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NBC to Mook: ‘Just to Play Devil’s Advocate,’ Why Didn’t Clinton Address Charges About Attacking Women?

• October 10, 2016 10:39 am

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NBC’s Today show host Savannah Guthrie used the expression "to play devil’s advocate" when she asked Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on Monday why the candidate did not directly address charges that she attacked women who accused her husband of sexual misconduct.

Donald Trump brought four women to Sunday night’s debate, three of whom have publicly accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct, including rape. He talked about them directly, saying the former president was abusive to them and that Hillary Clinton attacked those women "viciously."

Asked by Lester Holt why she did not take on those issues at the debate, Mook said Trump was trying to throw Clinton off her game and she wanted to stay on policy. Trump also did not acknowledge the severity of his sexually explicit 2005 comments that have caused a firestorm around his campaign, Mook added.

"He pulled a stunt where he brought those individuals in to do a Facebook live event before the debate," he said. "Hillary’s steady, she’s strong, she’s not going to get thrown off her game. That’s what Donald Trump tried to do, and he failed."

"But, Robby, just to play devil’s advocate, he’s lobbing some serious allegations, not only against her husband who is not on the ticket, but against her for enabling or further victimizing some of these accusers," Guthrie said. "Why would she just let that hang out there unanswered? Because there might be voters who think, ‘I guess there is no good answer.’"

"Because voters don’t want this to be what we’re talking about," Mook said. "They want to talk about the issues, and this campaign is not about Bill Clinton. It’s about Hillary Clinton. She’s the one on the ballot with Donald Trump, and what the voters are looking for is a president who’s going to work hard on their behalf and make a difference in their lives."

Another woman present at the debate was Kathy Shelton, a child rape victim whose attacker was defended by Clinton as a young lawyer in 1975. In recordings unearthed by the Washington Free Beacon, Clinton chuckled that her client passed a polygraph, "which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs." He eventually pled down to a minor charge.