5 Questions With Nicolle Wallace

Her views on Clinton email, the GOP field and Sarah Palin.

ByBenjamin Bell
March 06, 2015, 3:06 PM

— -- Before she joins the "This Week" roundtable Sunday, we asked former Bush White House communications director and ABC's "The View" co-host Nicolle Wallace about the controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email address while at the State Department, her take on the Republican field for 2016 and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Q: This week, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come under fire for her use of a personal email address during her tenure at the State Department. Do you see this specific controversy as a problem for her should she decide to run for the White House? Will it blow over?

WALLACE: So far, it's more of a media problem than a political problem. It furthers the media narrative that the Clintons play by their own rules and think that records laws and transparency are for the rest of us, not for them. It remains to be seen whether this will become a political problem for her.

Q: Would Hillary Clinton – should she run -- benefit from a primary challenge? Do you see any Democrats actually posing a threat to her?

WALLACE: Everyone benefits (operationally) from a primary. So far, the talk and energy seems to center around Elizabeth Warren. A contest between HRC and Warren would be interesting. Warren is to the Democratic base what Obama was eight years ago: the candidate who speaks to their hearts, while Clinton seems to be the candidate who speaks to their heads. It's always easier in a primary to be the heart candidate.

Q: Politico’s Jim VandeHei, when asked to predict the 2016 Republican nominee earlier this year, said Jeb Bush. Now you used to work for Jeb Bush, but how do you see the 2016 Republican field right now? Is there a clear front-runner in your mind? Anyone you think we should be watching closely?

WALLACE: At this point, it's an incredible burden to be the front-runner. The media beats up on you, the right-wing of the party attacks you relentlessly on talk radio and members of your own party who covet your front-runner status are trying to knock you down. For those who can survive this pre-primary, it will bode well for the next phase of the campaign when you actually go before voters. Jeb is in a strong position for this phase, as is Scott Walker. And I wouldn't count Chris Christie or Rand Paul out either.

Q: Having been a part of the 2008 McCain campaign, what is one piece of advice you’d give to a Republican hoping to reach the White House this time around?

WALLACE: It's more important to be correct on the substance than it is to master the pace of the Twitterverse in terms of responding to controversy, so when things go wrong, shut off your phones, catch your breath and think before you speak.

Q: Sarah Palin has not ruled out a 2016 presidential run. Do you think she has any actual interest in running and, more broadly, what do you make of her place in the Republican Party?

WALLACE: I have no idea where her interests lie but she will always have a following.

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