Hillary Clinton’s campaign PR flack is now trying to claim the failed 2016 candidate didn’t call potential rival Tulsi Gabbard a “Russian” asset, but rather a “Republican” one.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill noted the New York Times changed its story to say that “Republicans” are “grooming” Gabbard to run as a third-party candidate in the presidential race.

“On Friday, the NYT did a piece about a podcast Secretary Clinton did with David Plouffe,” Merrill tweeted on Tuesday. “They incorrectly quoted her saying that the ‘Russians’ were ‘grooming’ a candidate running in the Democratic primary. They rightfully fixed it to reflect that she was taking about the GOP.”

But in the Plouffe interview, Clinton very clearly said Gabbard was “also” a Russian asset, a smear she also made against 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Listen:

“They’re also going to do third party again, and I’m not making any predictions but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far,” Clinton said, undoubtedly talking about Gabbard.

“That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset. She’s a Russian asset, totally. They know they can’t win without a third party candidate, and I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee that they will have a vigorous third party candidate in the key states that they most need it.” (emphasis added)

Why did the New York Times change the story to reflect something that wasn’t said? The paper is the only to claim Clinton was referring to “Republicans” and not “Russians.”

Here’s a screen grab of the original:

It very clearly states “Russia”. The story offers no editor’s note or correction.

Gabbard has stated she will not run as a third-party candidate.

For her part, Clinton is leaving the door open to running for the Democratic nomination for president.

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