Kathleen Parker Blasts Hillary’s ‘Inner Ayotollah’ Campaign Attitude

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign rollout and insisted that “[s]he has to let this inner ayatollah get out of her head.”

Throughout the panel discussion, Parker and Republican strategist Steve Schmidt mocked Clinton for the “contrived” and “unauthentic” campaign rollout orchestrated by Mrs. Clinton.

While Schmidt usually appears on NBC’s airwaves to criticize his fellow Republicans, on Sunday he mocked Clinton for her hypocrisy over income inequality:

[I]n the one instance when she walks into a store where there is an opportunity, the Chipotle, to actually talk with voters, remains in silence in disguise behind dark glasses. Bashes hedge fund managers. At the same time her campaign is raising the first of its maybe nearly $2 billion donations from hedge fund managers. The dissidence between what she says and the reality is startling.

Later on, liberal New York Times reporter Helene Cooper breathed a sigh of relief after Clinton formally declared her candidacy because America will finally get to hear the Democratic Party’s message:

[T]his is the first time now in the last few months that this campaign season has begun that you are finally, it was like, we are finally hearing the Democratic argument. We've been listening to the Republicans for the last few months. Very loud and very vociferously and now you are seeing a gay couple on the screen in this video and all that. And that seemed more forward, I thought.

For her part, Kathleen Parker, who like Schmidt loves to scold Republicans, said she was “so disappointed in that rollout and in everything that followed” but made sure to point out how kind Clinton is in person:

I mean, Hillary Clinton, if you meet her in person, she is engaging, she's warm, she is charming, she’s all those things but the American people are not seeing that.

After briefly defending Clinton, Parker concluded by poking fun at the media’s obsession with her Scooby van before she offered Clinton some sobering advise: 

You don't just get in a Scooby Doo van and go out into the hustings and say I'm here, I'm one of you, I'm with you and now we’re going to, I'm going to listen and what, you have four people sitting around you. She has to let this inner ayatollah get out of her head.

See relevant transcript below.

NBC’s Meet the Press

April 19, 2015

CHUCK TODD: Time now to bring in the panel, David Axelrod, Kathleen Parker, Helene Cooper and Steve Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt, let me start with you. You assess the Hillary Clinton rollout. What did you think? We know Governor McAuliffe is for it. It would be weird if he wasn’t. What did you think?

STEVE SCHMIDT: It's so contrived, so inauthentic, it's almost difficult to articulate it. She talks about meeting real voters, but in the one instance when she walks into a store where there is an opportunity, the Chipotle, to actually talk with voters, remains in silence in disguise behind dark glasses. Bashes hedge fund managers. At the same time her campaign is raising the first of its maybe nearly $2 billion donations from hedge fund managers. The dissidence between what she says and the reality is startling.

And all campaigns at the end of the day for president are a choice between change and more of the same. And we've never as a country, once we made generational change, moving from the baby boomer generation to Barack Obama's election, have ever gone back. And so, I think when you look at intensity of the Republican fire on her, in this manner, talking about this is the future versus the past, I think it's a very cutting, very effective line of attack in the early framing.

TODD: Helene what did you make of the sort of saturation coverage of it all? I don't know we were at our best, we in the media looked our best watching the running around chasing her for what were very scripted events.

HELENE COOPER: I think that is probably true, but that was always going to be the case. There is no way that Hillary Clinton's rollout wasn't going to get just a deluge of press coverage. I disagree with Steve though because I think that her rollout was actually, I thought it was better than I expected. Frank Rooney has a really good column in the New York Times today about the whole idea of Hillary shelving, taking the crown off. I think what she showed in getting on that bus and going to Iowa is okay, America, it appears as if she was saying, I heard you. I heard your criticism about 2007 and 2008 and this aura of inevitability. I'm going to take it off.

That video I thought, even though -- it seems it was very polarizing, and people have been discussing it and seem to either love it or hate it, but this is the first time now in the last few months that this campaign season has begun that you are finally, it was like, we are finally hearing the Democratic argument. We've been listening to the Republicans for the last few months. Very loud and very vociferously and now you are seeing a gay couple on the screen in this video and all that. And that seemed more forward, I thought.

TODD: You want to jump in here.

KATHLEEN PARKER: I so want to jump in here.

TODD: Yes I could tell.

PARKER: I agree more with Steve, let’s just start there, than I do with Helene. I was so disappointed in that rollout and in everything that followed. I mean, Hillary Clinton, if you meet her in person, she is engaging, she's warm, she is charming, she’s all those things but the American people are not seeing that. And I don't care, but after 25, 30 years of public, living on the public dole essentially and I'm sorry for the language, I'm just so wound up.

You don't just get in a Scooby Doo van and go out into the hustings and say I'm here, I'm one of you, I'm with you and now we’re going to, I'm going to listen and what, you have four people sitting around you. She has to let this inner ayatollah get out of her head. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential NBC Meet the Press Helene Cooper Kathleen Parker Chuck Todd Steve Schmidt

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