Robby Mook was feeling a lot better this morning, just a couple of weeks after he may or may not have caught pneumonia from his boss.
The Hillary Clinton campaign manager had booked his appearance on The View well before last night’s first presidential debate at Hofstra University, so he was likely relieved that he had little spin to do following his candidate’s clear-cut victory over Donald Trump. Mook, who has had one of the toughest jobs in politics this year, as Clinton faced a tougher-than-expected primary battle with Bernie Sanders and an unexpectedly close race with Trump, was all smiles when he sat down at the table to recap the night’s biggest moments.
As those general-election polls continued to tighten, Mook was sending emails to supporters last week that read “Don’t panic.” That message feels less far-fetched Tuesday morning than it did a day ago. He told the hosts he “doesn’t just want to win by a little,” he wants to “win by a lot,” and that means not getting complacent—hardly the worry it was when Clinton was up significantly in the polls.
Mook received congratulations not only from avowed Clinton supporters like Joy Behar but also from the one conservative at the table, former Fox News contributor Jedediah Bila, who said she thinks Clinton “had a good debate night.” But Bila also wanted to know if Clinton is “ready” to handle some of the questions that simply didn’t come up Monday night, such as those involving the Benghazi attack and the Clinton Foundation.
“I think she’s ready,” Mook said confidently. “We’re happy to talk about foundations,” he said, arguing that while the Clinton initiative has “saved literally 10 million lives around the world” Trump’s was used to fund lawsuits and self-portraits. “The difference is so clear in this,” he added, claiming that everything she did was transparent and above-board. “What was stunning to me last night was, first of all, Donald Trump doubled down on not paying his taxes,” Mook continued. “And then he said that was a smart thing to do!”
In the spin room following the event, Trump implied that he might ask Clinton to address her husband’s infidelities at the next debate. Asked if Clinton was prepared to answer those charges, Mook said, “She’s tough. She’s ready to talk about anything.”
“The pot cannot call the kettle black,” Whoopi Goldberg weighed in, adding that you can’t blame Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton’s actions. “She didn’t transgress. So bringing that up opens up another can of worms that I’m pretty sure you don’t want to open up.” Mook could hardly contain the wide grin spreading across his face.
Another high point for Clinton came at the very end of Monday’s debate when she brought up nasty comments Trump made about former Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado, who has since become a U.S. citizen and is backing the Democratic candidate. Rather than deny the claims, Trump doubled down on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning, defending himself for calling her “Miss Piggy” because “she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.”
“Sadly, we’ve seen this again and again,” Mook said, when asked if this type of behavior still surprises him. “We don’t want our kids seeing their commander in chief and their president insulting women.”
As part of his rebuttal to Clinton on the misogyny charge during the debate, Trump once again brought up his past comments about Rosie O’Donnell, herself a former co-host on The View. “Rosie O’Donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her,” the Republican candidate said from his podium Monday night.
Earlier in the show Tuesday, Behar said she was “offended” by those comments. “It’s so offensive to me to say that I’m going to call you a ‘fat pig’ and you deserve that,” the host said. “It’s an outrageous statement and I don’t understand how any woman can vote for this guy.”
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was originally scheduled to appear on The View last week, but ended up canceling at the last minute. She is now set to sit down with the hosts Thursday morning, but after last night’s debate she may be wishing she had gotten it out of the way when Trump’s star was still on the rise.
Asked by Fox News’s Megyn Kelly to grade the two candidates last night, the best adjective Conway could come up with for her client was “satisfactory.” Even she knows Trump wasn’t “tremendous” this time.