Republicans Happy to Say (Sort of) Nice Things About Hillary, Anonymously

Photo: Brian Cahn/Corbis

There’s no question that Republicans have already begun a long planned mission to weaken Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, only days after it has begun. There is a #StopHillary hashtag, opposition research files are being compiled, and “Romnify” has become a verb. The anti–Hillary Clinton squirrel, currently in hiding, could reappear and change everything.

Despite this, Politico still managed to find several Republican leaders in Iowa and New Hampshire who had nice things to say about Clinton’s campaign launch. How was this possible?

The fact that they were allowed to keep their identities secret may have helped. 

However, even when it seemed Clinton’s opponents were saying nice things about her, most of the compliments ended up more than a little backhanded.

She can be very hard to listen to speak, at times shrill, so this was refreshing and a little inspirational,” said one Republican in Iowa. Another in New Hampshire said, “The drive to Iowa is the smartest play I’ve seen her make in a while.” One woman said Hillary Clinton’s announcement video looked like the beginning of a Nicholas Sparks movie, which could have been a compliment or an insult depending on whether she cried during The Notebook.

These sentences are probably the nicest things that will be said about Clinton for the rest of the election season. When names were paired with comments on Clinton’s rollout, the equivocating evaporated. 

Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, said “her rollout was nothing but a big bore” and Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told the Des Moines Register“We’re glad Hillary Clinton finally arrived for her Democratic coronation, but there are still many questions left unanswered.”

If Republicans had a contest for the most over-the-top condemnation of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre won before she even declared. On Saturday, he told a crowd at the NRA annual convention, “Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair forced upon the American people to endure.” 

Republicans Saying Nice Things About Hillary?