- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Could Hillary Clinton be behind the Democratic House sit-in for gun control?

It’s a legitimate question.

There’s no denying it, earlier on Wednesday rival Donald Trump took direct aim at Mrs. Clinton, detailing her cronyism — from donations made to the Clinton Foundation while she served as secretary of state to her and her husband’s million-dollar paid speeches to Wall Street.

Yet, my inbox sat empty.

No emails from the Clinton camp defending her record, or denigrating his. It was unusual. Where was her adept, snarky and well-staffed rapid-response team?

It appeared like Mr. Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, was going to win the evening news cycle — that is, until House Democrats staged a sit-in to advance their issue of gun control — one of Mrs. Clinton’s signature issues.

Just hours before the sit-in, Mrs. Clinton met with House Dems for the first time since she clinched the presidential nomination from Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders. The Hill reported she entered the meeting to chants of “Hillary, Hillary!” and “the theme of the day was one word — unity, unity and more unity.”

Nothing unifies Democrats like gun control.

It makes you wonder: Was the entire sit-in staged by the Clinton campaign as a way to advance its political agenda, unify the party around her candidacy and steal the news cycle from Mr. Trump at the same time?

If so, it would be a stroke of political genius — and one I wouldn’t put past the Clinton camp. They knew when and where Mr. Trump’s speech was going to be. They knew what it was going to be about: a political referendum on her. And they know they have a winning topic of gun control within their own party — and the mainstream media — because of recent polls and coverage.

And there’s no denying, Rep. John Lewis, who led the sit-in on the House floor, is a personal Clinton ally.

He was described in Politico this year as “Hillary Clinton’s secret weapon.”

After her 2008 defeat, Mr. Lewis — who hails from Georgia (a state she could potentially win) — said he was going to put his pedal to the metal for her this time around. He’s been campaigning with her state-to-state and is working to rally the African-American vote for her.

“You have people who come along from time to time who I call a ‘firecracker.’ A firecracker just shoots off. Others come along who continue to burn, and she’s one of these people who will continue to burn,” Mr. Lewis told Politico before the South Carolina primary. He added he would continue to fight and rally for Mrs. Clinton for as long as there was a campaign.

Whether it was coordinated or not, Mr. Lewis sure helped Mrs. Clinton’s cause on Wednesday.

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