Masters in Politics: NYT Media Columnist Jim Rutenberg Says Too Much Media Attention On Trump Rewards Hillary Clinton


On the latest episode of Bloomberg’s Masters in Politics podcast, Tammy Haddad and Betsy Fischer Martin spoke to media writer extraordinaire Jim Rutenberg about how candidates manipulate the media or hide from it in order to control the narrative.

According to Rutenberg, journalists are finding it difficult to remain impartial this election season with the unprecedented rise of Donald Trump and his near-daily controversies. “All the focus on Trump takes some of the onus off of Hillary Clinton, who almost gets rewarded for not doing press conferences. I think her refusal to do press conferences is disgraceful,” Rutenberg said. “The email story and the stories about the interplay between her foundation and the State Department, which is a story that broke last week. We have to chase that really hard.”

Rutenberg also discussed the Trump campaign’s decision to bring on Roger Ailes to assist with debate prep. “They just spent the weekend together, Ailes and Trump. Here’s the thing about Roger Ailes, whatever you say about him, he is the best living television strategist and producer and maybe the best of all time, one of the best for sure. He knows how to game moderators, he knows how to work a debate, he invented it! He will be a formidable tool in Donald Trump’s toolkit. Donald Trump knows how to debate, sure. But he doesn’t know how to debate in a general election. He couldn’t have a better or more politically potent coach than Roger Ailes.”

You can listen to the full interview here.

Masters in Politics: Clinton State Campaign Director Talks Battleground States, CBS Face the Nation Host John Dickerson Discusses Trump Leadership Shakeup

Bloomberg Masters in Politics hosts Tammy Haddad and Betsy Fischer Martin interviewed Hillary Clinton’s man leading her campaign’s ground efforts. Marlon Marshall, state director for all 50 states, broke down the strategy for this year’s battleground states. In their conversation with John Dickerson, host of CBS News’ Face the Nation and the author of the new book Whistlestop: My My Favorite Moments from Presidential Campaign History, they discussed news that Donald Trump has recently enlisted former FOX News chairman Roger Ailes to assist with debate prep.

Many have pointed to Utah, which has solidly voted Republican in presidential elections since 1968, as state Clinton could pick up. According to Marshall, “President Clinton was out there the other day. He did a meeting with some community leaders in Utah. I think a lot of public polls will show Utah to be closer than one would expect. I attribute it to a couple of things: One, I think our message is resonating on the economy and what Hillary wants to do to build an economy for everyone and not just ones at the top. But I do think Trump’s rhetoric is very divisive rhetoric. In some states it’s really turning people off. I think in a state like Utah, which is typically more conservative, they’re saying, ‘This is not the type of person who should represent this country or our state.’ So, are we going to win Utah? I don’t know. But is it something that’s on our radar? Yeah, we’re gonna take a look.

When it comes to the differences between Trump’s ground game and Clinton’s Marshall says, “I think, one, we just have a general belief that organizing matters. I think you’ve heard out of his mouth that these big rallies and other things are kind of what he’s done in his campaign. I think rallies are good. One of the things you’ve probably seen us doing at rallies, when we have rallies, we actually are signing people up as potential volunteers.”

The hosts also caught up with John Dickerson to get his take on Trump’s new hires, Breitbart exec Stephen Bannon as the campaign’s chief executive and veteran GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway as Trump’s new campaign manager. Dickerson also discussed the optics of a Trump-Ailes alliance given Ailes recent controversies. “You can imagine a more traditional campaign not wanting to be associated with a figure who’s in the news for allegations that Ailes has been but Trump doesn’t really give into that kind of stuff. Will it help? He’s had a pretty good track record. What will be interesting is Donald Trump has a pretty big base of support but he needs to build his support with voters who want him to behave a little bit differently. And the question is whether he can behave differently, whether he wants to, and whether you can even imagine what behaving differently means in this context.”

You can check out the full interview here.

Sally Susman Hosts International Rescue Committee Reception for David Miliband at DNC

International Rescue Committee Party- DNC 2016

On the last night of the Democratic National Convention it was standing room only at a reception honoring David Miliband and supporting the work of the International Rescue Committee, an NGO that provides relief for refugees of war-torn countries such as Syria and other humanitarian crises. The event was co-hosted by Democratic heavyweights Sally Susman, Mona Sutphen, Tom Nides and Maureen White at Parc in Rittenhouse Square.

