Will Hillary Clinton's 'basket of deplorables' comment be a costly gaffe?

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Before Hillary Clinton's health captured the media's attention Sunday, the Democratic nominee made headlines Friday night for her controversial statement that "half of Donald Trump's supporters" constitute "a basket of deplorables." Speaking at a New York fundraiser that was open to the press, Clinton told the crowd, "You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it." She later conceded "regret" for referring to "half" of the Republican nominee's base. However, Trump is seeking to maintain the uproar over the comment, which he called a worse version of Mitt Romney's slight of "47 percent" of voters, and has already begun using it against Clinton in ads.

SEE ALSO: Did Hillary Clinton use a body double after falling ill at 9/11 memorial appearance?

Recognizing the anger over Clinton's statement, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey writes, "This sneering, condescending, and insulting stereotyping of millions of voters perfectly encapsulates the Clintonian quarter-century, especially with their above-the-law antics since leaving the White House. And that's why most candidates stick to insulting each other, and not voters." Morrissey expresses doubt that Clinton's gaffe will receive the same level of media focus as Romney's did in 2012 and thus encourages Trump to be deft about using "the biggest gift basket Team Hillary will provide Republicans in 2016."

Greg Sargent at The Washington Post acknowledges that Clinton "overgeneralized" with her "half" categorization but argues that her criticism of Trump's style of voter outreach was deserved. "[T]he underlying argument here – that Trump is running a bigoted campaign that tries to prey on legitimate grievances and bigotry alike by scapegoating minority groups – is inarguable, and the reality it identifies is far worse than Clinton's broad-brush overreach was. If anything, 'deplorable' is too mild a word for it," says Sargent.

RELATED: Clinton overheats at 9/11 event with pneumonia

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Democratic presidental nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives with an unidentified woman at the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on September 11, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton left a September 11 Commemoration Ceremony early after feeling overheated and went to her daughter's house to rest. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leaves a memorial service at the National 9/11 Memorial September 11, 2016 in New York. The United States on Sunday commemorated the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (R) and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer attend ceremonies to mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, New York, United States September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Democratic presidental nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on September 11, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump attended the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attends ceremonies to mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, New York, United States September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leaves ceremonies marking the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, New York, United States September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives for ceremonies to mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, New York, United States September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (R) attend ceremonies to mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, New York, United States September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (R) and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer attend ceremonies to mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, New York, United States September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leaves a memorial service at the National 9/11 Memorial September 11, 2016 in New York. The United States on Sunday commemorated the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Democratic presidental nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) attends the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony with New York city mayor Bill de Blasio (R) and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (L) at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on September 11, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump attended the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives to attend a ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial, in New York, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Democratic presidental nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves the home of her daughter Chelsea Clinton on September 11, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton left a September 11 Commemoration Ceremony early after feeling overheated and went to her daughter's house to rest. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leaves her daughter's apartment building after resting on September 11, 2016 in New York. Clinton departed from a remembrance ceremony on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks after feeling 'overheated,' but was later doing 'much better,' her campaign said. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leaves her daughter Chelsea's home in New York, New York, United States September 11, 2016, after Clinton left ceremonies commemorating the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks feeling "overheated." REUTERS/Brian Snyder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leaves ceremonies marking the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York, New York, United States September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Democratic presidental nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on September 11, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump attended the September 11 Commemoration Ceremony. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Similarly, John Cassidy of The New Yorker classifies Clinton's "half" remark as a legitimate gaffe but thinks that it also fits into her strategy of winning over voters who are suspect of Trump's divisive rhetoric. He observes, "Instead of seeking to shift attention to other subjects, like Clinton's policy initiatives, her campaign appears keen to keep the focus on Trump's links to extremist and conspiratorial groups, even if that also helps keep the 'basket of deplorables' story in the news."

Brian Beutler, writing for New Republic, argues that Clinton, despite stirring controversy, sent an important message to "anti-Trump conservatives" that they must address "the extent of racism in society" in order defeat the businessman and take back their party from him.

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