Inside The Response To Hillary’s AIDS Gaffe

The Los Angeles Times today declares that most in the LGBT community appear to have forgiven Hillary Clinton for her Reagan/AIDS gaffe, largely thanks to the quickly issued apologies. They report that the scramble to mitigate the damage from the comments began while she was still at Nancy Reagan’s funeral:

The story of how the Clinton camp responded offers insights into an episode that served as a stress test for an operation that has proved far more successful than Clinton’s last presidential bid in 2008. The effort demonstrated both the campaign’s ability to react quickly as well as the value of her deep ties with key parts of the Democratic base.

“I can’t think of a single moment that was as quick and effective as [how] they dealt with the statement surrounding Nancy Reagan,” said Bill Burton, who went toe to toe with Clinton’s campaign in 2008 as a spokesman for then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Dana Perlman, a Los Angeles lawyer who is raising money for Clinton, said he started to get phone calls, emails and text messages rapidly after the Reagan comments. “LGBT voters” – meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – “are a very powerful bloc,” he said. “We go out, we vote, we get engaged.”

Christine Quinn, the first openly gay speaker of the New York City Council, was among the early callers to Lowell, wondering what the campaign was going to do. “I’m on a call figuring this out, I’ll be back in touch,” Lowell told her.

“It was all hands on deck,” said campaign spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa. The response involved some of the campaign’s highest-ranking staff. Maya Harris, a senior policy advisor to Clinton, pitched in. Mook quickly got back in touch with the Human Rights Campaign’s leadership.

Even while Clinton was still at the funeral, campaign aides were gearing up for some sort of correction, said Olivia Dalton, a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign. “It was very clear to me from the first moment we talked that they knew how serious this was,” she said.

The Times notes that even the famously irascible Larry Kramer was satisfied by the second, lengthier apology. Yours truly gets the final word in the above-linked piece.