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A Clue to How Hillary Clinton Found Her Voice

After her big upset in New Hampshire last month, Hillary Rodham Clinton famously declared, "I found my own voice." What she also found was her own voice coach.

According to Clinton campaign's latest federal campaign disclosure report, the Democratic presidential candidate paid $7,500 to voice and drama coach extraordinaire Michael Sheehan in October.

Sheehan, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama who once was the associated producer of the Folger Theater Group, also helped shaped the voice and image of Bill Clinton, who Sheehan features prominently on his web site. If anyone could help Clinton soften her style, as the campaign sought to do in the weeks leading up to the New Hampshire primary, it would be Sheehan.

According to Campaign & Elections magazine, Sheehan is "a political candidate's best hope for developing the techniques to appear confident and in-control in front of a television camera or a live audience. While some pundits criticize candidates for using this type of service, people like Lloyd Bentsen, Ann Richards and even Bill Clinton have all benefited from his expertise."

Sen. Clinton also sought Sheehan's guidance for the publicity tour for her memoir, "Living History," in which she describes her upbringing as well as her "terrible, painful experience" in the White House.

Sheehan's clients include such media companies as the Washington Post and AOL, as well as big oil companies, HMOs, insurance companies and defense contractors.

"At some point, every kind of leader faces an important audience from behind a lectern or in front of a television camera," goes the pitch on the Sheehan Associates site. "A confident, relaxed ability to communicate effectively can be your competitive edge."

Sheehan was traveling abroad Monday and unable to talk to us about his work with Clinton. No word back from the Clinton campaign on whether Sheehan did, indeed, help the New York senator find her own voice.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  February 4, 2008; 5:38 PM ET
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"After her big upset in New Hampshire last month ... she also found her own voice coach.
...paid $7,500 to voice and drama coach extraordinaire Michael Sheehan in October."

Uhhhh - Mary? Last October didn't come _After_ last month...

Posted by: Ken | February 4, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

check out the editorial "Political Epithets" at the blogzine SAVAGE POLITICS.
Here is an excerpt: "The issue of political corruption has been a widely discussed problem as of late, ever since the "ObaMedia" has been utilizing this argument to support their proposition that the Clinton Candidacy spells an "ugly" return to the politics of "sleaze" and "special interests" (they have thrown this charge against John McCain as well). It is thus presumed that the longer a politician is in Washington, the higher the probability of his improbity will be. By this faulty logic, it is then assumed that only those who are "outside" of the system are clean of these "evil" influences and somehow possess a "canonical" authority over the idea of uprightness. Of course, most of these same critics ignore the fact that their whole conceptualization of corruption destroys this premise, since it would make it impossible to arrive in Washington without already being corrupt, or at least easily corruptible. Unfortunately, our Press has engaged us in this ridiculously never ending spiral, a trend that has been increasingly helped by our psychological conditioning to respond in a visceral way when confronted with these political key-words, even though their definition, as in the case of corruption itself, is sorely unknown. What is the definition of political corruption?..." get the rest of the article at

Posted by: Elsy | February 4, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

You should writing for the Enquirer. Shame on you!

Posted by: I Vote Present | February 4, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Well aren't we lucky that Hillary has found
her voice...just in time to negate our perceptions of that voice heard when she
had this whole nomination wrapped up. Gone
is the raspy crescendo of anti-conservative
invective (guaranteed to remind one of
fingernails on a chalkboard) to one of dulcet opinings on the strenghths of her
candidacy. Why would any worthy candidate
have to be schooled in the art of being
"more acceptable" to the great unwashed?
She shouldn't even have to rely on the
stump-pumping Bill to sell the product to
the liberal masses. A female candidate
of gravitas should have been a gimme for
the Dems this cycle. She' NOT, and all the
ravings of Bill can't seem to alter this fact. It's hard to make manure smell like
Chanel #5.

Posted by: magnum | February 5, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Women, particularly journos have been viscerally Hillary haters. Mary Ann Akers is in good company - Maureen Dowd and Gail Conners of NYT et al. Why so? These women suffer from a massive inferiority complex. Despite all odds, Hillary succeeded in establishing herself as a woman of substance. Her grit, attention to detail, superior intellect and hard work has got her public acclaim. But the female journos resent her as she refuses to be a bleeding heart liberal which the majority in the US detest. And she has no use for these uppity writers who suck up to Obama out of sheer malice to Hillary.

