Hillary Clinton tries to handle campaign crises now, months in advance


Former U.S. Senator, Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton knows a thing or two about crisis.

From Lewinsky to Benghazi, from health-care reform to her husband’s heart attack, she’s seen it all — and that doesn’t include Iraq, Afghanistan, al Qaeda or Carl Rove.

As the presumed Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination sizes up her prospects, she’s written a new book and is making the requisite rounds of network and cable television interviews.

Hard Choices — for scholars, journalists and voters — is an account of her Obama administration years. For many, she was an effective and well-traveled secretary of state. But for crisis managers, the book is one, big, proactive, crisis management exercise.

Why? Watch if she’s on the defensive in presidential debates how many times Clinton says, “Oh, that’s all in the book;” or, “I’ve covered that in far greater detail in my book;” or, “I said all I am going to say about that in the book.”

The relevant codicil in crisis management is that if you don’t say something about yourself and the crisis, your critics will be the only ones judging you. The flip side of that is, if you get out and say what you want about a crisis first, then you frame the debate, put your version of the facts out first and you make your critics attack the “popular wisdom,” you created.

Clinton has decades of experience in this game. She may come off as coy about whether she’ll run, but 688 pages of crisis management say she will.

The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs and Crisis and Reputation Management at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the East. Learn more about EMA at mowerpr.com/crisisready. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.

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About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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