ABC News published an article Friday featuring leaked emails from top Democratic operatives Marlon Marshall and Robby Mook, who repeatedly referred to themselves as a “mafia” and made provocative comments about Republicans. Afterwards, two of their former colleagues spoke to Business Insider about what they called a “backhanded” and “petty” leak.
Both Mook and Marshall are widely seen as top candidates to manage Hillary Clinton’s potential 2016 White House bid. The operatives who spoke to Business Insider characterised the leaks as an attempt to sabotage them in the Clinton campaign sweepstakes.
“The fact that someone is pushing these private emails just highlights how seriously folks are taking the rumours that Robby and Marlon could occupy top-level positions in a Clinton campaign,” Lynda Tran, a partner at 270 Strategies, a consulting firm Marshall co-founded, told Business Insider.
In addition to his work at 270 Strategies, Marshall was deputy national field director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign. In 2008, he worked for Obama’s campaign in Missouri. Before working with Obama, he was field director for Clinton’s unsuccessful 208 presidential bid in Nevada, Indiana, and Ohio.
Mook worked as state directors in the same three states for Clinton in 2008. He went on to manage the campaign of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that year before joining the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Vietor argued both Marshall and Mook have an “outstanding reputation” that would not be tainted by the email leak.
“This is a story that Washington will forget about in about 12 hours and it will never be thought of again,” Vietor said. “It’s like a bogus little attempt to embarrass these guys. It’s not going to work, they have an outstanding reputation.”
He went on to describe the leak as “a petty and transparent attempt to try to embarrass them” in some way that “says more about the person who leaked it than it.”
“They spoke casually on an email chain,” said Vietor. “Who doesn’t?”
Tran also argued the emails, which were sent out to a group of political operatives over the course of a few years, showed Mook and Marshall’s strengths.
“On one hand, it’s a shame that anyone would think it appropriate to publicize messages that were clearly intended for a friendly, informal audience — and you have to take anything excerpted from years worth of emails with a grain of salt,” said Tran. “But it’s also a backhanded way of showcasing their talents, as the messages show both Robby and Marlon have consistently inspired campaign staffers from across the country to stay involved, keep organising, and help ensure voters make their voices heard. That they were able to unite and motivate organisers for years on end to commit to the sometimes thankless work of political campaigns is arguably one of the strongest arguments for putting them at the top of any presidential effort.”
Vietor echoed Tran’s assessment that the emails demonstrated Marshall and Mook’s ability to lead other operatives.
“They clearly were joking around to kind of inspire and motivate their troops to work hard,” he said. “I hope they keep doing it.”
Neither Mook or Marshall responded to a request for comment from Business Insider.
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