Bloomberg reporter Mark Halperin said Monday that Democrats are "freaking out" about an off-message interview given by Bill Clinton because they need him as a positive face of the campaign for 2016.
In a Sunday interview with CNN, the former president talked about the scandals weighing down Hillary’s campaign, which he attributed to a partisan effort to destroy her political ambitions.
"That interview has freaked out a lot of Democrats," Halperin said, "As much as he’s right about some things, that is not the playbook they want. In an Internet age, given her negatives, that is not the argument they want to make."
Bill Clinton has been viewed by the campaign as an asset because of his famous affability and charm, which contrasts with Hillary’s political persona. An admittedly weary Bill Clinton qualified his endorsement of Hillary in the interview on Sunday.
"I think Hillary would be a great president but I have… I have no confidence in my political feel anymore," Clinton said.
"One of the biggest variables to me now in watching that interview is, can he up his game?" Halperin said. "A lot of Democrats are counting on him to be out on the campaign trail for her, sharper than he was in that interview."
Bill Clinton’s interview was at odds with the Clinton campaign’s strategy of downplaying Hillary’s scandals. The campaign had hoped to rely on pro-Clinton organizations like Correct the Record and Media Matters for America to do the dirty work of spinning her scandals, keeping the candidate above the fray.
This strategy has been largely unsuccessful, as Hillary Clinton has been dogged by questions about her possible mishandling of classified information while working as secretary of state.
Halperin offered a partial defense of Bill Clinton’s contention, dating back 20 years, that there is a vast right-wing conspiracy to take down the Clinton family.
"Much of what he says is true. There is a concerted effort to make this about her personal stuff and not let her talk about issues. It is a vast attempt by the right to do it," Halperin said.
"Are the FBI and the Justice Department in on this Republican strategy to go after Secretary Clinton? Because they’re the ones looking into it," MSNBC co-host Willie Geist said.
Halperin said that the FBI investigation into Clinton’s email could exonerate her.