Since stepping down as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has made hundreds of speeches for which she has been paid handsomely, but her ineffective delivery and frequent gaffes have some questioning her strength as a presidential candidate.
"Given that she has been in public life since 1992, it's a bit incongruous to consider that her speaking style is often so lacking. She has yet to master 'the big speech,' which is part of the toolbox of any major politician," contends The Washington Post's Nia-Malika Henderson.
While making speeches and appearances on behalf of candidates during the midterm elections has kept her name in the public's mind, Clinton's frequent missteps and verbal gaffes exposes her lack of political skills in their mind as well.
"She is not a compelling public figure. And if I were [Massachusetts Sen.] Elizabeth Warren, I would jump in the race today because she is an authentic, truth-telling kind of politician and it would cause utter panic in the Clinton camp," said The National Review's Jonah Goldberg, according to Breitbart News.
Unlike Clinton, Warren has mastered the stump speech, as well as the ability to connect with voters.
"One secret of Warren’s success has been her mastery of an old political art: the stump speech. Other Senate Democrats, after years on the defensive, have been trained to give mumbly attack speeches focusing mainly on what their opponents get wrong. Warren, by contrast, uses old rhetorical tricks to sweep her audience into a celebration of what she says Democrats get right," says David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post.
The contrast between the two potential candidates —
neither have committed to running in 2016 —
was apparent when both appeared at an October rally for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley.
Trying to tap in to the populist themes frequently touched on by Warren, Clinton declared, "Don’t let anybody tell you that, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs," according to The New York Times.
It is her populism, more than her speaking abilities, however, that have a growing number of Democrats stepping back from a full embrace of Clinton.
"The big question we want to know is, ‘What’s the agenda?’ We don’t want to hear that people have a message about correcting the economy — we want to know that they have an agenda for correcting the economy. If we get the same economic [plan] no matter who the president is, you get the same results," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in an interview with Politico.
Trumka says the union wants to speak with all of the presidential candidates before making an endorsement, so it may delay making an announcement until the second half of 2015.
Meanwhile, the liberal activist group MoveOn.org plans to open offices and hire staff in support of a Warren run, The New York Times reports.
"We want to demonstrate to Senator Warren that there’s a groundswell of grassroots energy nationally and in key states and to demonstrate there’s a path for her," said Sheyman, who is not working in coordination with Warren.
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