Clinton's Triple Threat
To get a sense of the sophistication and sheer muscle of the machinery lined up behind Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in Iowa consider this: three of the largest players in national politics have all launched efforts on her behalf enlisting the services of a single media firm, and each will be tackling a different critical task.
The American Federation Of Teachers AFL-CIO Committee On Political Education reported today it has spent $281,114 on radio ads promoting Clinton in Iowa. Yesterday, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees unveiled a flight of television ads it began airing in Iowa promoting Clinton, the leading edge of what it said would be a seven-figure expenditure. And earlier this week, the national political group Emily's List unveiled a massive get-out-the-vote effort that involved surveys and a new web site aimed at drawing likely Clinton supporters to participate in the Iowa caucus.
For these efforts all three groups have enlisted the services of a boutique media consultant that specializes in political message development, Chicago-based Adelstein/Liston."Our intent is to deliver a very strong message for a very strong candidate," said Ann Liston, a principal in the firm.
The three mammoth political action committees did not all just stumble into each other. "We talked it all through," said Richard Feller, who is handling the Iowa effort for AFSCME. "I think it went in pieces. Emily's List designed their program. I spoke with them about what they were doing and then tailored my program to assist their program." The AFT effort followed after that.
None of the groups is legally permitted to coordinate with the Clinton campaign to design this effort, and each said they had not. "We have not and would not take any direction from them at all," said Eric Smith, of AFT. But coordinating with each other is a different matter.
The FEC has typically allowed separate independent groups to coordinate their activities, said Scott Thomas, a former FEC chairman.
The groups made an interesting choice of media firm to design the message. Eric Adelstein had history working for Bill Clinton in 1992. Liston worked previously for Emily's List. Together, they worked on the 2000 congressional campaign of Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). That was the year he defeated Barack Obama.
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