As Business Insider reported last night, so too have CBS New York, Reuters, and the New York Daily News. Hillary Clinton will announce the official start of her presidential campaign on Sunday — a day when most people are paying no attention to the news. And that’s fine with Hillary, because as the Washington Post’s Dan Balz and Ann Gearan report, they’re not invited anyway.
First, CBS New York posts a reporter outside Hillary HQ in Brooklyn, which is as close as the press will get to Hillary for a while:
An inside source tells NYDN’s Cameron Joseph that Sunday’s the day:
The long wait’s almost over — Hillary Clinton’s official campaign announcement is expected Sunday, a source close to the campaign told the Daily News.
Marco Rubio will have a big, splashy rollout the next day that will eclipse Hillary’s announcement — and as I wrote last night, that’s exactly why Team Hillary picked Sunday night. Gearan and Balz report that not only will Hillary “think small” in terms of her announcement, she’s thinking small in terms of the campaign:
But Hillary Rodham Clinton is going small — real small. When the presumed Democratic front-runner announces her 2016 bid in the coming days, expect a Facebook post, a video, maybe some tweets. Then it’s off on the trail to meet one-on-one and in small groups with voters in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
The approach — described by Democratic strategists and advisers familiar with her plans — is intended to address some of the key shortcomings of Clinton’s 2008 run for the White House, when she often came off as flat and overly scripted before large crowds. The go-slow, go-small strategy, these advisers say, plays to her strengths, allowing her to meet voters in intimate settings where her humor, humility and policy expertise can show through.
What her message to those voters will be is an open question. Many supporters agree she needs a ready answer for why she wants to be president, other than that she thinks she would be good at it.
A Facebook post, a video, and maybe a few tweets? That’s certainly a social-media strategy for a campaign, but not a campaign as a whole. Even the plans for the actual campaigning look excessively modest for a modern presidential campaign — a few one-on-ones, a few small groups. The woman who made a fortune off of giving big speeches at $300,000 a pop suddenly wants the smallest venues possible.
Why? It’s not so much that Hillary comes off “flat and overly scripted before large crowds.” She’s made millions speaking before large crowds. It’s that she can’t keep the press out of large crowds once she starts making those kinds of appearances as a candidate. Her speaking tours forbid press coverage and any videotaping; even the transcripts have to be given to her at the end of the speech. Team Hillary is so afraid of media questioning that they’re scaling down the announcement to duck it.
“Think small,” therefore, is more properly translated as “duck and don’t cover.” Hillary and her team don’t want the press to be able to ask her questions and cover the issues, especially while the Clinton Foundation and e-mail scandals are still percolating, and for good reason. That’s where she comes across as haughty, arrogant, almost imperial, as her press conference last month at the UN demonstrated so clearly. Even when she’s not being pressed on a scandal, Hillary fares poorly under even friendly questioning, which became all too apparent during her book tour a year ago.
The Democrats’ front runner will spend the next few months hiding from the press. It will be interesting to see whether her Democratic opponents in the primary call her out for that strategy — and whether the press will, either.