Perhaps Hillary Clinton’s campaign forgot its infamous white noise machines.
Or maybe the Democratic presidential candidate is now embracing criticisms that she’s beholden to wealthy donors and the Wall Street elite.
Either way, reporters huddled in the basement of an East Hampton home ahead of a fundraising event overheard Clinton soliciting debate ideas from her top donors this week and broadcast her remarks online.
Hillary in the Hamptons 8/29/16. Yeah that looks presidential. pic.twitter.com/Mbih8uyWPJ
— Tom (@Tomvegas1) August 30, 2016
“I want any of your thoughts or ideas about how I should debate Donald Trump, just to name one thing,” Clinton told attendees at the private event on Long Island Monday evening, according to CBS News. “Seventy-one days left in the campaign and I am not taking anything, anyone or any place for granted. This is the most predictable election season that I certainly can remember and I am running against someone who will say or do anything.”
“And who knows what that might be. We have three debates. The first one is in September. I do not know which Donald Trump will show up,” she said. “Maybe he will try to be presidential and try to convey a gravity that he hasn’t done before or will he come in and try to insult and try to score some points.”
The first presidential debate is scheduled for Hofstra University on September 26, and Clinton sounded quite nervous about what it could mean for her campaign.
“Somebody said to me, remember, there will be about 100 million people watching and 60 million will be paying attention to the campaign for the first time,” she said, according to CNN reporter Dan Merica. “So don’t assume they have followed anything. They may vaguely have some information about Trump said this or Clinton said that or whatever. But there will be a lot of new impressions to be made that night.”
At a fundraiser today in the Hamptons, Hillary Clinton solicited suggestions about how to debate Trump. Full: pic.twitter.com/TU14yBm2us
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) August 29, 2016
Clinton has not discussed how, exactly, she plans to prepare for The Donald in September, but spokesman Brian Fallon made it clear to The Washington Post recently that campaign managers are “fully expecting to have their hands full” during the debates.
“It was his television personality that carried the day and made him a success at the [primary] debates,” Fallon said. “What normally would make for low expectations in terms of a lack of substance and not sort of exuding that commander-in-chief demeanor has actually been turned on its head.”
Trump supporters and advisors, meanwhile, are relishing the idea of Trump debating Clinton because it plays to his strengths.
“Not only does he want 100 million viewers, he wants to be a showstopper at the Roman Colosseum, the main event at WrestleMania,” former advisor Sam Nunberg told the Post. “He’s going to love this, eat it up and take her on. For Hillary to go in and think she’ll be professional and wonky, or give a long lecture, that’ll play against her.”
As will the view that Clinton is beholden to her wealthy donors, a situation that’s fueled by the candidate’s refusal to release transcripts of her talks to elite Wall Street firms that contributed to her campaign.
Clinton’s comments to top donors yesterday undoubtedly did little to alleviate those concerns, and was simply the latest episode in which the former first lady attempted to shield the public from listening in on her plans for America.
Earlier in presidential campaign, Clinton’s team used white noise machines to drown out her comments to big money donors who gathered at Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s home in April, the Daily Mail reports.