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On the roster: Hillary’s dos and don’ts - Time Out: Phun in Philly - Power Play: What it takes, Hillary edition - Audible: U.S. steel - Well, they are addictive
HILLARY’S DOS AND DON’TS
PHILADELPHIA – The secret to politics is the same as the secret to most of life: honest self-appraisal.
Hillary Clinton is many things, but rousing campaign speaker she is not.
So how does the former secretary of state negotiate what is inarguably the most important speech of her life? And how does she do it at a moment when her party so evidently wishes she were someone other than herself?
There was palpable yearning in the Wells Fargo Arena for Vice President Joe Biden to be the nominee of his party – both from the audience and Biden himself. And when the shouts of “four more years” rose up for President Obama, one got the sense that it was more than just a compliment to him, but a wish that Democrats wouldn’t have to face becoming the party of Hillary.
Donald Trump plays the Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at his rallies in an apparent appeal to holdout Republicans. But maybe that should be Clinton’s intro music tonight. After all, her job is to convince voters that she is what they need.
What a challenge: to be who you are at exactly the moment everybody wants you to be somebody else. But if she wants to pull it off, here are some dos and don’ts for Clinton tonight.
DO: BE GRACIOUS
Clinton should not stint in her praise for her archrival this cycle, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Nor should she try to go light on her praise for Obama. If the knock on Clinton is that she will do anything for power, even a small dose of humility will go a long way. She doesn’t need to recount her own failings, but in self-deprecating praise for others she can show decency. This is where a few good jokes can go a long way.
DON’T: LAY IT ON TOO THICK
Clinton has a tendency to get carried away with humanizing herself. When she tries to sound like a regular granny from the suburbs it plays phony and forced. So too does her effort at a folksy accent. She sounds about as natural as George Jones playing at a Manhattan nightclub. Clinton’s life experience is different from almost every Americans’ and doing the “she’s just like us” shtick always bombs.
DO: BE A BIT REGAL
No doubt, 40 years of image consultants telling you to pretend to be ordinary would make it hard to be your imperious self. But Clinton needs to be commanding and perhaps a bit queenly in her demeanor. As Americans imagine their first female president, they will want someone who is tough, able, steady, and sincere. They also want some majesty. Our presidency is really a non-hereditary (oops) constitutionally-limited monarchy. And as Trump has shown, voters respond to the projection of strength. Hers is of a very different style, but she ought to tell the consultants to put a sock in it. She’ll never be relatable so just stop trying.
DON’T: GIVE A LAUNDRY LIST
Political speechwriters are skilled at pleasing constituencies with check-the-box lists of policy point for specific interest groups. But Clinton should, insofar as she is able, reject building a totem pole of Democratic issues. Sanders supporters aren’t going to support her because she says the words “make college affordable” in a speech. And the effect of this kind of listicle speech is deadening to everyone in the audience.
DO: PAINT A PICTURE
When great communicators talk, they use words and phrases that evoke specific imagery – shining cities on hills, etc. Her husband is gifted at this, doing so well to evoke places, times and feelings in his speech here this week – the color of her hair, the mortgage payment on their first house. Clinton’s rival is exceptionally good at these visualizations. His followers feel like they can see his “big beautiful wall” stretching from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico already. Clinton needs to transport her audience someplace else and then use that location to make them understand something new.
DON’T: TRY TO WIN AN ARGUMENT
Clinton didn’t just get a quarter-million dollars a speech because big companies wanted to buy influence. She really can be an engaging speaker in the right setting. But that’s when she is relaxed and not trying to sell anything. As strange as it sounds, Clinton should not look to convince voters tonight. Rather, she should try to attract them by describing an America she sees just beyond the horizon and invite them to come with her. It’s the vision thing…
DO: SHOW RANGE
Think of the way Obama and Biden used varied tones to draw in and then lift up their audiences. Biden, who gave perhaps the best political speech in recent memory on Wednesday, was so quiet at times you had to lean into hear. And he was so thunderous at the end that he matched the cheering crowd measure for measure. Clinton greatest weakness as a public speaker is her inability to modulate tone in settings like these. Some have suggested that it is because she is a woman, but the truth is that a man who did the same incessant shouting would be just as hard to hear. Contrast makes for an interesting speech, not raw decibel level.
