Here’s Why the RNC’s Anti-Hillary Clinton Campaign Involves an Orange Squirrel Suit

Never let a good furry costume go to waste.

Patrick Caldwell/Mother Jones

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On Friday, the Republican National Committee unveiled its latest tactic to tear down Hillary Clinton’s would-be presidential campaign: an intern in a giant orange squirrel suit. The concept behind the attack requires some mental gymnastics to grasp. See, Republicans find it crazy that Democrats have latched onto Clinton as their 2016 standard bearer, so the squirrel’s tagline is “Another Clinton in the White House is Nuts.” When the squirrel wandered around outside a Clinton event in DC last Friday, its message wasn’t readily apparent; most Hillary devotees offered it high-fives before they noticed that the furry mascot was a GOP project.

So why a squirrel? Consider it a money-saving move on the GOP’s part. This isn’t the first time the party has used this particular squirrel suit. Back in 2008, the GOP introduced it as part of a campaign against ACORN, the voter registration group that would eventually close after a conservative backlash. The squirrel traveled the country that fall protesting ACORN. The RNC even gave the squirrel its own WordPress blog. “We are a group of concerned squirrels traveling around the country in an effort to highlight Barack Obama’s relationship with ACORN,” the About page said.

RNC Squirrel

The squirrel visiting Times Square in his ACORN incarnation AcornsDontFallFarFromTheTree.wordpress.com/

He became friends with fitness guru Richard Simmons:

Richard Simmons and the RNC Squirrel

Richard Simmons goes nuts for the RNC AcornsDontFallFarFromTheTree.wordpress.com/

The ACORN squirrel speaks:

Ultimately, the squirrel failed at its mission: Obama won the 2008 election despite the ACORN controversy. Since then, the suit has lingered unused at RNC offices. Why revive it this year? Kristen Kukowski, press secretary at the RNC, told Mother Jones over e-mail, “What can I say? We believe in recycling.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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