Bill Clinton: Donald Trump Is ‘Master Brander’ in Crowded Field

The ex-president points to the real estate mogul's ability to put a personal stamp on his message in a crowded field of Republican hopefuls.

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Former President Bill Clinton attends the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting on Sept. 27, 2015, in New York City.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Billionaire Donald Trump is a “master brander,” former President Bill Clinton said Thursday during an interview set to air Sunday on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS.

Asked to explain Trump's success among Republicans heading into the 2016 primary season, Clinton pointed to the real estate mogul's ability to put a personal stamp on his message in a crowded field of Republican hopefuls. “He’s got a lot of pizzazz and zip,” said Clinton. “He’s branded himself in a clear way, and he’s generated some excitement.” 

Trump has also appealed to working-class Americans who left the Democratic party for “cultural reasons” by saying he will raise incomes and build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico to stem the flow of immigrants, Clinton said. “Now, that will all have to be fleshed out in the course of time,” he said. “And I'm sure the other future debates will do it.”

Asked if Trump could win the Republican nomination, Clinton said, “I think so,” before adding that he's been out of politics for several years. “I mean, how do I know? I don't understand any of it very well. ... I'm not the best pundit anymore,” Clinton said. 

The CNN interview also touched on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, dogged for months by questions about her use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state in President Barack Obama's first administration. Her husband compared the e-mail investigation to the 1990s Whitewater controversy. 

“There are lots of people who wanted there to be a race, for different reasons,” Clinton said of the process to choose a Democratic nominee in 2016. “And they thought the only way they could make it a race was a full-scale frontal assault on her.” 

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