Quotes of the day
Mrs. Clinton will head to Iowa and New Hampshire this week to focus on small businesses, her busiest stretch since she declared her candidacy last month. Whether she begins engaging with the news media again remains to be seen.
She has gone more than three weeks without taking questions from reporters, a fact highlighted by the multiple media availabilities and interviews many of her Democratic and Republican rivals gave in the last week alone. She still hasn’t faced questions about her family’s foundation, or the $25 million she and her husband have made on paid speeches since January 2014…
Mrs. Clinton, who has campaigned lightly in what aides have called a “slow ramp-up,” can’t afford to appear as if she is taking things for granted. And she has historically needed a long runway in her campaigns, but the longer she goes without taking reporters’ questions, the less recovery time she has from any mistakes.
After almost one month of avoiding the press entirely, to the point that major publications have taken to openly shaming her, 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton took a handful of questions Tuesday.
The Q&A — her first in 28 days — followed a meeting in Cedar Rapids, IA on small businesses, which was interrupted by a question from Fox’s Ed Henry on why Clinton won’t take questions.
By our count, from our Clinton clock, it had been 40,150 minutes — nearly a full month — since Clinton last answered a question from WMUR-TV in New Hampshire. But today, the clock has been reset.
The vast majority of the people who have asked Clinton questions in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada were part of a pre-selected group who sat with her around a roundtable. That’s not exactly like hosting a town hall event in which none of the questions are pre-screened. And if you look at the questions “regular” people are asking Clinton, they are not exactly the most probing of queries. A sampling: “I’m just wondering, what can you do to bring that heart back to education in the United States?” (Iowa), “What are your plans to help my community and help us not live in fear anymore?” (Nevada) and “I would like you to elaborate on what you think you might do for childcare in the future if you’re elected?” (New Hampshire) None of those questions are bad, per se, but they also aren’t pushing Clinton in any way, shape or form on any issue…
To all of which, I respond: Do you not think it is of value to know how Hillary Clinton spent her time since leaving the State Department? And how the Clinton Foundation handled its business with various donors who would, undoubtedly, still be in the picture if she was elected president? Or what she thinks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the fight currently happening in Congress? Or Iran? Or the Middle East?
You get the idea. The role of the media in this process is to show voters who these people are, really, and to explain how these people would govern the country if elected. Like the media or not, that’s a very important role — and one that is essential to a functioning democracy.
In the aftermath of the Iraq mistakes, Bush has taken to mentioning Clinton at events. “I asked someone to kind of add up the questions that I’ve been asked by people who can ask whatever they want, and of course the press that follows me around from time to time,” Bush said at a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa over the weekend. “And we’re probably around 800 to 900 questions asked and hopefully answered.”
“Just as an aside,” Bush added, “Hillary Clinton has been a presidential candidate for a month maybe, and she’s had 13 questions asked by the press.”
As the Iraq controversy built, Bush aides increasingly focused on Clinton and the contrast between her reclusiveness and Bush’s openness. “It continues to be interesting, the extent to which every single verb, noun, adverb, and adjective that he utters is psychoanalyzed,” one Bush aide said of the former Florida governor. “There’s clearly a different standard from Hillary Clinton. It’s remarkable how little she has engaged with the public and the press since she became a candidate.”
“Yes, he is held to a different standard,” the aide continued. “And that’s okay. But it’s stunning that she is allowed to evade the press and evade the public in the way that she is being allowed.”
Here are a few questions reporters might want to ask the next time she decides to give her prospective subjects an opportunity to get unscripted answers from her…
4. Do you think that you were misled when you voted to authorize military force in Iraq in 2002? If so, by whom?…
6. What in your view has the U.S. intervention in Libya achieved?
7. The New York Times reported last year that you “seemed flustered” and gave a “halting answer” when asked for your greatest accomplishment as secretary of state. You eventually said that “we really restored American leadership in the best sense.” Could you elaborate on what specific accomplishments you had?…
16. Does a candidate’s willingness to regularly answer questions from reporters tell us something about her attitude toward democracy?
