POLITICS

Trail To The Chief: This Is Brooklyn Edition

04/12/2015 05:12 pm ET | Updated Apr 13, 2015



This Is Brooklyn Edition


In what surely is her last bid to win the presidency -- for herself, by herself -- Clinton launched her campaign on Twitter with a video designed to show she is an unassuming, civic-minded grandma eager to hear what y’all think about America and how you think it could be better for your children and your children’s children and her own grandchild.

You know, just your average grandma: former first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, eight-year resident of the White House, U.S. senator from New York and U.S. secretary of state.

That grandma.

The 2016 Clinton strategy -- to run (or try to run) as a cheerfully down-to-earth listener and problem-solver -- is the result of the thinking of her new team. There are some decades-long veterans in it (Bill Clinton chief among them), but there is also a new crew, and its thinking is somewhat less innately combative.

To be sure, the battery-acid spinmeister Philippe Reines is still around, but Dark Knight Polltaker Mark "Microtrends" Penn is gone, as is chew-your-head-off New York flack Howard Wolfson. David Brock is on board, but at somewhat of a distance. Lawyers David Kendall and Cheryl Mills will be around, but if Clinton is lucky, they won’t be needed for any frontline duty between now and November 2016.

Instead there is tough-but-well-liked John Podesta in charge, a kinder-gentler Obama poll taker named Joel Benenson and comms director Jennifer Palmieri, another stalwart-but-genial character who has honed her craft under the tutelage of both Podesta and the current president.

Most important, there is Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, the 6-month-old daughter of Chelsea Clinton and Edward Mezvinsky. Expect to see Charlotte and Chelsea -- and Hillary -- everywhere. Expect to hear about them endlessly.

Nothing wrong with that. Trail to the Chief is all in favor of babies! Kissing them has been a political tradition forever -- probably since Andrew Jackson in Tennessee, if not Pericles in Athens -- and the only thing better than kissing a random baby on the campaign trail is to have one handy in the fam.

RANK PLAYER TEAM RISING OR FALLING
1 CHARLOTTE CLINTON MEZVINSKY
Told you we like babies the most! As Rand Paul is to doctor, Hillary Clinton is to grandma.
Clinton
2 JOHN PODESTA
Closest thing to a Wise Person in the Beltway Democratic Party.
Inveterate Insider
3 JOEL BENENSON
Obama's whiz pollster makes a home in Brooklyn -- and he's about as far from Mark Penn in disposition as you can get.
Obama
4 ROBBY MOOK
The young campaign manager who worked miracles on the Terry McAuliffe campaign should bring the magic as long as he stays off email listserves.
(Young) Inveterate Insider
5 HUMA ABEDIN
Lifetime friend and trusted right-hand woman; is of talismanic importance to Hillary.
Clinton
6 PHILIPPE REINES
Will be the last guy in the Hillary Clinton foxhole; universally reviled by the press he's supposed to deal with.
Clinton
7 JENNIFER PALMIERI
Genial Podesta protégé has seen fire and rain as an ex-John Edwards flack.
Inveterate Insider
8 KRISTINA SCHAKE
Turned Michelle Obama into a spunky everywoman -- can she work her magic again?
Obama
9 (TIE) MANDY GRUNWALD & JIM MARGOLIS
This is the new ads team. Grunwald's been Team Hillary from the beginning and will join with frenemy Margolis, who handled Obama last time.
Clinton/Obama
10 MELANNE VERVEER
Shoulder to lean on for the last 30+ years.
Clinton
11 KAREN FINNEY
Former DNC flack and MSNBC host with good younger Beltway connections.
Inveterate Insider
12 NICK MERRILL
Hillary's main press flack -- who is so good at turning the attention to Hillary, we couldn't even find a photo of him -- will invariably be by her side in the biggest campaign of her life.
Clinton
13 CHELSEA CLINTON
If Hillary is going to young it up, she needs Chelsea to emerge as a star. Elle magazine is already on the case.
Clinton
14 BILL CLINTON
Bill says he's not a good campaigner anymore, and has promised be a quiet adviser -- we'll see.
Clinton

Photos: Getty, Associated Press, CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece mistakenly identified Robby Mook as "Team Obama." The post has been updated to reflect his wide swath of experience working for the Democratic party.

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