Clinton Campaign Poll Tested Vulnerabilities on Russia, Iran, Benghazi

Internal vulnerability document shows what attacks worried campaign before launch

Hillary Rodham Clinton
November 4, 2016

A "vulnerabilities poll" conducted by Hillary Clinton campaign pollsters in the lead up to the launch of her presidential bid revealed internal concerns about Clinton's handling of Russia and Iran, the terrorist attack in Benghazi, and comparisons to disgraced NBC anchor Brian Williams.

The poll, made available through emails released by WikiLeaks, was created for the campaign by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and was conducted in March 2015 with likely voters in Iowa's Democratic caucuses. The questions give an inside look at what the campaign was thinking a month before Clinton officially announced that she would be running for president.

U.S. intelligence officials formally accused "Russia's senior-most officials" of directing hackers to break into American political systems to leak emails to WikiLeaks and other sites in order to influence the 2016 election.

One part of the poll presented voters with "a list of positions Hillary Clinton has taken, and things she has done," and asked them to say whether each made them "more likely or less likely to vote" for Clinton.

Here are some of the items on the list of things Clinton had done, in the Clinton campaign's own words:

  • "Didn't protect the U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya who were killed by terrorists"
  • "Didn't recognize major terrorist threats until it was too late when she was Secretary of State, like ISIS in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria"
  • "Says she supports equal pay for women, but in her own Senate office only paid women seventy two cents on the dollar compared to men"
  • "Says she's not truly well off even though she and Bill Clinton have made over one hundred twenty million dollars"
  • "Started a charitable foundation that doesn't collect on sixty percent of its pledges"
  • "Supports Barack Obama's policy of amnesty for illegal immigrants"
  • "Wasn't able to account for six billion dollars in taxpayer money when she was Secretary of State"
  • "Billed taxpayers for first class travel, including a fifteen thousand dollar hotel upgrade for a three bedroom suite in Hawaii"
  • "Used her position as Secretary of State to reward companies like Boeing that gave to the Clinton Foundation with foreign contracts"
  • "Gave taxpayer funded no bid contracts to her campaign contributors when she was Secretary of State"
  • "Charges state universities two hundred thousand dollars per speech"
  • "Supported NAFTA and now supports new free trade agreements with Asia"
  • "Has taken over thirty five million dollars in speaking fees, foundation gifts, and campaign contributions from Wall Street"
  • "Allowed Iran's nuclear program to triple its uranium enrichment while she was Secretary of State"
  • "Offered major concessions to Vladimir Putin in Eastern Europe before he invaded Ukraine"
  • "Has a thirty year history of ethics and corruption investigations like Whitewater and Travelgate"
  • "Was caught exaggerating her story about landing under sniper fire in Bosnia"

The poll did not end there. Beyond positions that Clinton had taken and things that she had done, it asked respondents to listen to some comments that critics would say about Clinton.

The poll asked about 15 different scandals, ranging from how she mismanaged the State Department to how she is bad for both women and workers.

Here are some of those:

  • [OUT OF TOUCH] Hillary Clinton says she was quote unquote dead broke when she left the White House but the Clintons have made over one hundred twenty million dollars. Hillary Clinton doesn't get it. She just said she and her husband are not truly well off. Clinton can't come close to understanding the challenges middle class families face every day to get by. Unlike middle class families, Hillary Clinton travels by private jets, stays in luxury hotels, has two mansions, and has not driven a car in twenty years.
  • [WALL STREET] Hillary Clinton says she fights for working people but has been a
    defender and benefactor of Wall Street her entire career. She supported taxpayer funded bailouts for Wall Street and didn't support holding them accountable afterwards. The Clintons have taken over thirty five million dollars from Wall Street in paid speaking fees and contributions to the Clinton Foundation and she defended Wall Street and said quote "banker bashing was foolish and had to stop" unquote.
  • [MISMANAGEMENT] The Clinton Foundation is one of the worst managed charities in the country, wasting money on high salaries, gala parties, and luxury travel while delivering few results. The Clinton foundation spent over fifty million dollars on luxury travel–more than ten percent of their total budget. And while Clinton and so-called donors announce major pledges so they can get press, the foundation never collects on sixty percent of commitments and very little money gets to needed programs.
  • [INEFFECTIVE SOS] Hillary Clinton was an ineffective Secretary of State who flew all over the world, but didn't have a single major accomplishment. While she was Secretary of State, her department said the threat from ISIS was quote unquote, "exaggerated" but ISIS has now become the greatest terrorist threat that we face. She gave Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, major concessions in Eastern Europe, and in return he invaded Ukraine. And under Clinton, Iran moved closer to having nuclear weapons.
  • [BENGHAZI] Hillary Clinton's failed leadership as Secretary of State was responsible for the loss of American lives in the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton admits she saw reports about serious threats in Benghazi, but claims she never knew that the Ambassador repeatedly asked for more security before he was killed. The regional security officer for Libya disputed Clinton's claims in congressional hearings, and Clinton's response was quote "what difference does it make?" unquote.
  • [ETHICALLY CHALLENGED] The Clintons have a long trail of ethics investigations that continue to follow them, along with allegations that they play fast and loose with the truth and the law. From Whitewater, to Travelgate, Hillary Clinton is no stranger to ethics controversy. Clinton was called a quote unquote "congenital liar" in the New York Times and an independent counsel said there was substantial evidence that she lied under oath in a legal proceeding.
  • [BOSNIA STORY] Like Brian Williams, Hillary Clinton has been caught lying about being shot at in a combat zone. Clinton claimed that when she traveled to Bosnia quote, "I remember landing under sniper fire. We just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles" unquote. But a CBS News reporter was with her on that flight and has video of Clinton getting off the plane and shaking hands with children who met her on the runway.
  • [BAD FOR WOMEN] Hillary Clinton portrays herself as a champion of working women, but Clinton only paid women in her own Senate office seventy two cents on the dollar compared to men. Women in Clinton's office made fifteen thousand dollars a year less than men. And at the Bill and Hillary Clinton Foundation, men on the senior staff get paid an average of over a hundred thousand dollars a year more than women on the senior staff.
  • [BAD FOR WORKERS] Hillary Clinton says she'll bring jobs to America and rebuild our manufacturing economy, but she supported the unfair trade agreements that sent jobs overseas in the first place. Clinton supported NAFTA both as First Lady and in the Senate, and called NAFTA good for America. As Secretary of State she was a major supporter of a new free trade agreement with Asia that is opposed by labor and has been called NAFTA on steroids because it would cost even more jobs.
  • [TRIGGER HAPPY] Hillary Clinton is too eager to get the U.S. involved in military conflicts overseas that have cost us trillions of tax dollars and thousands of American lives. She voted for the war in Iraq and refused to apologize for it, supported a major troop increase in Afghanistan, and advocated for the U.S. to get involved in civil wars in Libya and Syria. We simply can't afford another president who is so eager to get our country involved in foreign conflicts.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the vulnerability poll.

You can read the entire poll below:

Clinton Campaign's National Vulnerabilities Poll by Washington Free Beacon on Scribd