Politico: Say, remember when Hillary promised to “do a lot more press”?
Well, Politico’s Dylan Byers has to give Hillary Clinton credit for trying. She did try holding a presser after her Las Vegas campaign event, but it turned out badly — even apart from the all-orange wardrobe choice, given the circumstances:
Is it any wonder that the campaign has not allowed reporters the opportunity to joust with Hillary Clinton, despite her promise in June to be “doing a lot more press” by this point?
In her first and only national interview, more than six weeks ago, Clinton told CNN’s Brianna Keilar: “Obviously I’ll be doing a lot more press.” The only reason she’d been waiting so long, she said, was because she had pledged to spent the first 90 days of her campaign listening to American voters. At the time, a Clinton aide also told the On Media blog that the candidate “looks forward to doing more” national interviews.
The Clinton listening tour officially ended on July 12, and since then the national media has been forced to endure 40 days and 40 nights without the promised interviews. The fast has only contributed to longstanding press frustrations with Clinton’s limited availability. Despite the occasional scrum or press conference, the candidate’s refusal to answer questions from reporters has been a theme of her campaign.
“Clinton has done one national interview since her shift to national interviews. It was over six weeks ago,” Maggie Haberman, the New York Times political reporter, tweeted late Thursday night.
Actually, there have been two interviews with national outlets, as Team Hillary spokesman Brian Fallon pointed out on Twitter. The second took place earlier this month with Univision, which didn’t get much notice from the national press. Univision’s Maria Elena Salinas barely touched on the e-mail scandal, only pressing Hillary on polling that showed voters want it investigated, and never mentions Libya or Benghazi at all. Besides, two interviews in 40 days is hardly “doing a lot more press” with national outlets.
That still didn’t prevent Fallon from picking a fight with Byers on Twitter:
There’s more, so just open the thread and follow along.
There are a few reasons why Hillary would refrain from doing more press. One is that she doesn’t have any real competition for the Democratic nomination; if a real threat emerged, she’d have no choice. Under the current circumstances, why take the risk? Another is that she’s, well, pretty poor at handling the press. Her UN presser in March turned into a fiasco of arrogance and deceit, and this past one was even worse, especially with its hasty retreat under questioning. She does passably well on the stump, at least when refraining from stand-up comedy, but in any kind of neutral or hostile questioning quickly becomes unlikable.
There’s one more reason, too. Her defenses keep changing on the e-mail server story when pressed for explanations, and the investigation creates a risk that these public statements might be used to magnify her legal problems. Under normal circumstances, people linked to a probe of this potential damage would be well advised to keep their mouths shut, but that’s impractical for a presidential aspirant. The next best option is to tightly control the public messaging — and that means reporters won’t get much time with Hillary for the foreseeable future.
Update: I’m pretty sure this doesn’t count:
That’s great for Ellen DeGeneres, but DeGeneres isn’t “press” — she’s entertainment.