Attending the event where Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Gene Sperling, Jill Abramson, Don Baer, Hilary Rosen, Bob Barnett, Jonathan Capehart, Nick Schmitt, Steve Rattner, Erin Burnett, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Anita Dunn, Lois Romano, Eve O’Toole, Laura Zelenko and Megan Murphy.

Sally Susman is Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Pfizer and to learn more about the International Rescue Committee click here.

“Pieced Together” Set to Debut August 11 at the National Quilt Trail Gathering in Greeneville, Tennessee

Julianne Donofrio’s six-years-in-the-making film is set to debut August 11th at the national Quilt Trail Gathering in Greeneville, Tennessee. The film follows Donna Sue Groves, who started the quilt trail movement, where quilt squares are hung on barns along driving routes, creating an elaborate network that combines art and travel in unlikely places.

The feature length documentary, “Pieced Together,” follows Groves as she navigates through personal hardship and sheds light on the movement she began with her neighbors in Adams County, Ohio.

The quilt square movement has sprung up from this small community and has now gone nationwide, with trails in over 40 states and more forming in Canada and elsewhere.

Ms. Donofrio is a veteran filmmaker and news who previous worked for ABC News and Haddad Media. She is a graduate of Syracuse University.

The film’s website can be found here.

You can find out more about the National Quilt Trail Gathering here.

Be sure to check out this interview with filmmaker Julianne Donofrio here.

Volta Insider: Barack Obama’s Democratic Convention Swan Song


Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention, Photo Courtesy Volta Insider

Barack Obama is an incredibly impressive orator. He speaks with grace and power, his words suffused with purpose. He has mastered a voice that exerts both authority and emotion without pontificating. There is an honesty in his cadence that slightly resembles that of Bill Clinton, a speech delivered in a style that isn’t really a speech, but more of a conversation. That night, President Obama and the American people had a conversation about something our President knows quite a bit about, the audacity of hope. And trust me, there wasn’t a dry eye in the entire arena.

I was enamored by his remarks, but it wasn’t until the crowd resurrected the famous slogan “YES WE CAN” that I was deeply affected. It was within those seconds I was, as Fitzgerald writes, “…within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”

I was transported eight years back, to television clips of people shouting “YES WE CAN” in massive crowds. Struck with the absoluteness of the change he has brought about and the love the American people share with him because of it.

“Time and again, you’ve picked me up. And I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too. And tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me. Because you’re who I was talking about 12 years ago when I talked about hope. It’s been you who fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds were great; even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.”

I knew then why Barack Obama had won back in 2008. Fear is subjective, but hope is indefinite. I looked down towards the stage, at the side of his face and the corner of the podium. Compelled by the sadness in his stance that lifted a little bit in each word he spoke and the arena got smaller and smaller. As if there were not millions of people behind those big black cameras scattered among skyboxes. That speech was a love letter to this country. If Shakespeare wrote speeches for the King of England, it would probably sound something like what we heard that night. 46 stunning minutes when all I could think was: that’s my president.

Zignal Labs Charts Response to Hillary’s DNC Speech, Tammy Haddad Interviews Zingal’s Michael Venet

Haddad Media CEO Tammy Haddad caught up with Zignal Labs’ Michael Venet on Facebook Live, who demonstrated their famous smartboard, which charts social media mentions graphically. You can check out their conversation below.

Zignal Labs tracked millions of mentions on Twitter during this year’s RNC and DNC. According to Zignal’s Anthony York, Zignal “tracked about 6.4 million media mentions of the RNC, compared to more than 9.7 million mentions of the Democratic Convention,” making the DNC the drew much more interest online than the RNC.

Zignal created a chart that shows the most mentioned moments of the DNC:


They also calculated which DNC-related Tweets were the most popular:

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DNC Day 2: Zignal Labs Measures Impact of Democratic Stars’ Speeches

The second night of the Democratic National Convention saw some of the Democratic Party’s heaviest hitters take the podium. Bill Clinton, Eric Holder, Madeleine Albright, Howard Dean, Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, and Tom Harkin, were among the top billed speakers of the evening.

