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

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

He became friends with fitness guru Richard Simmons:

Richard Simmons and the RNC Squirrel

Richard Simmons goes nuts for the RNC

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.”


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.