Kim Campbell: Clinton 'will do it' if given the chance
Published Friday, July 29, 2016 8:59PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 29, 2016 11:56PM EDT
Canada’s first and only female prime minister says Hillary Clinton has what it takes to be U.S. president and that Americans will like her better once they get to know her more.
Kim Campbell told CTV News Channel that "if (Clinton) has a chance to do it, she will do it -- I think she will surprise Americans."
Pundits have suggested Clinton has a likeability problem, pointing to polls like one from the New York Times/CBS News, in which 60 per cent of respondents said they didn’t share Clinton’s values and 64 per cent agreed she was not trustworthy.
Nikki Gutgold, a Clinton biographer, said the Democratic nominee’s acceptance speech Thursday night focused on overcoming that problem. She told CTV News Channel the speech showed a "personal, softer side of Hillary Clinton that she has struggled to get out to the American people."
Campbell said Clinton is known to be warm and compassionate on a one-to-one basis, although "the ability to translate that in public discourse is something that has eluded her."
Campbell said it’s "harder for women" to be accepted as leaders when they speak.
"If you’re strong you’re seen as shrill," she said. "If you’re quiet and soft you’re seen as not forceful enough," she added. "So it’s really hard to find your voice."
Adding to Clinton’s challenge is the fact that U.S. political parties have become extremely polarized, "which means that the kind of rhetoric tends to be much more extreme in the public arena than it is necessarily in … private discourse."
As a senator, Clinton "really demonstrated an ability to work across party lines," said Campbell. "She was smart enough to be able to find the Republicans who cared strongly about the issues she wanted to work on."
Campbell added that she is amazed by Clinton’s stamina and her ability to "keep cool."
"This will be very interesting with Donald Trump, who is not very good at keeping his cool when he is provoked," she said. "I don’t think Donald Trump will ever get under her skin but she’ll drive him bonkers and it will be fun to watch."
A Progressive Conservative, Campbell took over as prime minister Brian Mulroney in June, 1993. She lost the election to Liberal Jean Chretien later that year. She is Founding Principal of Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta.