In case you missed it, last Friday the FBI revealed that emails from Huma Abedin are now under investigation in relation to the Clinton email scandal (catch up on the full story here). As the election is only a week away, this last minute “October surprise” has both sides talking.
What’s Being Said
As to be expected, the Republicans, especially Donald Trump, are jumping up and down. Last week a majority of the polls showed that Senator Clinton was ahead by a long shot. However, after this October surprise, according to a poll published by the Washington Post 34% of voters stated they are now less likely to vote for her.
On the other hand, there have been a lot of open accusations surrounding the announcement of this information. A lot of people are criticizing FBI head James Comey for releasing this information without the full story so close to the election.
In what I would consider a good rhetorical strategy, the Clinton campaign has addressed these new email leaks head on. In the past her response to the email scandal has included a lot of avoiding and pivoting from the issue. However, this time she needed to address the new wave of emails more quickly because Election Day is around the corner. Hillary has challenged the FBI to release more information about the investigation. Her reasoning for this is that the emails have not yet been confirmed to contain any incriminating information. By directly calling upon investigators to reveal more information, she has attempted to convince voters that these emails are irrelevant. While it is clear from voter response that her strategy has not been very successful, it was the best political move for her campaign. In one article she is quoted responding to the FBI’s behavior saying:
“It is pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election,” Clinton said, adding, “It’s not just strange, it’s unprecedented and it’s deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts.”
Clinton supporters are also coming forward with similar statements. By directly responding and engaging in response to this issue, she is attempting to rhetorically create an image of innocence and transparency. I think the Clinton campaign has handled this much better than previous situations during this email controversy, although only time will show if her response effectively encourages voters.