Warren Buffett, Meg Whitman, Mark Cuban For Clinton Is An Effort To Undermine Donald Trump Hillary Clinton has some very rich people supporting her, including Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban and Meg Whitman. The advantages of their support are obvious. There are also some potential downsides.
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Clinton Highlights Billionaires' Support As A Way To Try To Undermine Trump

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Clinton Highlights Billionaires' Support As A Way To Try To Undermine Trump

Clinton Highlights Billionaires' Support As A Way To Try To Undermine Trump

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Hillary Clinton was in the battleground state of Colorado today. She visited a Thai company in Denver and criticized Donald Trump for making some of his clothing in other countries.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: If he wants to make America great again, he should start by making things in America.

MCEVERS: Clinton has been lashing out at Trump's business credentials in other ways, too, including using billionaire supporters to undermine his image as a successful dealmaker.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is the latest on the list. The big-name Republican issued a blistering statement today. She calls Trump a demagogue with reckless and uninformed views and says she'll support Clinton. NPR's Jim Zarroli says the strategy of cozying up to billionaire buddies is not without risk.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Donald Trump has his billionaire friends, too, people like oil magnate Harold Hamm and investor Carl Icahn. But for sheer star power, no one could top the man who appeared onstage with Clinton this week. Warren Buffett mocked Trump for refusing to release his tax returns.

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WARREN BUFFETT: How many of you would be afraid to have your tax return made public?

(LAUGHTER)

BUFFETT: You're only afraid if you've got something to be afraid about (laughter).

(CHEERING)

ZARROLI: As Buffett talked, Clinton sat behind him, beaming. And when she spoke, she lavished praise upon him.

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CLINTON: I call him my friend. He is an American original. I am honored to have his support.

ZARROLI: Buffett has endorsed Democrats before, including President Obama. But the Clinton campaign has used him and other billionaires in a new way - to raise doubts about Trump's business record. A few days earlier, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban appeared at a Clinton rally in Pittsburgh where he scoffed at the idea that Trump knows how to revive the economy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARK CUBAN: I can tell you as an entrepreneur, as an investor, with absolute certainty that companies and jobs - they won't be created by terrifying people. No, Donald Trump, they'll be created by inspiring people like Hillary Clinton does.

(APPLAUSE)

ZARROLI: And Cuban was echoing a theme voiced by mega-billionaire and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg at the Democratic convention, who ridiculed Trump's business career. You may think Trump is rich, the campaign seemed to say, but here's a much richer guy, and he isn't so impressed with him. Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf...

HANK SHEINKOPF: The kind of endorsements from Cuban and Warren Buffett and Mike Bloomberg and others like that are ways of saying Donald Trump is not the businessman he says because if he was, real businessmen would be endorsing him.

ZARROLI: Sheinkopf says the support of the super-rich also scares off potential Republican donors, especially at a time when Trump is struggling to raise money.

SHEINKOPF: If the Koch brothers have already said in public that they're not necessarily going to do a lot for Trump, Republican businesspeople and Chamber of Commerce types are going to look at names like Buffett, Cuban, Bloomberg and others and say, wait a second; what am I investing my money in?

ZARROLI: But Hillary Clinton is a candidate who has had to battle the perception that she's too close to Wall Street, and her past support for trade agreements such as NAFTA has been used against her. Former Republican Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia says appearing alongside billionaires could backfire against her. Davis says this is a change election. The fact that Trump and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders went so much further than anyone expected is evidence of that.

TOM DAVIS: In an election where people think the country's going in the wrong direction, marching out the wealthiest of the wealthy, I don't think that's how you do the message.

ZARROLI: The Buffets and Bloombergs of the world can help undermine Trump's public image as a business wizard, but they are also establishment figures whose support can mark Clinton as a candidate of the status quo. The question is whether that's what voters are looking for. Jim Zarroli, NPR News.

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