, a Clinton – a former Clinton aide reached out to me the other day and said she cried when she read it because she felt like Secretary Clinton was actually portrayed in a kind of sympathetic light as you read between the lines.
You know, it’s tough on her. She’s a woman who can’t do anything right. You know, people are always coming at her, for whatever reason. And I think, you know, there are undertones of this in this book, and there are moments where you want to celebrate with her even if you don’t like her because you see what she’s had to navigate. And I think – I think that’s the beauty of this book, that you – you know, you can kind of be on either side and appreciate it.
MR. ALLEN: It’s a tragedy in the classical sense, right, this character that we’re watching who has these flaws that end up undoing her. But you ride that rollercoaster of that story throughout, and when you look at positives she just absolutely handled the House Benghazi Committee for 11 hours. I mean, I don’t know anybody that could sit in one of those chairs and handle themselves the way she did. The three debates against Donald Trump, I think any debate coach would play that for their students and say this is how you master material and you bring part A over to C to answer a question. And of course, she was the first woman to win a major party’s presidential nomination. And required in doing that was a lesson learned from 2008, which is she figured out how the delegate system works and how to campaign in a way that allowed her to win the delegates for the nomination. She had not done that in 2008. The campaign was so much better at the mechanics of primary campaigning in the Democratic primary than its predecessor in 2008.
MR. SCHIEFFER: But do you think in the end she could never figure out how to cut through and explain to people why she wanted to run?
MS. PARNES: Yeah. I think message was a huge –
MR. SCHIEFFER: And what she hoped to do for them – not for her, but for them?
MS. PARNES: Right, right. Exactly. Message was a huge problem. There was just not one central message that she could really – you know, it went from breaking barriers, it ended up with stronger together, I’m with her. It’s all – and you know, some people were saying, I’m with her; I mean, shouldn’t she be with me? There was that thrown out there, and we heard a lot of that from Democrats even, you know. So I think she got lost in all of that.
MR. ALLEN: In fact, there’s a scene in the book where in September of 2016 she’s struggling to get all of the Bernie Sanders people onboard, and her campaign reaches out to Bernie Sanders and asks him to cut an ad in which he’s talking about all the things she’s going to do that he supports. And his consultant Tad Devine flies up to Vermont and meets with him in Bernie’s living room. And you know, it’s after the campaign. Bernie’s like driving up in a little Chevy and not with the big, you know, Secret Service retinue. Everything’s kind of back to normal for them.
Bernie sits down. Devine’s filming the ad in Bernie’s living room. Bernie’s, like, looking over the script. And he gets to the – to the – you know, he’s making some little edits, but he basically is like, yeah, this is fine, I’ll talk about what she wants on minimum wage, et cetera. And he gets to the end, and the last words on the page are: “I’m with her.” And he looks up and he’s like, I’m not saying that. It’s so phony. And so he wouldn’t do it.
And, you know, the ad gets sent back to the Clinton people. They send it to focus groups. The people in the focus groups look at the ad and say, we don’t think Bernie Sanders really supports her, or they came away with the idea that Bernie Sanders supported Bernie Sanders’ ideas, and that these weren’t actually Hillary Clinton’s ideas. This was, like, an incredible moment where she really could have had him help, and they just ended up not running the ad.
MR. SCHWARTZ: Well, one of the things about the book that comes through also is that it actually humanizes a lot of these people, whether for good or for bad. Humanizes for good or for bad. It shows you that running campaigns, running for offices is not perfect, it doesn’t always go as planned. I mean, I think there’s going to a lot of young people who are going to look at this book for years to come about what running for president can be like.
Another thing that I wanted to ask you along those lines are, you know, what do you think about how the media covered the campaign, and what does this mean – what lessons can the media take for covering future campaigns?
MS. PARNES: That’s a really good question. I think that there’s obviously a lot to learn. I think – you know, it was hard to cover – it was a really tough campaign to cover because, of course, even up to the final hours we were hearing that she was up in the polls, and we were hearing that from the Clinton folks as well, that they were feeling good about it. So I think it’s basically to – you have to just trust your instincts, keep reporting. It’s basically what Jon and I had to do throughout this book, which was we saw little warning signs along the way. Of course – of course, we didn’t think that it would, you know, amount to her losing the election, but always kind of trust your reporting and trust your instincts on this.
I think though – I mean, obviously, we have a lot of learning to do. And I think on election night, you know, a colleague of mine basically said, you know, the press doesn’t look great in this, because no one saw this coming and we were reporting kind of the opposite.
MR. ALLEN: I do think – you know, I watched a lot of the reporting, and I think – and I listened to a lot of the frustrations with reporting. And to me, they typically center around – not all of them, but a lot of them center around the idea that something that the voter wants to hear more about is not being covered. But my feeling on this campaign is we actually learned a lot about both of the candidates. I think it was a little bit of a failure on the media’s part to never get Donald – force Donald Trump to release his tax returns. But I don’t think that’s why the election was won or lost. And I generally think there was tremendous reporting done.
