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Leaked email urged Clinton to adopt the tone of Mario Cuomo

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo gives the thumbs-up

New York Gov. Mario Cuomo gives the thumbs-up gesture with both hands on July 17, 1984, during his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. Photo Credit: AP

ALBANY - Eight months ago, former White House speechwriter Jon Favreau advised Hillary Clinton’s campaign to take an optimistic high road of “love and kindness,” using former Gov. Mario Cuomo as a model as the presidential campaign began turning into a contentious one, according to internal emails surfaced in the WikiLeaks documents.

Favreau, the former speechwriter for President Barack Obama, listed in his Feb. 18, 2016 email suggestions which he described as, “Ah, this should be her message.” The email was circulated among top campaign staffers. At the time, Clinton faced a strong challenge for the Democratic nomination from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the young idealists he attracted as well as attacks from Republican Donald Trump.

“Her most important job right now is to inspire people, and generate enthusiasm,” Favreau wrote. “She should be talking about love and kindness . . . She should be talking about mutual respect and tolerance.”

“It reminds me of one of my favorite passages from any speech — Cuomo’s ’84 convention address: ‘It’s an old story. It’s as old as our history . . . the Republicans believe that the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of the old, some of the young, some of the weak are left behind the side of the trail . . .

“’We Democrats believe that we can make it all the way with the whole family intact, and we have more than once. Ever since Franklin Roosevelt lifted himself from his wheelchair to lift this nation from its knees . . . people of every ethnic group . . . all struggling to build their families and claim some small share of America.”

This was months before Clinton, facing what she called Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-woman rhetoric, was caught telling private supporters, “You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables” citing racists, sexists, homophobes and Islamaphobes. She later apologized for the comments.

The WikiLeaks since Friday has released what it says are years of messages from the accounts of Clinton campaign staffers. Campaign Chairman John Podesta acknowledged his emails were hacked, but warned the messages may have been altered.

There was no immediate comment from Favreau made to his Fenway Strategies company.


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