Clinton Campaigns In Cleveland With LeBron James

Nov 6, 2016
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

But we want to turn now to the Clinton campaign. Hillary Clinton made a stop in Cleveland at a campaign event with NBA star LeBron James.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: It really is a choice between division or unity, between an economy that works for everyone or one that is stacked for those at the top, between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon.

MARTIN: NPR's Tamara Keith has been covering the Clinton campaign, and she's with us now on the line from Cleveland. Hi, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi.

MARTIN: So how is the Clinton campaign responding to the latest news from the FBI director?

KEITH: Well, the news came while we were in the air on our final descent into Cleveland. And Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director for the campaign, came back very briefly, delivered a very brief statement essentially saying that they had been saying that this is how it would turn out. So they were validated. And she says, quote, "we're glad that this matter is resolved."

MARTIN: Now, looking back at this whole campaign, Tam, this year has been so much about reaction against the establishment. Now, that - Hillary Clinton is seen, I think, even by her supporters as an establishment figure. How has she been navigating that?

KEITH: Today, in this speech, she said that there's a lot of anger out there, some of it directed right at her. But she said anger is not a plan. That's a line that she's used before. She talks a lot about plans and basically says that, you know, sure, change is good, but not too much change, and argues that Donald Trump would be too much change.

You know, she really is in this position of having to balance saying that she is running to continue President Obama's legacy while also acknowledging the very real concerns that people have. Many of her proposals would seem to be relatively small, things like paid family leave or making child care more affordable, making college more affordable. But her argument, at least, is that those are things that do actually really affect people's lives.

MARTIN: Now, you've spent nearly two years on the road covering Hillary Clinton. What would you say has defined her campaign?

KEITH: Well, plans. She loves to plan, and she also loves to have plans and proposals. And her website is full of sort of granular at times proposals. And the other thing is that she has really made this a race about Donald Trump as an outlier, as not just your average Republican who she would oppose, but as someone who is, as she says, temperamentally unfit to be president. At times, she's made him out to be an existential threat to the United States and American values. And in some ways, that was a gamble because if he had flipped a switch and stayed on teleprompter and put away his Twitter, it's possible that that would have backfired. He would have looked presidential and she would have seemed hyperbolic. But ultimately, many times along the way, he helped prove her point.

MARTIN: Before we let you go, Tam, very, very briefly, if you will, what's the mood there? It seems like it's such - so many twists and turns. You know, just nine days ago there was this bombshell from the FBI, now yet another just days out. What's the mood?

KEITH: The mood has lightened. The mood has definitely lightened. You know, last week she was delivering these pretty grim speeches. This speech and the ones that she's been giving in the last, say, 24 hours have been far more uplifting.

MARTIN: Thanks, Tam.

KEITH: You're welcome.

MARTIN: That's NPR's Tamara Keith traveling with the Clinton campaign. She was with us from Cleveland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.