Chuck Todd: Will GOP Overreact on Hillary E-Mails, Cause People to ‘Sympathize With’ Her?

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd took time out of the ongoing controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s e-mails to ask whether or not the GOP will overreact in their handling of the situation.

Speaking to Kevin Madden, former senior advisor to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, Todd wondered “[d]o you fear, as somebody who would like to see the Republicans win the White House, do you fear that congressional Republicans could get in the way and actually make her look – sympathize with?”

Madden briefly acknowledged that “there is always the risk of overreach” before he argued that so far the GOP has handled Hillary’s e-mail controversy appropriately:

I think one of the things I was struck by Trey Gowdy's interview this morning was just how measured and focused he was. He was focused on doing what he thinks is his role as a constitutional oversight. As long as that focus remains there, I think the congressional folks will be alright. 

The former Romney advisor concluded his remarks by redirecting Todd’s question by focusing once again on the larger problem this could have for Hillary rather than on how the GOP could make Hillary look sympathetic:

I think in the 2016 context, the big problem for Hillary Clinton here is that this becomes a character crisis. At a time when trust is so low, the American people have such a low opinion of people in Washington, the fact that Hillary Clinton looks like she's hiding something and that she can't be trusted, that's a huge problem. 

See relevant transcript below.

NBC’s Meet the Press

March 15, 2015

CHUCK TODD: Kevin, larger picture here, you're the congressional Republicans here. Jason Chaffetz apparently wants to open up a larger investigation on the e-mail system. You heard what Trey Gowdy’s going to do. Do you fear, as somebody who would like to see the Republicans win the White House, do you fear that congressional Republicans could get in the way and actually make her look – sympathize with?

KEVIN MADDEN: Yeah, there is always the risk of overreach. So far I think that hasn't happened. I think one of the things I was struck by Trey Gowdy's interview this morning was just how measured and focused he was. He was focused on doing what he thinks is his role as a constitutional oversight. As long as that focus remains there, I think the congressional folks will be alright. I think in the 2016 context, the big problem for Hillary Clinton here is that this becomes a character crisis. At a time when trust is so low, the American people have such a low opinion of people in Washington, the fact that Hillary Clinton looks like she's hiding something and that she can't be trusted, that's a huge problem. 

But the last thing I’d say too, it was so apparent how much political rust Hillary Clinton has during that press conference. Reading sort of half answers that were scripted right in front of her, when she's exposed to the elements in politics right now, she really hasn't risen to the occasion. I think a lot of folks that are looking at 2016 see that as an opportunity. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential NBC Meet the Press Kevin Madden Chuck Todd Hillary Clinton

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