“The Clinton campaign seems to be dominated by the same old people,” said William Mayer, a Northeastern University professor who is an expert on presidential campaigns.So, how do we put together these 3 things? 1. surrounding oneself with a tight group of loyalists, 2. having others present a set of options so you can, efficiently, perform the "decider" role, 3. accepting what is.
Having a tight inner circle can cut both ways, Professor Mayer said. With Mr. Bush, he said, “it looked fine to have this group of loyal Texans in there, until his approval ratings went under 40 percent and there were no fresh eyes to see the mistakes.”
Mrs. Clinton, not surprisingly, bristles at such comparisons. She contrasts what she calls the “echo chamber” around the president with her own willingness to expand her own circle, hear disputes and solicit opposing views.
“I’m very interested in how you reach and implement decisions in a very efficient way,” she said.
The people who thrive within Mrs. Clinton’s “process” are those who best provide the currency of choices. “She wants to know, ‘O.K., what are my options here?’” [says Clinton’s campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle]. “She wants a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C. She wants recommendations. Then she’ll make a decision.” She and Mrs. Clinton speak two, three or four times a day, in a kind of shorthand.
Ms. Solis Doyle said she knew intuitively which items required the senator’s attention. When news surfaced of the criminal record of Norman Hsu, a Democratic fund-raiser, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers suggested a range of responses, including defending him, keeping the money he had raised for her campaign, or returning it.
In the end, Mrs. Clinton decided to refund $850,000 in contributions linked to Mr. Hsu.
“Her overriding sentiment was to move on and not get bogged down in the matter,” said a person familiar with the deliberations.
That was a departure from how Mrs. Clinton might have handled a comparable situation in the 1990s, when she might have been more “lawyerly,” dug her heels in and said little — generally her default method of crisis management back then. Today, “it is what it is” has become a favorite phrase of Mrs. Clinton.
It certainly sounds Bush-like. But remember, this is how her people portray her management style, so this is campaign spin. Who knows what she is really like as a "manager"? What have we seen her manage in the real world?
Mrs. Clinton has never led a large enterprise, a point her Republican rival Rudolph W. Giuliani has made in recent days. She has overseen a Senate office (staff of 55), a first lady’s office (staff of 25), an ill-fated “health-care task force” (involving 511 people), a presidential campaign (staff of more than 500) — and attended many, many meetings....It seems we've only seen her manage one thing, and it was a spectacular failure.