Hillary Clinton is campaigning in New York this week and Thursday morning she decided to do a campaign stunt in which she would ride the NYC subway to show that she’s still a regular person. Keep in mind this is someone who has not driven a car in years, possibly decades. Hillary rides in the back of private jets or limos or specially rented Scooby-vans surrounded by a team of highly-paid handlers and secret service protection. But, again, the plan was to generate stories and images showing Hillary as a regular New Yorker. The ideal story coming out of this stunt would open: “Hillary is one of us.”
You may have heard by now that things didn’t go smoothly. Here’s video of Hillary having a difficult time with the subway turnstile. If you look a couple rows over that appears to be Huma Abedin trying to help her boss deal with the technology:
Just like George H.W. Bush baffled by a checkout scanner, except not mythical.https://t.co/Qslc29cWkw
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) April 7, 2016
Obviously, Hillary is not the first person to ever have this happen, though five attempts seems a bit much. The point here is that Hillary is posing for the cameras. So if things don’t go well and she winds up looking a bit silly, well, the story ought to be your bungled PR attempt.
Fortunately, the media is ready to spin any potential embarrassment on Hillary’s behalf. For instance, here’s Politico Vox-splaining how struggling to get on the subway like a fresh-faced noob makes Clinton just like everyone else:
Hillary Clinton is just your average person — she can’t get those flimsy New York subway cards to work.
The former secretary of state was campaigning in New York City on Thursday when she rode the subway, but things did not go as smoothly as she probably hoped: It took her five tries to get the card to register.
Clinton, however, was undeterred, and she eventually made it through the entrance.
At least Politico mentioned the embarrassing turnstile problem in its headline and lede. ABC News simply gave Clinton the story she wanted:
Hillary Clinton was just like us today.
The Democratic presidential candidate took a short ride on the New York City subway this morning, where she rode the No. 4 train in the Bronx one stop: From Yankee Stadium at 167th street up to 170th street.
She then made her way to Munch Time, a diner in the Bronx.
Clinton’s Metrocard didn’t work at first when she tried to enter through the turnstile. But after swiping it a few times, she eventually got through.
So Clinton tries to create some regular person buzz and, despite looking not especially normal or at ease, gets exactly the coverage she wanted. Does anyone think the media would be this gracious if Donald Trump got stuck in a subway turnstile during a PR ride? Would Politico publish a lede that read, “Ted Cruz is just your average person– he can’t get those flimsy New York subway cards to work” if Cruz had been the one whose regular-person gimmick went south?