Hillary Clinton’s good friend Neera Tanden thought the former secretary of state’s position on trade made her seem “politically craven at best or a liar at worst,” according to emails published by WikiLeaks on Thursday.
An email exchange from March 2016 includes a discussion of a Politico article titled, “Clintonites: How we beat Bernie on trade,” in which Hillary’s political allies touted the candidate’s “carefully nuanced position,” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade deal she repeatedly championed as secretary of state, but opposed during the Democratic primary.
Most people (correctly) saw this as a cynical political ploy to blunt attacks from primary opponent Bernie Sanders, whose populist opposition to free trade deals was resonating with liberal voters. After all, she had once described the TPP as the “gold standard” of trade agreements.
Hillary’s alleged opposition to deal was little more than evasive gibberish. “As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it,” she said.
Tanden, the potty-mouthed president of the Center for American Progress, made an accurate assessment of the Politico article, in which Clinton campaign pollster Joel Benenson appeared to admit that Hillary really does support free trade and her opposition to TPP was just a cynical effort to appease angry liberals.
“Is Joel off the reservation,” Tanden wrote in an email to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. “Does he not get that this story makes Hillary seem politically craven at best or a liar at worst? Or if this is a campaign position, can I object?”
Tanden, who has been revealed in WikiLeaks emails as a frequent (and astute) critic of Hillary Clinton’s judgment, explained why voters might not think Hillary is the most honest politician: “Hard to say she believes what she says when Joel is spinning that she doesn’t mean what she is out there saying.”
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