Insiders: Obama, Warren will outshine Clinton in Philly – Politico

Democrats have low expectations for Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech this week: She rates behind President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren when it comes to the most anticipated Democratic convention speeches.

A survey of The POLITICO Caucus — a panel of activists, strategists and operatives in 11 key battleground states — finds that, despite Clinton’s imminent nomination for president, Democratic insiders think Obama and Warren will make the more effective case for their party in speeches at the Wells Fargo Center this week.

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Asked who would deliver the most effective address, nearly half of Democratic insiders, 49 percent, said Obama. Another 26 percent picked Warren.

Just 10 percent chose Clinton — the same percentage that said her husband would make the most effective case for the party.

“This is Obama’s party,” said a Florida Democrat, who, like all insiders, completed the survey anonymously. “He’ll light the place up and pass the torch of a united party, then we’ll all pray she doesn’t screw it up between now and November.”

“He will be in legacy-burnishing mode and will be spectacular,” a New Hampshire Democrat said, referring to the president. “Wish he could serve another term.”

Added a Nevada Democrat: “His tenure is almost come to an end, and he has been one of the best presidents in history. There will be tears, joy and a sense of accomplishment. It will be another historic moment.”

A number of Democratic insiders said Obama could serve as a powerful validator for Hillary Clinton — in the same way Bill Clinton made a compelling argument for Obama’s reelection at the convention in Charlotte four years ago.

“Bill did it for Barack,” an Iowa Democrat said. “Now it’s Barack’s turn to return the favor.”

Warren, the first-term Massachusetts senator, was praised for her ability to coalesce an argument that speaks to middle-class anxiety — better than Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to many insiders.

(This survey was conducted earlier this month, before Clinton chose Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate; Warren was also rumored to be a candidate.)

“Warren, like Sanders, has a way of explaining the bread and butter issues of the today,” a North Carolina Democrat said. “Warren is great at making the case as to why Trump should not be the next president.”

Added a Pennsylvania Democrat: “Bernie’s speech will be like going to a Springsteen concert. Everyone knows all the words and will be singing along with him. But Elizabeth Warren will package those messages in a new fashion and make sure Hillary realizes she made a mistake in her VP choice and having people say that if only it would have been her instead of Bernie.”

Most of the Democrats who expected Hillary Clinton would be the best speaker said they chose her because the stakes are enormous for her speech.

“She has to be” the most effective, a North Carolina Democrat said. “She is the standard bearer. The others will be great, but Hillary has to be better.”

That was echoed by a Colorado Democrat: “She has to be; it is her show.”

As for Clinton’s husband, a handful of insiders said the former president can make an emotional case for his wife unlike any of the other speakers.

“As always, Bill Clinton will steal the show — but most importantly will make the most important case of all — for his wife,” a Wisconsin Democrat said. “It’s up to him to get it done for her at the convention.”

Insiders praise Kaine pick

According to Caucus insiders, Hillary Clinton made a smart choice in picking Kaine to join her ticket on Friday, selecting a running mate with a solid record who will bring assets to the campaign and is capable of serving as commander-in-chief.

In a special survey conducted in the hours after the Clinton campaign made the Kaine pick official, the vast majority of Democratic insiders, 86 percent, said Clinton made a smart pick. Just 14 percent said she should have chosen someone else.

A majority of GOP insiders agreed: 62 percent said Kaine was a smart choice, while 38 percent thought she should have tapped someone else.

Most Democrats see Kaine as a candidate with considerable and diverse experience who can appeal to both Democrats and independents, or Republicans defecting from the Donald Trump-Mike Pence ticket. And few, just 10 percent, thought Kaine would have trouble motivating more liberal voters behind Clinton’s candidacy.

“He is the most qualified to take over in the event something happens to the president,” said one Florida Democrat, who, like all respondents, completed the survey anonymously. “Additionally, while left of center, he is not so radical to frighten moderates and works well across the party lines as does Hillary.”

“Tim Kaine is ready to be president tomorrow; that is what really matters,” a New Hampshire Democrat added. “After that it is who she is comfortable with and who will be great partner in running the country. Joe Biden is a perfect model, and Tim Kaine is Hillary’s Joe Biden.”

A number of Democratic insiders also touted their own personal experiences with Kaine. One New Hampshire Democrat called Kaine “truly one of the nicest people on earth.”

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