If Democrats are foolish enough to nominate Obama, Republicans will celebrate as conservative and centrist Democrats will vote for John McCain as they know an inexperienced Obama will blunder into making stupid decisions and land the US in greater mess than did George Bush.

Posted by: Espi | February 5, 2008 2:00 AM | Report abuse

A TRUE leader....with thirty-five years
of leading and championing America in the
paramount struggles of our time needs a
voice and drama coach to close the deal
with the Democrat base??? That is as weak
as watching her husband lug that Bible
up the church steps every Sunday during
the exorcism of demon Monica. Myopia on
the left is rampant!

Posted by: interferon | February 5, 2008 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Ever notice how every other candidate
looks the same in public appearances from
day to day in this campaign? Ever notice
the one that doesn't seems to need the
most help in all areas of closing the
electoral deal? In one way, though, she
is consistent......would wearing a dress
once a month really undermine her persona?
Has this been resolved via focus groups?
Is the real beauty under the make-up...
if so, why not reveal it? On second thought
I guess that pancake makeup is the way to

Posted by: magma cum loudie | February 5, 2008 2:49 AM | Report abuse

If Hillary can't make her case to the
people with her command of facts, her
gender-power, her image as next commander-
chief, her intestinal fortitude.......
it'll just be a cryin' shame.

Posted by: XY Rules! | February 5, 2008 3:05 AM | Report abuse

A funny thing happened to Hillary on the
way to the Whitehouse. She looked into
a mirror and saw someone who wasn't there.
Sad to say, so has the electorate. A drama
coach may be able to put some there, there
but it's getting late...n'est-ce pas?

Posted by: Arbee | February 5, 2008 4:08 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's frantic persona change should
incorporate one of Chelsea's maxims......
refuse to talk to the press!!!

Posted by: ArtooBeetoo | February 5, 2008 4:23 AM | Report abuse

It's too bad George Bush didn't hire him - maybe we wouldn't be in such trouble with the world whether European, Asian or Muslim Middle Eastern. In fact, at least half of America fell into that category and now more than two-thirds. Come to think of it, other candidates include Chaney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Ashcroft, etc., etc., etc.

Posted by: M. Barron | February 5, 2008 7:51 AM | Report abuse

We need an Invective Cease Fire. . .no good decisions or reasonable reflections can occur in the midst of all this internecine warfare.

Get a grip, Democrats! Neither Clinton nor Obama will be spared the citation of these
nasty quotes during the general election.
We Democrats should know enough not to throw gasoline into the flames!! WE will be the ones to go up in smoke.


Posted by: Indiana Democrat | February 5, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe I read this entire article. How silly.

Posted by: mikep33477 | February 5, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

It's just amazing to me that it took 35 years for such a smart woman to find her voice. Was Iowa the first time she experienced defeat and is that what prompted her to look for her voice? Interesting...

Posted by: Louise | February 5, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

How can Ms. Akers both be an apologist for, and enemy of, Hillary? The posts are comical and alternate between the two.

Posted by: Marie | February 5, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Boo-ya! Just in case it wasn't obvious enough that she was faking those tears to make herself look less 'cold'...

Posted by: Ron | February 5, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I really think "People" has better political commentary than Fox News.

Posted by: jas | February 5, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Maybe these lessons will help her when she's president and has to deal with Amana-nut-job in Iran. If he starts getting onto her she can just cry and he'll back down.

Posted by: Bill | February 5, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Hillary should ask for her money back- the voice lessons are not working for her. I think she is missing the bigger point, but the Clintons have always been actors.

I bet Bill would love if Hillary could have many voices- maybe this way Bill will be faithful to one woman while he thinks he has an array of many women.

Posted by: A Strosberg | February 5, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how much will it cost the American taxpayers for her "Presidential Coach" if she gets elected???

Posted by: js | February 5, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Good for her.
I think every candidate puts in time and money to help them present their best side to the voters.
No one should be surprised that each candidate spends money on clothing that helps them look good, haircuts that are attractive, and personal trainers (I would think) to keep in shape during their grueling schedules.
This is all part of politics in our lifetime. It should not surprise anyone. And, I think we also want to come across well at our own jobs.

Posted by: Jane | February 5, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I had a veep who once said "you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig". Of course, he was talking about products but then again, just what is a candidate? That being said, each of the candidates are marketing the heck out of themselves.

