Clinton campaign: 2016 race remains ‘fundamentally unchanged’

In a conference call with reporters ahead of a September push on issues of women’s issues, officials within Hillary Clinton’s campaign acknowledged Thursday that they have faced political “headwinds,” but insisted the race remains “fundamentally unchanged.”

“Obviously, we’ve had some headwinds, especially around the email question,” campaign chairman John Podesta said of the controversy over Clinton’s primary email account, which has roiled the campaign for months. And he said that the “noise” has made it “harder to break through.”

But Podesta and his colleagues nonetheless said Clinton remains strong. “We are well-positioned to win this nomination and the general election,” he told reporters.

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Joel Benenson, the campaign’s pollster and chief strategist, said he views the race as “fundamentally unchanged,” saying the campaign always expected to “nip and tuck all the way through to the primary.”

Clinton’s poll numbers have slumped under the weight of headlines about her private email server, including news Wednesday night that the staffer who set up her server is refusing to answer questions from congressional committees.

The former secretary of states remains the overwhelming favorite for the nomination, however, and her campaign believes she will eventually shake of the questions, since they believe she did nothing wrong. Benenson noted that the last 10 polls in the key state of Iowa – with the major exception of the Des Moines Register’s – have shown Clinton over 45% support, giving her a clear lead.

Clinton will spend September focused on issues of concern to women, the campaign announced Thursday, which could help contrast her with her male primary challengers.

Asked about the possibility of Vice President Joe Biden entering the race, campaign manager Robby Mook said a run from the sitting vice president would undoubtedly change things. Biden would have a “commanding presence in the race and will certainly shake up the dynamic,” if he were to get in, Mook said.

Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden

Clinton campaign: 2016 race remains 'fundamentally unchanged'