WikiLeaks: Aides Discussed Clinton's 'Tricky' Response to Bernie Sanders' Rape Essay

By Susan Jones | October 17, 2016 | 11:02am EDT
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) joins Democrat Hillary Clinton for one of their primary debates. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - A month and half after Hillary Clinton announced she was running for president, "Mother Jones" published a profile on her rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), including an essay Sanders wrote in 1972 about men's "piggishness" and women's rape fantasies.

The Sanders essay, first printed in a Vermont alternative newspaper, begins with some shocking language and images, including a woman who "fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously."

Mother Jones reprinted the essay as part of its Sanders profile on May 26, 2015; A few days later, on May 31, the Clinton campaign wrestled with what Hillary Clinton's response should be.

As released by WikiLeaks, the May 31, 2015 email from Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri read:

HRC has fundraisers tomorrow and could be asked about Bernie.  There will not be press there.  Think this is tricky.  Dont think she should look as if she wants to make a political issue out of it.  But has to say it is disturbing.

How about this?

I know that Senator Sanders has been asked about this, and has addressed it. I have to say that I personally found it disturbing.

At the time, Sanders was not considered a threat to Clinton's presidential aspirations.

 

Palmieri's email was sent to a number of Clinton aides and advisers, but in this particular thread, only Joel Benenson responded: Benenson is the chief strategist and pollster for the Clinton campaign.

"I agree with Jen here, especially in light of his response the other day. I’m OK with Jen’s, or something with a little more of a jab.

Bernie has tried to explain what he wrote. But I have to say that I personally found it disturbing.

Here is his response in Iowa, which still seems [sentence not finished].

["]It was a poorly written article dealing with gender stereotypes of the period, in the sense that a lot of men have the feel to be all powerful and controlling," Mr. Sanders said in an interview after a town hall event in Muscatine, Iowa.

“Women have the feeling they have to be dependent. It was very poorly written in a way I certainly would not write it now. But if you read it, what you find is that is a bad situation for both people: women shouldn’t be dependent. Men should not be oppressors. We want a society where people are equal. That was about it was about."

Palmieri responded to Benenson and the others:

Thanks all. That's a better formulation. Rebecca - can you use answer Joel has below? Thanks

In this and so many other emails hacked from Podesta's account, Clinton's aides are seen conferring and calculating in great detail about what Hillary should say and tweet; and how she should respond to various situations -- even putting a "smile" cue into one of her suggested responses.

 

The Sanders' rape essay quickly fell out of the headlines and it was never broached at the Democrat debates.

The full email chain between Palmieri and Beneson is reprinted here:

------------------------------------------------

Re: HRC getting asked about Bernie and the rape essay

From:jpalmieri@hillaryclinton.com
To: jbenenson@bsgco.com
Date: 2015-06-01 01:26
Subject: Re: HRC getting asked about Bernie and the rape essay
                        
Thanks all.  That's a better formulation.

Rebecca - can you use answer Joel has below?  Thanks

Sent from my iPhone


On May 31, 2015, at 10:24 PM, Joel Benenson <jbenenson@bsgco.com> wrote:

I agree with Jen here, especially in light of his response the other
day.  I’m OK with Jen’s, or something with a little more of a jab.

Bernie has tried to explain what he wrote.  But I have to say that I
personally found it disturbing.

Here is his response in Iowa, which still seems

It was a poorly written article dealing with gender stereotypes of the
period, in the sense that a lot of men have the feel to be all powerful and
controlling," Mr. Sanders said in an interview after a town hall event in
Muscatine, Iowa.

"Women have the feeling they have to be dependent. It was very poorly
written in a way I certainly would not write it now. But if you read it,
what you find is that is a bad situation for both people: women shouldn’t
be dependent. Men should not be oppressors. We want a society where people
are equal. That was about it was about."


*From:* Jennifer Palmieri
*Sent:* Sunday, May 31, 2015 9:51 PM
*To:* Jim Margolis; Joel Benenson; Robby Mook; Mandy Grunwald; Huma Abedin;
Kristina Schake; Christina Reynolds; John Podesta
*Subject:* HRC getting asked about Bernie and the rape essay

HRC has fundraisers tomorrow and could be asked about Bernie.  There will
not be press there.  Think this is tricky.  Dont think she should look as
if she wants to make a political issue out of it.  But has to say it is
disturbing.

How about this?

I know that Senator Sanders has been asked about this, and has addressed
it.  I have to say that I personally found it disturbing.
              

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