Hillary Clinton To Unveil Path To Citizenship Immigration Plan
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Immigration is the key topic for Hillary Clinton today, and it's the purpose for her visit to Las Vegas. She visited Rancho High School where 70 percent of the student body is Hispanic. She called for a path to citizenship for the 12 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
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HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: It is at heart a family issue, and if we claim that we are for families, we have to pull together and resolve the outstanding issues around our broken immigration system.
BLOCK: Clinton made her pitch on the same day the book "Clinton Cash" hit stores. It raises questions about foreign donors to the Clinton Foundation. NPR's Tamara Keith is in Las Vegas, and she joins me now. And, Tamara, what's the dynamic here for the Clinton campaign on the question of immigration?
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: The Latino vote is critical to the Democratic coalition, and in particular, in Nevada, an energized Hispanic electorate can be the difference between winning and losing for Democrats. And Clinton's team sees immigration as a wedge issue. Republicans are running in primaries where they will likely take positions on immigration that many Latino voters will disagree with. Think Mitt Romney's self-deportation comments in 2012. And what Clinton is trying to do here is draw a contrast between herself and Republican candidates, many of whom do not support a path to citizenship. She's not going out on a limb in terms of Democratic voters, but it also sends a signal to the Latino activists that she's on their team on this one.
BLOCK: Now, I also mentioned the book that comes out today, "Clinton Cash." It's been raising a lot of uncomfortable questions for both Hillary Clinton and former President Clinton. How are they - how are they responding to that?
KEITH: Bill Clinton did an interview from Africa where he was doing foundation work with NBC, and he described the book as basically a political hit job. He said that the foundation never did anything knowingly inappropriate, and he touted the transparency of the foundation. But then he also said that he feels like the Clintons are held to a different set of rules - that are rules for the Clintons and there are rules for other people, and that they are held to a higher standard. Now, lots of people out there believe that the Clintons play by their own rules, so this was seen as somewhat tone deaf. He also said that he wasn't planning to stop giving these big speeches where he's paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single speech because he, quote, "has to pay the bills."
BLOCK: So Bill Clinton pushing back about allegations about the foundation. What about the Clinton campaign, Hillary Clinton's campaign?
KEITH: They've launched something called The Briefing, and they're describing it as your go-to source for the facts you need to set the story straight. They just announced it today. You know, in 1992, the Bill Clinton campaign had a war room, and they really innovated this concept of political rapid response. Now Hillary Clinton's campaign is doing something very similar, though with all of the modern technology of Internet videos and web posts and Twitter. Here's Brian Fallon, who's a press secretary for the campaign, in a web video they put out today about that "Clinton Cash" book.
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BRIAN FALLON: It's full of sloppy research and attacks pulled out of thin air with no actual evidence and it's missing the most important thing of all - facts. Let's just take a look at a few of the craziest conspiracy theories.
KEITH: And that term conspiracy theories, you know, that is sort of an echo to Hillary Clinton's line about the vast right-wing conspiracy. And I think that they are planning to try to downplay any criticism of Clinton or the Clinton Foundation as part of conspiracy theories.
BLOCK: At the same time, Tamara, there's now word this week that Hillary Clinton has agreed to testify before a House committee. She's going to be testifying about the Benghazi attack when she was secretary of state, also about her private email server. So questions about things other than the campaign will continue to swirl around her.
KEITH: A good friend of hers recently told me that Hillary Clinton has a remarkable ability to compartmentalize, and I think that that's exactly what the campaign is trying to do here. They want to as much as possible let the candidate be the candidate while at the same time, not letting any attack go unanswered.
BLOCK: OK, NPR's Tamara Keith following the Clinton campaign in Nevada. Tamara, thanks.
KEITH: You're welcome.
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