'Shattered' authors: Bill Clinton pushed for different tone in Hillary's campaign

He wanted her to meet with swing voters, authors say.

ByABC News
April 24, 2017, 3:01 AM

— -- Former President Bill Clinton's warnings to speak to swing voters fell on deaf ears during Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, according to the authors of "Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign," a new book about purported dysfunction in the campaign team.

Political journalists Amie Parnes and Jonathan Allen spoke with ABC News' political director Rick Klein and chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl on the newest episode of the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast about the findings they detail in their book and the backlash they're getting from the staffers at the center of it all.

The 2016 Hillary Clinton team painted itself as "a joyful campaign," Amie Parnes said. "It actually wasn't."

In the book, the authors describe how the campaign ignored the advice of Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, to reach out to communities that weren't already on board with Hillary Clinton's policies.

"He thought, these eggheads don't really know politics. They don't understand persuasion," Allen said, adding that Bill Clinton wanted to go to suburban and rural areas where it was likely that Hillary Clinton wouldn't win the majority. "He knew there was some power just in showing up."

Allen said that in her 2008 presidential bid, Bill Clinton was blamed for asserting himself too much in the primary campaign's strategy and ultimately hurting her chances at the presidency and that this time around, he tried to stay behind the scenes "because he didn't want to be blamed for defeating his wife again."

Allen and Parnes detail in the book the night of the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton chose to wait until morning to give a concession speech — a move many found odd.

Allen said she simply "wasn't ready to make that speech." She hadn't reviewed her concession speech, there wasn't a speech location available, and some believed there was a possibility that more votes could come in. Her team said she wanted to "gather her thoughts."

That night, Parnes and Allen write, she apologized to then-President Barack Obama on the phone.

"It's a painful moment for her. She's feeling the weight of that moment," Parnes said.

Several Clinton campaign staffers have come out denying the book's revelations and making jokes about the alleged infighting, along with pictures of happy staffers on Twitter.

"It's hard to read a depiction of the campaign that paints a dedicated, cohesive team as mercenaries with questionable motives," Clinton's deputy communications director, Christina Reynolds, wrote in a Medium post on Wednesday. "That's just not the campaign, the staff or the candidate I was in the trenches with for 18 months."

Jessie Lehrich, Clinton's foreign policy spokesman, disputed depictions of internal tensions after the election. Wednesday he tweeted that "the aftermath of the election was a hug-fest" at Clinton headquarters.

But Parnes said, "We stand by our reporting." She said they talked to more than 100 sources, most of whom were on the campaign team, with many in its top ranks.

Besides, she said, they didn't portray Clinton as a "sinister" person.

"There are actually very sympathetic moments ... It's not like we're bashing someone over the head with how bad Hillary Clinton is," Parnes said.

Allen agreed that there are moments in the book that will likely be painful for Democrats to read but also pieces that document bright moments, like when Clinton won a string of states in the primaries.

"There's a little bit of everything in this book, because it's really just documenting what happened," Allen said.

As for what's next for Clinton, Parnes said she expects Americans will see more of her, though she'll likely stay off center stage.

Allen said she may be instrumental in Democratic races, especially for those seeking her most fervent admirers.

"There are some unique aspects of her candidacy and what she means historically that you could see some candidates wanting to go toward her and get an endorsement," Allen said. "I think there are a lot of women who feel like this election exposed misogyny in the electorate. I think there are a lot of women who felt like she was robbed."

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