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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Confused Candidates

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was “often confused,” according to a 2013 email from her longtime aide Huma Abedin.
The comment, which is likely to attract attention from Clinton’s critics on the presidential campaign trail, was revealed on Monday following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from conservative legal group Judicial Watch.

In the Jan. 26, 2013, message, Abedin gave the note about Clinton while discussing the secretary’s schedule with another Clinton aide, Monica Hanley.
“Have you been going over calls with her for tomorrow?” Abedin asked Hanley. “So she knows [then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan] singh is at 8?”
“She was in bed for a nap by the time I heard that she had an 8am call,” Hanley responded. “Will go over with her.”
“Very imp to do that,” Abedin said in response.
“She’s often confused.”
Trip Gabriel reports at The New York Times that Ben Carson is struggling on foreign policy, an increasingly important difficulty in light of the Paris attacks
Faced with increasing scrutiny about whether Mr. Carson, who leads in some Republican presidential polls, was capable of leading American foreign policy, two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect.
“Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” said Duane R. Clarridge, a top adviser to Mr. Carson on terrorism and national security. He also said Mr. Carson needed weekly conference calls briefing him on foreign policy so “we can make him smart.”
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Indicted on charges of lying to Congress in the Iran-contra scandal (he was later pardoned), Mr. Clarridge today runs a private network of intelligence sources, including, he said, experts on Iran, China and the Middle East, who have all briefed Mr. Carson in phone calls or Skype sessions.
Mr. Clarridge, who contacted Mr. Carson nearly two years ago to offer his services without pay, has helped the candidate prepare for debates. But the briefings do not always seem to sink in, Mr. Clarridge said. After Mr. Carson struggled on “Fox News Sunday” to say whom he would call first to form a coalition against the Islamic State, Mr. Clarridge called Mr. [Armstrong] Williams in frustration. “We need to have a conference call once a week where his guys roll out the subjects they think will be out there, and we can make him smart,” Mr. Clarridge said he told Mr. Williams.
Mr. Williams, one of Mr. Carson’s closest friends, who does not have an official role in the campaign, also lamented the Fox News interview. “He’s been briefed on it so many times,” he said. “I guess he just froze.”

Mr. Carson, 64, who retired as one the world’s foremost pediatric neurosurgeons, has sometimes struggled to adapt his thoughtful manner and speaking style to the rat-a-tat of debates and TV interviews. “Sometimes he overthinks things,” Mr. Williams said, adding that he had spoken to Mr. Carson after the Fox News stumble. “I could tell, talking to him, it was a bummer for him.”
After this article was posted online, the Carson campaign issued a statement saying The New York Times had taken advantage of Mr. Clarridge, “an elderly gentleman.” Mr. Williams had referred The Times to Mr. Clarridge, describing him as one of Mr. Carson’s top advisers on foreign policy and providing his phone number.