I believe the public has a right to know whether any of the deleted email involved correspondence about the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation or its donors. I believe she’s getting bad advice: The hide-and-attack tactics of the 1990s won’t work as well—if at all—in a post-Internet era that honors transparency, authenticity, and accountability.
I believe she wants us to take her at her word, but we can’t—not even those people like me who’ve known the Clintons long enough to respect their service and appreciate their many virtues. It hurts to witness the self-inflicted wounds and hemorrhaging of her credibility. But this is no time for sentimentality.
Blind faith doesn’t get you elected president.
Tuesday on MSNBC’s “The Rundown With José Díaz-Balart,” host José Díaz-Balart discussed the concern from some media outlets over 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s refusal to take on the press.
He asked, “How much is this just the press just whining? Does the rest of America really care that she has answered nine questions or 12 or 50 or 100, does that really matter?”
The senior politics editor for The Daily Beast. Jackie Kucinich agreed saying, “I don’t really think America’s paying attention yet to the fact we aren’t getting our questions answered. I just don’t know if they care at this point. The danger, though, is Hillary Clinton is not known to be the best person on her feet with questions. So if she does have a misstep further down the line when she is answering questions, there will be less time to recover.”
Political reporters: You have no guaranteed “role.” That’s a fiction you and your colleagues created to keep the game the same every four years so you don’t have to go to school on how to be useful and powerful in the election system as it evolves. The fiction works if you can get the right people to believe it, but when they clearly don’t care about your “role in the process” how are you going to make ’em care? Got a plan for that?
I doubt it…
Look: I think candidates should engage with the press and answer tough questions, reducing the importance of any single encounter with journalists by having lots of them. The fact that they increasingly don’t is partly a sign of the news media’s diminished hold on the audience and partly a sign of weak and overly cautious candidates intimidated by a staff that preserves its own power by controlling access and message. A more freewheeling style might serve some candidates equally well, but the handlers would become less important that way so they argue against it. Shutting off almost all access has become the accepted way to win. It is not necessarily a better way to win, but it is far better for a risk-adverse staff, and consultants who make money off advertising. It also persuades weak candidates that they’re fine as they are. Of course none of that matters, because timid candidates, controlling staff and an over-the-top messaging system is what we have.
Nothing about the political press makes it an inherent “part of the process.” The sooner that fiction is abandoned the better off producers of campaign coverage will be. You have to compete. Or as Jack Nicholson says in The Departed: “No one gives it to you. You have to take it.”
You have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the Clinton media operation here. They know that their candidate is unlikable, that she has no charisma, and no ability to connect on a personal level with most voters. They know she is grating. They know she is no Bill Clinton. What she lacks in raw political ability she makes up for with raw political ambition. It is that animation, that desire for political power, that keeps the Hillary engine running, day after day. The Clinton operation knows this, and it’s why the campaign is so desperate to protect her from scrutiny and to avoid any and all opportunities for unscripted conversation…
Hillary desperately needs coverage of her painfully scripted and obviously inauthentic campaign events with the kinds of normal people she goes out of her way to avoid when not seeking office. She knows that America wants to see a friendly grandmother, not a conniving, corrupt, cynical career cuckquean trying to claw her way into office. That image can only be portrayed via coverage of her official campaign events. So if reporters and their news bureaus and TV networks want her to start answering questions, they should institute an immediate blackout of all her campaign events…
It wouldn’t take long. Maybe a few days. But by blacking out coverage of her campaign and replacing it with coverage of the myriad ongoing Clinton cash and corruption scandals, the Hillary campaign would quickly change its tune. Getting deprived of positive media oxygen is one thing. Having that oxygen used to fan the flames of scandal night after night is another thing entirely. Her campaign couldn’t survive a month with that kind of coverage, let alone another year and a half.
Snoop Dogg is high on Hillary Clinton.
The “Gin & Juice“ rapper said he’ll be supporting the former secretary of State and Democratic candidate in her 2016 White House bid.
“You know I like to be politically correct, but sometimes I’m politically incorrect,” Snoop Dogg said when asked about his political pick on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” on Sunday. “But I’ll say that I would love to see a woman in office because I feel like we’re at that stage in life to where we need a perspective other than the male’s train of thought.”
Via the Free Beacon.