The question is, once you get past the marketing hype, which candidate is going to make the best decisions given whatever evidence (social, economic, political, etc.) their presented with, rather than making a decision out of spite for 'the other party'.

In other words, whose decision making (critical and responsible thinking) do you trust? I have my opinion, but I'd rather not taint the argument.

Posted by: Bill | February 5, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Just when I thought that woman would shut-up! She is preposterous.

Posted by: Debbie | February 5, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

A Clinton is still a Clinton whether the Oscar type performance was believable or not. It's not that she's female, white or anything of the sort. She IS a Clinton! One of the best business-marriage mergers that was ever created.
To be coached to learn how to cry on cue is to be admired....she's done well.
She's so cold, your lips would get frost bite! (if you dare)

Posted by: Ron B | February 5, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

There is no way I would attach my name to such a silly article.......Mary Ann Akers, do you really want to show that you are a sleuth???

PLEASE PLEASE start revealing the excessive dirt you have on Obama!! What are you waiting on?

Fox is really becoming a disgrace....and for those who want to be so critical, how about looking at yourself, your relationship and your own situations before talking so negatively about hers!

Posted by: Rena | February 5, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

What is the big deal?? Many people benefit from a voice and drama coach. George W. certainly could have.

Posted by: Arthur | February 5, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, what she needs is a "laugh coach". Her annoying, forced laughter needs help....BIG HELP! Many of us already preceive her as a phoney, her laughter only reinforces that perception.

Posted by: Roger | February 5, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

sHillary is so phony, she can't speak for herself in her own voice. Obama is just as phony as he immitates JFK for the losers longing for Camelot. Dems are Pathetic!

Posted by: Pathetic | February 5, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Hillary can't even talked to the public without depending on someone to coach her? What an outstanding attribute. Not!!!
No thanks....I will vote for a real true conservative candidate not a fake!
Mitt Romney....A Real True Conservative.


Posted by: Darnell Fletcher | February 5, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

go hillary i voted for you praying for you.i love you and bill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jutenine | February 5, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The tears are starting up again.

GO MITT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: phoney | February 5, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Did he teach her how to "cry" too?

Posted by: Jake T. | February 5, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh ... hiring a voice coach is smart when you're constantly interviewing for the most important job in the world! Who among us would not do that and more if we were in that fishbowl role...? Lighten up, people...ALL politicians are actors, showpeople, not what they seem, and duplicitous...some are better at their craft than others, but if you put very much of your hope and faith in any of them, you are asking for disappointment! Obama is not the honest, upright and high-road saintly leader he projects himself to be....we know very little about him other than what he wants us to know....'his two books?...well, he wrote them, didn't he? I'm disappointed in the lovefest that the media has built around this's Obama-mania and it filters out the truth and any hard questions....Everybody loves to hate Hillary, but no one is questioning the credentials and qualifications of this silver-tongued pied piper...he has schmoozed his way into being the new JFK...but like Lloyd Bentson once said, "Senator, You're NO Jack Kennedy."
Wake Up, people....Hussein is not what he wants to us to think he is....

Posted by: rhewitt | February 5, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous "sleuthing". Michael Sheehan is a premiere media training consultant that helps candidates AND elected officials speak in front of a camera/crowd. Possibly if the media would stop NITPICKING at ridiculous things (misty eyes, unflattering photos, how many times a word is used in a speech) then this sort of service wouldn't be necessary. Stop twisting nothings into something and please focus your gumshoeing on something that matters to the American people.

Perhaps you could start with finding out what the real deal was with Mitt Romney getting advice piped into his earpiece during the debate...

Posted by: Stoptwisting | February 5, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

How would you like to be Hillary trying to change your voice and presentation enough to be (stay?) ahead of Barak, the Orator Extrodinaire!!?? An athletic saying applies here: "You can't teach speed."...anymore than you can teach charisma........

Posted by: Nancy | February 5, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't really care for Hillary as a political person, but what's wrong with hiring a speaking coach? People do it all the time, otherwise, the position of speaking coach wouldn't be available

Posted by: docholiday | February 5, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with learning a little drama. Now, is there a coach in the house that can help her with that, that...laugh? Ouch!

