The liberal Washington Post reports the following:
Senior Democrats are increasingly worried that Hillary Rodham Clinton is not ready to run for president, fearing that the clumsy and insular handling of the nine-day fracas over her private e-mails was a warning sign about the campaign expected to launch next month.
Few Democrats believe that the revelations about her unorthodox e-mail practices as secretary of state are a substantive issue that would damage Clinton with voters, and many said she performed adequately in a Tuesday news conference defending herself.
But in interviews Wednesday with The Washington Post, current and former Democratic officeholders and operatives from across the country raised serious questions about her and her political team’s strength and readiness for a 2016 presidential campaign.
“She’s tried to put the day of reckoning off, but it’s come now, and I don’t think she can stand another couple of weeks of this without her structure in place,” said Jim Hodges, a former governor of South Carolina. “Had this story been responded to in two or three days instead of in eight days, it would not be as big,” said Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary under President Obama.
Some Democrats said Clinton’s initial refusal to provide answers in the growing e-mail controversy smacked of arrogance and a worrisome bunker mentality — and that the controversy was a self-inflicted wound.
“Had this story been responded to in two or three days instead of in eight days, it would not be as big,” said Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary under President Obama. “They are the ones who put air in this balloon in a way that was not necessary at all. . . . It’s clear they lack an apparatus. She’s a candidate without a campaign.”
A Clinton spokesman did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Last week, supporters in Congress and others were willing to go on cable television to defend Clinton on the e-mails but were puzzled when her aides did not provide talking points or other information that might help them, according to Clinton allies. “A lot of people were flying blind,” said one Democratic ally who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment candidly. Requests for information “were met with dead silence” from Clinton’s team, this person said. “This shows they have a long way to go until their organization is ready for prime time.”
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