Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Strained to Hone Her Message, Hacked Emails Show


At one point, more than a dozen campaign aides corresponded about whether Mrs. Clinton could tell a joke at an Iowa dinner about the hairstyles of two Republicans: Donald J. Trump and Trey Gowdy, the representative from South Carolina who led the inquiry into Mrs. Clinton’s handling of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

“I love the joke, too,” wrote Jake Sullivan, Mrs. Clinton’s policy chief, but he added that Mrs. Clinton should stay “above the committee.”

The exchanges show how Mrs. Clinton’s long-gestating plans to pursue the presidency collided with a newly populist mood in the Democratic electorate (which one of her advisers called the “Red Army”).

And they detail how, even as Mrs. Clinton was brushing off questions early on about her political plans, insisting that a run was not on her mind, she had already enlisted…



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