An anti-Hillary Clinton political group called Make America Number 1 is out with a series of videos hoping to undermine two of the Democratic nominee’s most effective surrogates: Barack and Michelle Obama.
The videos pull from then-Sen. Obama’s 2008 primary against then-Sen. Clinton, a notoriously bitter race that pitted the rising star against the longtime party loyalist in a drawn-out fight for what would be, for either, a historic nomination.
Three of the ads begins with text reading, “If you really want to know who Hillary Clinton is, let’s hear from those who know her best. … Like Barack Obama,” then flash to footage from Obama on the campaign trail.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at the DNC
“Her basic view about this election is that the say anything, do anything, special interest-driven politics of Washington, that that’s how it’s got to be,” the future 44th president says in one spot. “That that’s how the game is played. And so you should elect her to be your nominee because she’s been in Washington longer and she knows how to play the game better.”
In another, he says: “Sen. Clinton – this is the same person who has taken more money from lobbyists than any other candidate, Democratic or Republican. Taken more money from drug company lobbyists and insurance company lobbyists, and she’s saying I’m out of touch? Who do you think is out of touch?”
And in the third, Obama accuses his rival of stooping as low as his eventual Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
“I expected this out of John McCain, but I’ve got to say, I’m a little disappointed when I start hearing the exact same talking points coming out of my Democratic colleague, Hillary Clinton,” he says. “She knows better. Shame on her.”
“Barack Obama doesn’t trust Hillary Clinton,” the ads conclude. “Doesn’t sound like much of an endorsement.”
A fourth ad in the same format features Michelle Obama. In her video, the ad shows the future first lady dinging the Clintons’ marital issues.
“One of the things, the important aspects of this race, is role-modeling what good families should look like,” she says. “And my view is that if you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House. Can’t do it.”
The videos are part of the Defeat Crooked Hillary project from Make America Number 1, which has been funded by $4.5 million from Republican megadonor Robert Mercer and $1 million from Cherna Moskowitz, widow of hospital and gambling magnate Irving Moskowitz.
The ads, which reportedly will hit the web backed by a six-figure buy, come as the Obamas ramp up their face time on the campaign trail.
Both Obamas are enjoying positive favorability numbers, which makes them particularly valuable surrogates for Clinton.
The president, whose ratings had been in the red since 2013, has often seen his approval top 50 percent for much of the past six months, according to the RealClearPolitics average.
The first lady, meanwhile, remains one of the country’s most popular public figures. According to Gallup, Michelle Obama had the highest favorability rating of any of the key figures speaking at the Democratic National Convention in July, with a net positive rating of 25 points.
The new ads are clearly meant to undermine the Obamas’ efforts to share their popularity with Clinton, who has languished with net unfavorables since announcing her candidacy last year.
Clinton and the Obamas have put a positive spin on their past, saying their now-close relationship comes not only in spite of their animus, but because of it. After all, at the end of their primary fight, Obama invited Clinton to join his Cabinet as secretary of state.
“This is not me just going through the motions here: I really, really, really want to elect Hillary Clinton president,” Obama said at a recent rally for Clinton. “Sometimes folks are kind of surprised by that because they remember, ‘Man, you guys had a tough fight eight years ago.'”
“Every time I thought I had that thing won, I’d turn around and she was right there,” he said. “No matter how many times people mess with her and knock her down, she does not quit.”
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