April 25, 2016

Clinton’s “Love And Kindness” Ad Overlooks “Scorched Earth” Strategy


Secretary Clinton’s campaign released a new ad, “Love And Kindness” this morning that will air in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Hartford one day before the primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Connecticut, respectively.

While the ad has no dialogue, on-screen text and images attempt to convey a kinder, gentler Clinton than observers have seen on the campaign trail at times and a different Clinton than many expect to see, should she make it to the general election.

In February, BuzzFeed described the Clinton strategy, per aides, as “scorch the earth,” and Priorities USA adviser Paul Begala said, “The slogan is ‘Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.’” BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith wrote:

2012 was a death march. 2004 was a horror show. This election is another entry in that pattern, another suggestion that it’s not going to get much better.

“No matter who the nominee is this election will feel more like ‘04 and ‘12 than ‘08,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Obama’s former communications director.

Clinton’s one-day ad in these states is not likely to change people’s minds or make them forget the more typical Clintonian attack strategy, particularly given how openly her team is willing to discuss their scorched earth strategies.