October 20, 2016Print : World
WASHINGTON: Back in early 2014, a media leak revealed Robby Mook was being considered to run a possible presidential campaign by Hillary Clinton.
In fact, the 36-year-old was already on the job -- almost three years before the vote.
"You are right abt a long term press strategy. Need a different voice responding to this stuff," Mook wrote to Cheryl Mills, Clinton´s longtime aide, in February 2014.
Mook´s message was among the thousands of gmail messages hacked from the account of John Podesta, Clinton´s campaign chairman, and released in recent days by WikiLeaks.
The Clinton campaign say the hack was carried out by Russian cyber spies bent on tilting the race in favour of the Republican candidate.
But the emails offer a fascinating window into the development of a presidential campaign that has been years in the making, with a tiny group of insiders working in secret to prepare Clinton´s bid to become the first woman president of the United States.
The emails show that the candidate and her closest collaborators were determined not to repeat the errors of Clinton´s unsuccessful presidential bid in 2008, when she lost to a charismatic newcomer, Barack Obama.
The former secretary of state let speculation build about her possible run for the White House, coyly deflecting questions about her future plans by saying she was enjoying time with her granddaughter.
Nevertheless, the press was already alert to signs of a Clinton candidacy. Mook´s message about press strategy was prompted by a news story that examined growing differences between Clinton´s camp and Obama´s inner circle.
By March 22, 2014, Mook was starting to work on a campaign strategy, the emails show. He urged Clinton not to run for the presidency, as she had in 2008, as a woman seeking to make history, warning that would be a "mistake".
Instead, Mook argued, Clinton should run as a champion of the middle class -- a line she would embrace about a year later.
At the time, Clinton was busy shuttling from paid speaking engagement to paid speaking engagement, and readying a promotional tour for her memoir as secretary of state -- nothing that would suggest any direct political agenda.
But in April 2014, Mook already was thinking about how Clinton´s campaign should be set up and where.
"I anticipate that about two dozen staff will need to be in place and working six to eight weeks prior to an official campaign announcement," he wrote. But he said they should not act before November 4, 2014 midterm elections.
In May 2014, Hillary Clinton was summoning her closest advisers. Even they were unaware that Mook was hard at work behind the scenes.