The following is an excerpt adapted from “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” which will be released on April 18. Copyright © 2017 by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Published by Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.
‘We Got An Ass-Chewing’
Hillary was so mad she couldn’t think straight. She was supposed to be focused on the prep session for that night’s Univision debate in Miami, but a potent mix of exhaustion and exasperation bubbled up inside.
She’d been humiliated in the Michigan primary the night before, a loss that not only robbed her of a prime opportunity to put Bernie Sanders down for good but also exposed several of her weaknesses. How could she have been left so vulnerable? She knew — or at least she thought she did. The blame belonged to her campaign team, she believed, for failing to hone her message, energize important constituencies and take care of business in getting voters to the polls. And now, Jake Sullivan, her de facto chief strategist, was giving her lip about the last answer she’d delivered in the prep session.
“That’s not very good,” Sullivan corrected.
“Really?” Hillary snapped back.
The room fell silent.
“Why don’t you do it?”
The comment was pointed and sarcastic, but she meant it. So for the next 30 minutes, there he was, pretending to be Hillary while she critiqued his performance.
Every time the Yale lawyer and former high school debate champ opened his mouth, Hillary cut him off. “That isn’t very good,” she’d say. “You can do better.” Then she’d hammer him with a Bernie line.
It wasn’t just Sullivan in her crosshairs. She let everyone on her team have it that day. “We haven’t made our case,” she fumed. “We haven’t framed the choice. We haven’t done the politics.”
“She was visibly, unflinchingly pissed off at us as a group,” said one aide who was in the room for the humiliating scene. “And she let us know she felt that way.”