David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post just won a Pulitzer Prize and, you know, deservedly so, for his reporting on Donald Trump’s charity. I think that the one thing I would – you know, if I could pull back and say: Here’s what I would wish the campaign coverage had been a little different on, is I think reporters can be too quick to take a line from a TV show or a tweet and turn that into something much bigger than it is. And I think that that’s hard for voters, and certainly hard for reporters. They’re running around writing up what happened on Twitter all day long. I think sometimes it behooves everyone to take a breath and try to put what the latest information is into context a little bit.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Was this the kind of assignment – or it wasn’t an assignment. You decided to assign yourselves to do this, to write this book. But was this the kind of reporting job that you came away with surprised at things you found out, or were things pretty much as you thought they were? Looking back on it, how do you sum it up, this experience?
MR. ALLEN: I was surprised by a great many things. And it’s really nice when you’re reporting to be surprised by things, because when you as a reporter are surprised by things, probably the reader is also going to be surprised by things. And that’s sort of the definition of news, something that you didn’t know.
MS. PARNES: And they were really good about kind of keeping things looking pretty. And at the surface level, it looked like it was a different kind of campaign. And while I’m sure, you know, that there’s been pushback that, you know, they did have a lot of fun and they all respect each other, I think, you know, behind the – behind the scenes you could see that there weren’t things that were running as seamlessly as they should have been. And that was really fascinating to me. The formation of the super six, all these things that no one really had heard about, you know, as the election kind of drew closer.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Could she have won this election?
MR. ALLEN: Absolutely. Almost a coin flip at the end, with 70,000 votes in three states – basically, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It was that close. So when people look for what’s the reason that she lost, I mean, the answer is all of these things. And I think when we pull back the lens a little bit, what are the biggest reasons? I think the biggest reason is that she had put herself in a position to lose an eminently winnable campaign.
The dishonestly stuff, you know, that dated from the server, and Bernie Sanders hitting her as corrupt, which was the same thing Donald Trump was doing. I mean, there were all these factors that go in. But I think most of them predated the ones that mattered at the end. And certainly Russian interference and the FBI play a role in this, but I don’t think those – I think there is a scenario in which a candidate is so far up on Donald Trump that those things don’t matter.
MR. SCHWARTZ: There’s one other part of this book that we haven’t yet talked about. There’s a – you know, this is obviously a lesson in what went wrong in the campaign, but it also says a lot about the Democratic Party, and perhaps the future of the Democratic Party. Can you tell us what you learned about that?
MS. PARNES: It’s interesting, I think – I mean, I think this book is –should be read by people who are planning to leave the Democratic Party. But I think basically what we said before, you need to know why you’re running. And also, I think people are looking for new blood. I think that was a thing that really haunted Clinton, for good and bad. You know, they had come with so much baggage. Everyone had an opinion about her going in. And that was problematic for her too, because I think she couldn’t quite shake that either way.
MR. ALLEN: I mean, this seems so obvious, but one of the lessons of this book is that a party should want a candidate who unifies everyone in their party, and broadens the tent by bringing in people outside the party. And that was something that Hillary Clinton struggled to do. And we go kind of deep into the debates whether they should spend their money turning out people who agreed with her, or spend their money trying to persuade people who didn’t to come into their camp. And they chose almost exclusively the former. They didn’t feel like she could do much persuasion.
So I think one of the lessons is you need somebody who’s able to go out to the country and persuade people who don’t necessarily agree with them to vote for them. And I also think one of the other big lessons that you sort of learn going through this campaign is that it’s not helpful to have no bench. And the Clintons spend the last 25 years getting Bill Clinton to the presidency and then working Hillary Clinton toward the presidency.
After the 2008 campaign, Bill Clinton went out and punished Democrats who he saw as disloyal to his wife in 2008, went out and worked for their primary opponents, and sent a chill through the rest of the Democratic Party, saying to folks essentially: There is a cost for crossing the Clintons. You see candidates not emerging. You see people jumping on her bandwagon early because of that. And it was a good strategy for her to lock up the Democratic nomination, but it was probably bad for the Democratic Party broadly, and would have been if she was a Republican bad or the Republican Party to not have that competition.
MR. SCHWARTZ: You even saw the party convince Vice President Biden to step aside.
MR. ALLEN: Right. And President Obama plays a role in that. You know, the natural heir to President Obama is his vice president, whom he twice told the American public was the next-best person to be president, and then sent all kinds of signals that he preferred Hillary Clinton as the nominee.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, Jonathan Allen, Amie Parnes, congratulations. I think you got a bestseller here. And I think it’s – I think it’s going to be a book that a lot of people will read, and there will be a lot of takeaways, especially among the political class, of what we need to do differently, what we did wrong, and some of what we did right in this. So thank you very much for doing this book.
MS. PARNES: Thank you. Thank you to you both.
MR. ALLEN: Thank you both.
MR. SCHIEFFER: For Andrew Schwartz, this is Bob Schieffer. Thanks for listening.