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10/15/16

US Presidential Elections: Clinton campaign sought to cancel Wall Street speech

Hillary Clinton's campaign asked former President Bill Clinton to cancel a speech to a Wall Street investment firm last year because of concerns that the Clintons might appear to be too cozy with Wall Street just as the former secretary of state was about to announce her White House bid, newly released emails show.

Clinton aides say in hacked emails released Friday by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks that Hillary Clinton did not want her husband to cancel the speech, but after a "cool down period" was eventually convinced that canceling was the right step.

Campaign manager Robby Mook said he realized canceling the lucrative speech would disappoint both Clintons but "it's a very consequential unforced error and could plague us in stories for months."

The Clintons' paid speeches have been an issue throughout the campaign, particularly Hillary Clinton's private speeches to Wall Street firms. Hillary Clinton earned about $1.5 million in speaking fees before launching her presidential campaign, while Bill Clinton reaped more than $5 million from banking, tech and other corporate interests, according to financial documents filed by Hillary Clinton.

The campaign has never released transcripts of Hillary Clinton's speeches, but the hacked emails did reveal excerpts flagged by her advisers as potentially concerning.

In the excerpts, Clinton talked about dreaming of "open trade and open borders" in the Western Hemisphere. She also says politicians sometimes need to have "both a public and a private position" on issues.

Note EU-Digest: The Clinton campaign should be cautious that their constant negative attacks on Donald Trump don't start to look like a deliberate effort of defamation of the character of Trump, which could backfire on Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the election, given her own somewhat checkered past and voting record.

Read more: Email: Clinton campaign sought to cancel Wall Street speech

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