How do you run for president during a political cyclone with no precedents and no predictable path? Hillary Clinton has her answer: Slow and steady. As Donald Trump jags across the country, battling an onslaught of sexual misconduct allegations, his party’s opposition and the media, Clinton has stepped cautiously on the campaign trail.
She rarely makes news or veers from her script. She keeps a plodding schedule of modest-size events. She relies heavily on her cast of loyal and arguably more effective surrogates. And she doesn’t overdo it: With just less than a month left to campaign, Clinton was fundraising in California on Thursday and expected to spend most of the weekend out of the public eye.
“Make no errors, do no harm,” said Republican strategist Rick Tyler, who worked for Trump’s primary rival Sen. Ted Cruz. “(Trump) has no ability to make good news about himself. Like none. So why not just let him go?” The news about Trump has overshadowed potentially damaging reports about Clinton based on thousands of hacked emails that apparently came from the email account of her campaign chairman, John Podesta. The campaign has not confirmed the authenticity of the emails.
Clinton aides said the former secretary of state has been balancing a full schedule she attended rallies in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Nevada this week with preparations for the final debate, scheduled for Wednesday, as well as fundraising for an ambitious get-out-the-vote program and advertising in battleground states. She was also off the trail for several days in September after a bout of pneumonia forced an awkward exit from a 9/11 memorial event.
Spokesman Brian Fallon said that that Clinton “continues to take time to raise resources to execute our strategy and prepare for the debates,” and said the campaign was “confident we’re not leaving any voters untouched in critical states.” There’s little sign that the relatively low-key strategy is hurting Clinton, who has seized a comfortable lead in several national polls. Early voting shows positive signs for her in two states that could help her lock up the presidency, North Carolina and Florida, according to preliminary data compiled by The Associated Press.
Still, the approach strikes a sharp contrast to her predecessor on the Democratic ticket. Never a natural on the stump, Clinton has had few of the massive rallies that defined President Barack Obama’s two campaigns.