Did Hillary Clinton Hire Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe of Texts from Hillary?

11 Apr

Why is no one asking if Hillary’s communications team hired Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe?

The two are “communications professionals” in Washington, DC. They create Texts from Hillary, which goes viral and gives her an incredible visibility boost. Articles are written, including one in the NYT by Maureen Dowd, about how they’re helping her reputation and boosting her popularity. Other news sources that get in on it: The Washington Post, Yahoo News, ABC Nightly News (they thanked Diane Sawyer in their twitter feed), The Today Show, Time.com (the original photo appeared in Time Magazine, back in November 2011), The Los Angeles Times. Smith and Lambe were subsequently invited to the State Department, met with Secretary Clinton personally, and now have quit the meme that made them famous.

Here’s the timeline:

On April 4th the tumblr goes up.

By April 10th Secretary Clinton sends her own meme submission, in which she texts the founders of the tumblr.

Also on April 10th, Smith and Lambe meet Secretary Clinton at the State Department. They post a picture of themselves with Secretary Clinton on the tumblr, all 3 holding their phones, as evidence that the submission was, in fact, from her (or at least from her team). They also post on Twitter: “We just met with the Secretary. She was gracious, funny, and you will love one of the pics.” At the meeting, they’re each given a signed hard copy of her meme submission— the inscription in the picture they post (to Twitter, first, now also at The Huffington Post) reads, Adam–thanks for the many lolz. Hillary “Hillz”

Secretary Clinton with Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe-- (from Texts with Hillary Clinton)

On April 11th, Smith and Lambe announce on Texts from Hillary that “we think it’s time to stop while we are ahead” and that “when you get to text with her in real life– it’s just over. At least for us.”

All well and good. But why is no one asking if they’ve been hired onto Hillary’s team?

It would certainly explain their desire to control the meme (at least insofar as their endorsement of it) while they still have her approval. It would explain the State Department invitation, the lack of any image-creation once they’d met Madam Secretary in person, the speedy announcement in carefully worded language that they’re leaving the Tumblr behind (but not taking it down).

It makes sense that Hillary would want to align herself with the meme, obviously, given its nothing-but-positive impact. But doesn’t her submission do that? Wouldn’t a quote do that? An answer to a question from a reporter? Why meet with them in person? Why not just email them? Why did– as the Huffington Post article claimsshe ask for the picture of the three of them?

Ok– sure. She wants it to be clear that we all know she’s in on the joke. She knows it can only benefit her to laugh with us, and to make sure we hear (see) her doing it.

But why take the tumblr down? As Maureen Dowd points out, Hillary Clinton, in the past, “had a paranoid relationship with the press and an antiquated take on technology.” Is it so hard to believe that Hillary, while appreciating the joke, would also want to control how far it goes?

And sure, Smith and Lambe are fans. Sure, they’re busy professionals with other things to do. Maybe they decided to quit while they were ahead because they hate how long memes last and didn’t want to outstay their welcome, particularly because they do, essentially, work in the industry. Maybe Secretary Clinton asked them to get ahead of it before it spun somewhere unintentional and they did it because they like her so much.

But we all know the only real way to control information is to buy it. So, Smith and Lambe: what’s next for you?

And does this mean she’s running in 2016?


UPDATE 4/11 6:39 pm: from Twitter:

“Stacy Lambe (@sllambe) 4/11/12 6:39 PM
On the train to NYC with @asmith83. Why? You’ll have to check out CNN in the morning. :)”

…either CNN hired them, which seems unlikely, or…

UPDATE 4/12 9:07 am: CNN interviewed Lambe and Smith this morning. They talked with Soledad O’Brien about their favorites of the meme, what inspired them to create it (the picture and a night in the bar) and what meeting Secretary Clinton was like. Basically what we already knew. 

(I regret nothing.) (And I still think we might hear in the future that these two have moved on from their current positions.) (And still– I have seen no one ask them if she hired them.) (She should. Did you see that submission she sent to Texts from Hillary? It wasn’t as funny. Clearly her team does not, in fact, understand the Internet, at least not as well as these two. That’s ok: last I heard politics was still mostly a pen-and-paper sort of job, a face-to-face thing, not dependent on viral videos. And most politicians are dealing with other people of their same generation. Campaigns, now. Campaigns are a different story. That’s why you hire people. You hire the people who get it right.) (Going viral is tricky– it’s not really something you can recreate just because you want to. But these guys have shown savvy in how they represent her, specifically, and they understand brevity and the power of a good image. They didn’t throw up any submission that was sent to them– they mostly stuck to the ones they created, because they were the strongest, editorially– if you look at twitter you can see there were many, many more. So they’ve got a tight sense of quality control and what that affords. And look how dapper they look on CNN! That pocket square! Those glasses! Somebody give these guys something to do.)


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