Posted by: anemi | February 5, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Every politician who runs for an office as high as the President of The United States utilizes all services necessary to improve speaking capabilities, etc. This is just ANOTHER attempt to make Hillary look poor in the eyes of the average American. People who know Hillary well all say her public image does not reflect the true, jovial, friendly, charismatic person she is behind the scenes. I teach public speaking, and I can assure you that most leaders seek out this type of service before major events or initiatives. Communication consultants are often brought in by CEO's, spokespeople, celebrities, and politicians to work on defining a style.

This is not a story!

Posted by: MB Nekog | February 5, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is a committed socialist. Do you want this woman to have the power to garnish your wages if you don't want her national healthcare plan? That's what she said over the weekend on the Sunday talk shows. Thank about that. It should tell you what she's all about. Power.

Posted by: Everyday Woman | February 5, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Did she pay for the voice lessons, or were campaign funds used?

Posted by: Enough | February 5, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

and this is news....BIG SURPRISE they all (politicians) fair and report that

Posted by: Sylvia | February 5, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Everything that's old is new again, including "invective" or "name-calling," a political and war-time practice as old as political dirt.

Detractors used to call President Jackson "King Andrew I"; Lincoln's enemies compared him to an ape; Harry Truman was called "the haberdasher." . . . And so it went. So it goes.

And there's nothing new under the sun regarding the public and private goings-on of our past and recent public servants--from young FDR's love affair with his wife Eleanor's secretary; FDR's scrupulously masked wheelchair-confining polio while president; Dwight Eisenhower's putative affair with his war-time driver, Kate Somersby; iconic JFK's womanizing right smack in the White House ("Camelot"), abetted by attentive Secret Service guards and never, ever hinted at by a deferential media. A "Kennedy," after all. And, there's Bill Clinton and his . . . social soirees in and out of the White House, with women other than his co-president, Mrs. Clinton--always deftly marginalized by his supporters, acolytes, sycophants, general hangers-on, and, again, that deferential media. . . .

All of which means that, for many, political scripts with emotive invective still make for great political theater.

Posted by: Stan S. | February 5, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the money was effective in teaching her how to fake tears, which she has manufactured repeatedly on the eve of teh biggest voting days.

But as far as solving the horrible problem of silencing that horrendous screeching, strident, whiney, monotone, unisex, affected 'voice' Hillary uses, well, no amount of money can solve that disastrous problem! That faked 'voice' drowns out anything good she might otherwise muster to vocalize! Quick, get another Hollywood coach for Hillary.

Edwards had his $300 haircut, and Hillary has her $7,500.00 voice coach. Good thing they are only in this to help the POOR.

Posted by: Gerald | February 5, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

She really paid $7,500 for a voice coach? She really needs to get her money back...If I was Bill I'd pissed!

Posted by: Paige - Gainesville, GA | February 5, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

It must be hell to be such a miserable human being.

Posted by: HuckyDucky | February 5, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

We all know the "crying game" Hillary was playing was fake. GO OBAMA!!!!!!

Posted by: John Locke | February 5, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I wish you would spend as much time trashing Obama as you do Hillary.
All this news media has only made it
more likely I will vote for Hillary.
Obama is a slick talker with no substance.

Posted by: Diane | February 5, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a snake oil salesman.

Posted by: Jan | February 5, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

God help us should the phony win

Posted by: Ruben Avila | February 5, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Matt | February 5, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama is another Bush, Bush was going to
be a uniter not a divider. Obama wants
to make a change. Other 4 to 8 years
of the same.

Posted by: Jean | February 5, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I stopped reading after I noticed her journalism skills: " ....her big upset in New Hampshire last month?". Where did you go to school Mary? I will make sure that I do not send my children there.

Posted by: Ok Mary... | February 5, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Lets stop with all the nasty comments about Senator Clinton, President Bush, and even Bill. Bill and Hillary have gotten over his mistake and they stayed together. Wow, they stuck with a commitment. A husband and wife has to forgive. Now to public speaking: Anyone who has to speak in public practice and if they have the money it is always wise to hire a professional. Actually it should be a requirement. Stop worrying about the little stuff the politician are doing and what they are wearing. Take a real look at what they have done politically. Look how they have voted. Do a little research about their political background. Personally I like Obama but I voted for Hillary. In a few more years when Obama gets more experience he will have my vote. But I also like Ron Paul, very smart man. No social appeal, guess he should hired a professional to juice his image maybe we would listen to his plans more. Yes I know he is Republican.

