Anne Saile is an executive coach for CEOs contemplating big business or personal decisions. Saile, the head of The Saile Group in Ballston Lake and former CEO of Bellevue Woman’s Hospital, essentially guides leaders through transformational changes.
She has advice for Hillary Rodham Clinton as the former first lady, senator and secretary of state seeks the Democratic nomination for president: “Stay focused — and not on nonrelevant issues that will be raised, such as what happened during her husband’s presidency.”
Saile supports Clinton’s candidacy and its potential historical significance if she becomes the first female to receive a major party’s presidential nomination. “She learned a lot the first time she ran for president.”
Meanwhile, local Republican leaders have a tip for whoever comes out of a crowded GOP field with the Republican nomination: Run not only against Clinton, but the legacy of President Barack Obama. After all, it worked for Obama in 2008, many argue, when he leveraged the record of President George W. Bush in running against Sen. John McCain.
Republican candidates “have got to distinguish themselves from the past eight years,” Schenectady County Republican Chairman James Buhrmaster said Monday.
“I consider her as part of the problem. It’s big government, it’s more spending, it’s more regulation,” he said. “They’ve got to move themselves far away from what has been happening in the past, and she is what has been happening in the past.”
Local voices on both sides agree on one thing: It is early — oh, so early.
Clinton’s announced her long-assumed candidacy Sunday in a video released via social media.
She is considered the prohibitive favorite for her party’s nomination for president in 2016 and is its only announced major candidate thus far.
Shenectady City Democratic Chairman Dick Naylor said Clinton was wise to focus on middle-class families in her introductory video, and referenced an internal credo from her husband’s 1992 campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
“It’s always the economy. It’s always the working families, and ‘What am I going to do to help you,’ ” he said. “She has to put out a clear message what her goals and what her themes are to address what she will do for middle-class workers and middle-class families.”
The Republican field features three announced candidates, all senators — Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida — while up to nine others are contemplating runs for the White House, with a certainty that at least some will jump into the fray.
The sheer number of candidates is an advantage for the Republican side, GOP state Sen. Hugh T. Farley of Niskayuna said, a volume that should be promoted regardless the candidate.
“In all my years in public office I’ve never been so excited by the Republican candidates. They are fresh faces,” he said. “People are looking for a fresh face.”
Saratoga County Democratic Chairman Todd Kerner said Clinton should stress her qualifications — and sees no need to run from Obama’s record.
“There is not an issue she doesn’t know,” he said. “And I don’t get the basic philosophy that anybody should be disappointed with Barack Obama. When you see how this country has rebounded and prospered since he took over, she should very much endorse what he was done.”
Whether on the national or local level, Republicans vehemently disagree. While not limiting himself to a particular candidate, Farley said the eventual GOP nominee will be served by linking Clinton to President Obama.
“Hillary has a terrible problem trying to distance herself from Obama,” Farley said. “It will be difficult for his secretary of state to distance herself.”
Michael Brockbank, treasurer of the Schenectady City Republican Committee, was one GOP official willing to back a particular candidate this early in the process. He’d like to see Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (who has yet to officially announce) at the top of the ticket, with Rubio as his running mate. But where he falls into line with other local leaders is that Obama should be figuratively on the ballot.
“Having Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate gives the American people a clear choice,” Brockbank said. “It will be hard for the Democrats to deny the Democratic legacy.”
Again, it’s way early. And Clinton is not even guaranteed to be the Democratic candidate.
In one summer of 2007 poll, Obama trailed the Democratic frontrunner by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio.
The frontrunner? Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Reach Gazette reporter Mark McGuire at 395-3105, [email protected] or @MJMcGuire on Twitter.