David Knowles
Apr 24, 2015 – 2:00 AM PDT

How Hillary Clinton’s new campaign reacted to a brutal morning in the press.

To run the risk of understatement, Thursday did not begin well for the Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential campaign.

A slew of negative stories raised yet more questions over donations to the Clinton Foundation and hefty speaking fees paid to Bill Clinton during his wife’s tenure as secretary of state, a steady rumbling that could prove detrimental to her presidential aspirations, and a rumbling resulting from the impending release of Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, by Peter Schweizer. None of Thursday’s stories were more damning than the New York Times’ long, independently-sourced report on the sale of a uranium mining company with holdings in the United States to Rosatom, the Russian nuclear agency. As the Times put it:

“As Russian gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.”

First, the Clinton camp responded by focusing on the conservative author of Clinton Cash, dismissing the Times article as a “smear project.” Hours later, however, Clinton’s new press secretary, Brian Fallon, had composed a point-by-point refutation of many of the claims put forth and posted it to Medium. With All Due Respect host Mark Halperin took note of Fallon’s rapid-response effort.

“Most valuable player for the Clinton campaign today is this guy Brian Fallon who put out a document in the middle of the day with some really strong rebuttal points,” Halperin said. “It doesn’t defuse the thing completely, but if they can reply substantively, they can put this story away to a much greater degree than it was at 6 a.m. this morning.”

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