Campaign manager lays groundwork for blaming debate moderators if Clinton crumbles
Hillary Clinton’s campaign is telling the media to “fact check” Donald Trump during the first presidential debate Monday night at Hofstra University in New York — already framing the spin for a potentially weak performance from the Democratic nominee.
Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, told ABC News’ “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos it was the job of debate moderates to push back all the “lies” that Trump will try to level against Clinton.
“I really don’t appreciate campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact checkers and that these debate moderators should somehow do their bidding.”
“What we’re concerned about is that there might be some sort of double standard here,” Mook told Stephanopoulos. “You know, Donald Trump can’t lie on that debate stage and win or even get a passing grade. Donald Trump cannot demonstrate that he doesn’t have a command of the issues and get a passing grade.”
When Stephanopoulos said the debate commission has been “pretty clear that they think it’s the job of the moderator basically to get out of the way” and “just ask the questions,” Mook insisted that the moderators should defend Clinton.
“Well, all that — again, all that we’re asking is that, if Donald Trump lies, that it’s pointed out,” Mook said. “It’s unfair to ask for Hillary both to play traffic cop while with Trump, make sure that his lies are corrected, and also to present her vision for what she wants to do for the American people.”
“But isn’t that what a debate is supposed to do?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Well, I think Donald Trump’s special. We haven’t seen anything like this,” Mook responded. “So we’re saying this is a special circumstance, a special debate, and Hillary should be given some time to actually talk about what she wants to do to make a difference in people’s lives. She shouldn’t have to spend the whole debate correcting the record.”
Mook’s excuse-making for Clinton’s inability to combat “lies,” before the debate even happens, underscores her campaign’s unease headed into the first presidential debate.
“So I think they’re worried about many things. Hillary Clinton should have been in the much better position. She’s not known for her abundance of self-awareness or being nimble or resilient,” Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, told Stephanopoulos in response, adding that “Hillary Clinton’s casual relationship with the truth is well known to Americans.”
“I’m sure we’ll see it on full display tomorrow night,” Conway said. “And I really don’t appreciate campaigns thinking it is the job of the media to go and be these virtual fact checkers and that these debate moderators should somehow do their bidding.”