Posted by: Marty | February 5, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

When is the world going to realize this woman is a $3.

Posted by: bob | February 5, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

she should get her money back...

Posted by: craven | February 5, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

International. You need somebody well-known and well-connected to international community. to This is the common sense of the how to conduct international diplomacy. Obviously, Hillary is better person to carry out the duty

Posted by: June Lee | February 5, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

M. Barron,

'The World' is not our school principal and we're not 'in trouble'. The US will not and should not be lectured to by the likes of them. One can hope that the candidates have a little more spine.

Posted by: USAPatriot | February 5, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

This coach must have taught her how to act out crying as well. If shes going to cry at such things, how will she fare when Iran comes knocking at her door? She will need many tissues if she were actually president

Posted by: Dan | February 5, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I knew somebody was pulling the string to make her lips move....but I always assumed it was Bill. Live and learn.

Posted by: Woody | February 5, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Will some other coach help her find a new brain?

Posted by: Carl | February 5, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

hill does need help being morelikable and persuasive, but sheehan was unable to accomplish his task-that would have been worth more than just $7500, but he's human and hill needs more than a miracle, she needs divine intervention, she needs a total pysch overhall, she needs a a a an Obama Moment!

Posted by: jim | February 5, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: LISA KHN | February 5, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Her Royal Heinous is a tool, an intellectual troll, a droll mind tramp.

And will I live long enough to see a mars landing ? Probably not with HRH screeching at NASA.

Posted by: Jon Renner | February 6, 2008 4:56 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama might have captured 3-more states on Super Tuesday, but Clinton leads the delegate count. Obama speech on super Tuesday appears to be addressing black voters only, guess Uncle teddy didn't help? If you are still undecided today then here's a thought: If you want REAL change and we all do, you have to have a change agent that knows the system and has the contacts to create that change. Democratic nominee will be attacked by the Republican Party and, more importantly slimy political world that surrounds the GOP. These 'independent' organizations have a sole purpose: to attack relentlessly, in the most vicious possible ways. Who is best equipped to handle the vicious, continuous attacks that the other side will launch? who could best stand up and fight? Hillary Clinton has, as she has said, taken this incoming fire for 15 years or more. She's been unfairly attacked by mainstream media and men who fear a strong intelligent woman like Ted Kennedy. Shes been accused of everything thing the media and obama camp can think of and yet she's still the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination. She's proven after super Tuesday shes tougher than boot leather while having a human side. Those are assets that our candidate needs. Hillary Clinton has developed thick skin and the ability to remain calm in campaign combat. Yet, also knows how to listen to the American people. Qualifications? She's a successful, liberal US Senator. won a Senate election that by fighting back and campaigning in the non-traditional places in NY. She went to conservative, Republican based northern rural areas and won them over with smart policies, substantive talk and the fact she simply listened! In that most unlikely of places, she won with 67% of the vote. 2006 she won re-election. We are convinced Hillary is strong where others, including Barack Obama, would be weak and inexperienced. She will fight the filth machine of the other side with vigor and calmness. She knows how to outmaneuver them. She's a warrior. It's a term seldom applied to women. Yet being a warrior is what she's been from her Watergate committee staffing experience, through several terms as the First Lady of Arkansas, working on multiple corporate boards fighting for equal rights for minorities, middle class workers and women and during her years as First Lady of the US traveling the world. She learned first hand in those travels the foreign issues and realities. Hillary Clinton has made the personal contacts that are will be so valuable in the White House. She has consistently fought for the underdog and the American people. She was a warrior without anyone using the term.
Hillary Clinton knows how to form coalitions on Capitial Hill to get the job done! She has, that 'bad' word this election cycle, 'experience'. JFK, perhaps one of the most inspirational speakers in his day, had 8 years US Senate experience and had taken a run at the Vice Presidency in 1956. He knew government from the inside. JFK was not an outsider condemning the system and all those in it as Obama camp would like you to believe. If you want change in government you first have to learn how to operate from the inside to get the laws and policies changed. We learned this time and time again from JFK to Bill Clinton.

Posted by: CLINTON WINS BIG | February 6, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Hillary's voice is nothing more then the hollow echo of promises. Just rest it!

Posted by: Kerry | February 6, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: wockdhji ovxdzh | February 21, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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