[Today’s speaker lineup: Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Ret. Gen. John Allen, and Chelsea Clinton who will introduce her nominee mother Hillary Clinton.]
TIME OUT: PHUN IN PHILLY
Who would you want to run for president that’s not currently running? Well, the people of Philadelphia answered and their picks are as funny and diverse as the city itself. Come take to the streets with Chris Stirewalt and hear what the people are saying. WATCH HERE.
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions
Average of national presidential polls: Clinton vs. Trump: Trump +2.4 points
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.8
POWER PLAY: WHAT IT TAKES, HILLARY EDITION
Jeremy Bird, a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, explains what his candidate needs to do tonight and what it will take for her to win in November. And it’s not necessarily what you make think. WATCH HERE.
IT’S STILL OBAMA’S PARTY
Vox: “Obama’s absorption of Clinton into his own agenda, and his own legacy, mirrors what has happened at a personnel level. Clinton’s campaign has enjoyed the support and staff of Obama’s past efforts. It purposefully rounded up support from ex-Obamaites early on. And in the clearest sign of Clinton’s allegiance to Obamaism to date, the campaign picked Tim Kaine, who was one of Obama’s first early endorsers in 2007, as her running mate. And it mirrors what Clinton has done with her own campaign. Throughout the primary fight with Bernie Sanders, Clinton repeatedly tried to recast Sanders’s critiques of her as critiques of Obama — knowing that Obama is a more popular with figure with Democrats, that his name means more…Wednesday night’s speech was nonetheless a remarkable reminder of just how completely he has made this party his own.”
Nate Silver explains why his model is so favorable to Trump - FiveThirtyEight
Trump’s Russia line shocks anti-Putin hardliners - WSJ
Chelsea is willing meet with Ivanka Trump to discuss campaign tone - Politico
Kaine: Trump is a threat to everything Sanders supporters stand for - WashEx
How Trump broke Reddit - The Atlantic
Why union members are splitting from bosses and voting Trump - Daily Beast
AUDIBLE: U.S. STEEL
“I’ve been made strong at the broken places.” – Vice President Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention, alluding to the loss of his first wife in a 1972 car crash and his son, Beau, from brain cancer last year.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“In the Bible, it was Cain and Abel. Today it’s ‘Kaine and Unable’ – Jack Smith, Marlin, Texas
“I heard Trump’s statement [about Russia hacking Hillary Clinton’s private emails] as I was walking through the TV room and burst out loud into laughter. I took that as awesome comedy. Even if it wasn’t, I didn’t hear any ‘urging’ in those statements. Trump was not my candidate, but I am getting tired of Republicans ‘eating their own.’ If they really love America first over what Hillary will continue to do to America, they will stop digging their own graves.” – Brenda Donajkowski, Pinconning, Mich.
“I loved the comment: ‘Vegans In a Froth.’ In light of the cake controversy in Portland, Oregon, this comment is a classic. I’d rather have the freedom to run my business in a way that is both lawful and representative of my own hard-earned right of choice than capitulate to bullying, fear tactics and intimidation.” – Eleanor Korf, Olympia, Wash.
[Ed note: And see, all this time I thought that veganism was a religion! After all, it would take God Himself to make a sane person give up bacon, wouldn’t it?]
WELL, THEY ARE ADDICTIVE
Orlando Sentinel: “Daniel Rushing treats himself to a Krispy Kreme doughnut every other Wednesday. He used to eat them in his car. Not anymore. Not since a pair of Orlando police officers pulled him over, spotted four tiny flakes of glaze on his floorboard and arrested him, saying they were pieces of crystal methamphetamine. The officers did two roadside drug tests and both came back positive for the illegal substance, according to his arrest report. He was handcuffed, arrested, taken to the county jail and strip searched, he said. A state crime lab, however, did another test several weeks later and cleared him.”
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.