Zignal Labs’ Anthony York says that, “Zignal Labs tracked more than 1.9 million mentions of the Democratic gathering — more than any night of the Republican convention. Whether that translates into votes or momentum in the polls remains to be seen. If last night belonged to the current first lady, Tuesday was the night for the potential future first husband. Former President Bill Clinton was the most mentioned of Tuesday’s speakers.”

Zignal created an emoji chart to calculate the most used emoji in reference to Clinton’s speech:

DNCTuesdayEmojiCloud (1)

You can learn more about Zignal Labs and read their work with The Washington Post’s Daily 202 newsletter here.

Volta Insider: Rachel Greenberg Reflects on DNC Day One

Bill Clinton speaking at the DNC, Photo courtesy of Haddad Media

Bill Clinton speaking at the DNC, Photo courtesy of Haddad Media

Monday, July 25th was an exceptionally trying day for Democrats. After the media storm that followed the news that emails from top staffers in the DNC had been leaked, and the resignation of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, things were off to a tumultuous start.

In the one-step-forward-two-steps-back relationship the Clinton campaign has with Bernie Sanders supporters, it is not surprising that some Americans don’t believe that the Democratic party is not deeply polarized. It is underestimated just how much Bernie Sanders has influenced not only the Democratic party platform, but also on the success of Hillary’s campaign. Throughout the primary season he pushed her to craft a more progressive agenda and in doing so changed the narrative of this election.


Delegates on the floor of the convention hall, Photo courtesy Haddad Media

But in the larger picture, in the words of Donald Trump, the Republicans have a movement and in the words of Bernie Sanders, the Democrats have a revolution. The distinction between the words is telling, and speaks to the longevity of their respective party platforms. Movements come and go, but a revolution is something people seldom forget.  Regardless of who wins come November, either or both of these attempts to change establishment politics will challenge the current course of Washington.

You can check out more of my convention coverage here.

Zignal Labs Breaks Down DNC Day One Speeches On Twitter

Zignal Labs, the data analytics firm that charts the social media response to political events and news, has come up with some fascinating ways to calculate the online reaction to the Democratic National Convention’s speeches.

According to Zignal’s Anthony York, “The opening of the Democrats’ convention in Philadelphia attracted more interest on social media than last week’s GOP convention. Zignal Labs tracked 2.4 million DNC mentions on Monday, compared to about 1.6 million mentions during the opening night of the GOP gathering in Cleveland.”

Zignal’s emoji-cloud charts captured which emjois were used most during First Lady Michelle Obama’s rousing primetime speech, which many called the highlight of Day One:


Zignal also analyses the reach of particular twitter users and is capable of charting the reach of individual tweets. They found that Bernie Sanders’ convention tweet got 5 times more Twitter mentions than Hillary Clinton’s top tweet:

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You can learn more about Zignal Labs and read their work with The Washington Post’s Daily 202 newsletter here.

Masters in Politics: Reince Priebus Slams Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Email Flub

The hosts of Bloomberg Politics’ Masters in Politics podcast Tammy Haddad and Betsy Fischer Martin caught up with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who is in Southern Philadelphia this week to crash the Democrat’s big show with a converted boxing studio replete with “rigged” arcade games, to talk about the departure of Debbie Wasserman Schultz from her position as Democratic Party Chair.

Priebus admits that he worked well with Wasserman Schultz but doesn’t hesitate to condemn what many viewed as an intrusion into the outcome of the Democratic primary. “I think it was a fraud that they committed upon their own base. It’s a fraud that they committed to the Democratic voters and actually a fraud upon the American people.”

The RNC chair still believes an investigation is necessary for the Democrats to come out from under this scandal.  “It’s not what national parties are supposed to be doing. It should be an investigation as to who or what entity hacked into their emails”.

Priebus was quick to note that nothing similar happened under the RNC’s watch, essentially calling the ousted chairwoman’s emails a rookie mistake. “Number one, I don’t think that’s happened to us, number two, we weren’t doing things like that. I know our staff well, and number three, if someone had those views they wouldn’t be dumb enough to put it in an email. I’m kinda like a second Chief of Staff, the way I operate in the building, so I know those things didn’t happen.”

You can check out the full interview here.