What May Be Hillary Clinton’s Biggest Challenge

New York Times Campaign Reporter Maggie Haberman on the race for the White House

July 25, 2015, 3:02 PM

— -- This week we asked Maggie Haberman, presidential campaign correspondent for The New York Times, about Donald Trump's presidential campaign strategy, whether New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has presidential ambitions and what may be Hillary Clinton's biggest challenge.

Q: Donald Trump seems to be dominating the 2016 conversation at the moment. You’ve cited how he is running an unorthodox campaign. So ultimately, what appears to be his end game? Does his camp think he has a real shot at the nomination? Would he run as a third party candidate?

Haberman: I think his endgame was different than it is now. He says he never planned to return to "The Apprentice," and that might be true. But it always existed as an option before and is now gone. His aides are very on-message but in conversations with his campaign manager I've never heard an articulation of how he wins the nomination. I do not believe he will run as a third party candidate, but I believe he will hold it out as a possibility for a while.

Q: Have the other campaigns been caught off guard by the Trump campaign?

Haberman: They have been surprised at the rise and surprised at the boom in coverage. Few expected him to run and fewer expected him to become the litmus test.

Q: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio ran Hillary’s 2000 campaign for Senate, but has not endorsed her. Why not?

Haberman: I think the mayor genuinely likes Elizabeth Warren and I think he also believes he has a lot of currency after his election in 2013. At this point, however, it's hard to point to what Clinton is doing that he objects to.

Q: Are there indications de Blasio has presidential aspirations in the future? Other than that almost all politicians secretly want to be president?

Haberman: There are questions in New York political circles about whether he would ever try to run for governor, but I think that's as high as he is aiming right now.

Q: What does the Clinton campaign view as its biggest challenge at this point? Is her camp worried about Sen. Bernie Sanders?

Haberman: I think her campaign views the media as its biggest challenge. They are very aware that Sanders will be a yardstick she gets measured against in terms of energy. But I think they believe he will have trouble galvanizing black voters, who comprise a substantial portion of the party's base, in order to win.