Opposition Groups Get Early Start Feuding Over Hillary Clinton Book

Jun 4, 2014 5:00am
GTY hillary clinton kab 140513 16x9 608 Opposition Groups Get Early Start Feuding Over Hillary Clinton Book

Hillary Clinton testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 23, 2013.

Hillary Clinton’s book is about to erupt.

The former secretary of state’s memoir, “Hard Choices,” isn’t even out yet and already groups on the right and left are engaged in hand-to-hand political combat between Clinton, the book, and each other.

On Monday, the conservative research group, America Rising announced the launch of an e-book to be released next week in tandem with Clinton’s “Hard Choices,” titled “Failed Choices: A Critique of the Clinton State Department.” Like Clinton’s memoir, the e-book will have an entire chapter dedicated to the events in Benghazi.

Meanwhile, the pro-Hillary Clinton Democratic opposition group, Correct the Record, has been busy disseminating talking points to surrogates based on anticipated attacks from the right.

While Clinton is not, yet, a presidential candidate, political opposition groups are heading in to the launch of her book about her time at the State Department acting as though she is.

An indication of how intensely – and politically – the book will be scrutinized occurred last week when Politico released Clinton’s chapter on Benghazi. The excerpt triggered days of headlines and partisan debate. “Political candidates, when they talk about their record, get challenged,” Tim Miller, the Executive Director of America Rising, the group leading the charge against Hillary Clinton, told ABC News.

With next week’s release date quickly approaching, the political opposition groups on both sides of the aisle are ready to pounce: as one group aims to bring Clinton down, another group is armed and ready to challenge with a defense.

 

Take America Rising.

The conservative research group, founded roughly one year ago by former Mitt Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades and former RNC research director Joe Pounder, has been preparing for Clinton’s book essentially since the group’s inception.

In total, America Rising has a staff of 60 people: 40 are based in their Washington, DC offices and 20 are researchers fanned out across the country. Of the 60-person staff, Miller says a “substantial team” is focused on Clinton’s book, including one researcher based in Little Rock, A.K. devoted specifically to digging up old Clinton archives. The group also has a “war room” that serves as a media monitoring operation, where the team can take in recent Clinton appearances as well as go through old videos.

Miller, who had been reading up about Clinton’s policies in Burma the day of this interview, says America Rising will focus their attacks on defining Clinton’s “failures” – something, he believes, will be “more tangible for voters.” In addition, they’ll scrutinize how she positions herself for or against the President’s foreign policies, which could have more lasting impacts should she embark on a 2016 campaign.

 

Enter: Correct the Record.

Led by some of Clinton’s former advisers and top donors, the research group was launched over six months ago by the Democratic Super PAC American Bridge, and is geared almost entirely towards supporting and defending Hillary Clinton.

Like America Rising, Correct the Record is prepared for the fight.

“All hands will be on deck,” Adrienne Elrod, the group’s Communications Director and former Clinton aide, told ABC News in regards to the group’s book release plan, which also includes a rapid-response war room. “But it’s not rocket science to figure out what the republicans are going to attack her on,” Elrod quipped.

According to memos shared with ABC News, the group has looked at claims already being bandied about by the Republican opposition researchers, and sent extensive counterarguments to surrogates.

“Shame on America Rising for its false attacks and politicization of a tragedy” one message says about the group’s response to Clinton’s Benghazi chapter. Correct the Record’s robust memos then lay out the “False Attack” followed by a series of “Facts,” which link to newspaper clips, government documents, and transcripts of Clinton’s Benghazi testimony.

In addition to America Rising, Correct the Record is also fielding attacks from other Republican groups, including the conservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, and the Republican National Committee, which published an anti-Hillary video last month titled, “Bad Choices.”

 

So, where’s Hillary Clinton?

Not to be lost in the battle between the political operative groups is the Clinton team itself.

According to Politico, the Clinton camp has established an “Ops Center” to streamline their messaging around “Hard Choices. They’ve emailed surrogates to make sure they are all “in sync” as the book is launched. And they’ve even brought on former National Security Council spokesman and longtime President Barack Obama hand Tommy Vietor to assist in the response.

In addition, Hillary Clinton, will have ample time to tell her side of the story.

Following the launch of “Hard Choices” next week, Clinton will embark on a nationwide book tour and media blitz, including a primetime interview with ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer on June 9 at 9pm ET, followed by a live sit-down interview the next day with ABC News’ Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.”

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