NBC’s Benjy Sarlin and Alex Seitz-Wald look at the Trump campaign’s backhanded strategy of tying Hillary Clinton to her husband’s escapades.
His inner circle notably includes several veterans of the 1990s fights with Clinton: Bossie served as a high-profile investigator for House Republicans. Roger Stone, an outside confidant of Trump, has spent years trumpeting obscure conspiracy theories about the Clintons and last year wrote a book called, “The Clintons’ War on Women.” Newt Gingrich, a leading Trump ally, was Speaker of the House during Clinton’s impeachment.
“It’s sort of Ahab and the white whale,” Liam Donovan, a GOP strategist, said. “There are people fighting the old battles like it’s still 1996 when this stuff doesn’t matter to anyone.”
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Over at Bloomberg View, Frank Wilkinson looks at Ted Cruz’s decision to cover his convention short, buy high, and double down on $MAGA after the first debate. My take:
Neither Trump nor Cruz has changed. Only the political calculation has.
“Cruz wants be able to say he did all he could, if only to avoid the inevitable recriminations that he undermined the nominee at a key time,” said GOP strategist Liam Donovan, via e-mail. “And even if the Trump primary base isn’t made up of the ideological fellow travelers he thought they were, Cruz world probably still views them as rightfully his in a post-Trump environment.”
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NYT’s Nick Confessore looks at the Trump campaign’s reliance on the RNC:
Some Republicans believe that with the fall campaign weeks away, the party should focus its money and efforts down ballot to protect Republicans’ congressional base. That would mean quietly ignoring Mr. Trump’s call this month for a 50-state field operation and instead emphasizing congressional districts and swing states that are also Senate and House battlegrounds.
“They can’t do anything publicly — you can’t rebuke your nominee,” said Liam P. Donovan, a former aide to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “But you could allocate resources to places where it helps up and down the ballot.”
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