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Leaked emails show slogans Clinton campaign considered

Center for American Progress Co-founder John Podesta moderates a panel discussion during a conference commemorating the 10th anniversary of the center at the Astor Ballroom of the St. Regis Hotel October 24, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

WikiLeaks’ release of John Podesta’s personal emails shows an email thread among Hillary Clinton’s top aides about her stance on trade -- in particular, on whether to give the president the power to fast-track trade deals and her view of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a massive 12-country trade deal that was to be one of the major priorities of President Obama’s second term.  

Another revelation -- the slogans that might have been if “Stronger Together” hadn’t been selected.

The emails, which were taken by hacking Podesta’s account, have not been authenticated by Podesta or the Clinton campaign.


March 2015: How to handle trade --  “it would be strange for her to oppose fast track” for Obama, said Sullivan

In the weeks before Hillary Clinton announced her presidential candidacy, her aides and advisers wrestled with her stance on trade promotion authority (TPA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The former allows the president to fast-track trade deals through Congress for a yes or no vote, and the latter is the agreement signed by 12 countries to remove most tariffs and encourage trade between these countries. 

In March 2015, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook wrote to Podesta and other advisers and aides about how to handle TPA and TPP -- and he polled them on whether “we think this thing (TPP) is actually going to move -- or can we just hang back?” 

Clinton’s top foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan said in the email thread that “[Clinton] opposed giving fast track to gwb (George W. Bush). She was a big champion for TPP as SecState. To tip my hand, I think it would be strange for her to oppose fast track for potus.” 

Sullivan said that Clinton had concerns about TPP, “but denying potus negotiating authority to finish a deal she has championed? The message of that would be, I thought this was a good idea, but he screwed it up, and so now I don’t trust him enough to bring home a good deal.”

A few months later, in June, Clinton told PBS’s “NewsHour” she would likely have voted “no” on TPA. She added that she was holding out for a for Trade Adjustment Assistance,  a program which aids workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade deals.  Congress passed TPA, and Mr. Obama signed the bill giving him fast-track authority in June. 

And in October, Clinton broke with Mr. Obama on TPP because she said she didn’t believe it would create enough good jobs in the U.S., and she “worried” about two other things -- that it helped drug companies at the expense of patients and that currency manipulation was not part of the agreement. 

Yet, when she was secretary of state, Clinton had referred to TPP as the “gold standard in trade agreements.” By the time she announced her opposition to the deal, she said that the deal didn’t meet her standards.  

The dozen countries that have signed on to TPP have until Feb. 2018 to ratify the agreement, and that will require at least six of the countries producing 85 percent of the economic output of the whole group -- meaning that the U.S. and Japan must ratify it if the deal is to be implemented.


August 2015: What should the campaign slogan be?

According to an August 2015 email sent by Robby Mook to the top staff and advisers in the Clinton campaign, eight themes were proposed: Fairness/families; fighter, basic bargain/making America work; Strength; Results/Count on; In it together; Future/forward; it’s about you.

And each of those themes included a list of slogans, like “America gets strong when you get ahead,” “The ideas we need and the strength to deliver,” “Making America work for you,” “Our families, our future,” “Progress for people,” “Own the future;” “It’s about you. It’s about time;” and “Next begins with you,” among scores of others. 

They eventually settled on “Stronger together.”

CBS News’ Steve Chaggaris and Katiana Krawchenko contributed to this story.