Hillary Clinton has been an official candidate for the presidency of the United States for 16 days. Over that span, according National Journal’s tally, she has answered precisely seven questions from the media. Total. Pay special attention to her “answers:”
Question 1: “Secretary Clinton, your reaction please to these book allegations? Did foreign entities receive any special treatment for making any kind of donations to the foundation or your husband?” — ABC in Keene, New Hampshire, on April 20
Clinton: “Well, we’re back into the political season, and therefore we will be subjected to all kinds of distraction and attacks. And I’m ready for that. I know that that comes unfortunately with the territory. It is, I think, worth noting that the Republicans seem to be talking only about me. I don’t know what they’d talk about if I weren’t in the race. But I am in the race, and hopefully we’ll get on to the issues, and I look forward to that.”
Question 2: “…Regarding the play for pay allegations in the latest book, emails back in 2012.”— WMUR, a local ABC affiliate in New Hampshire
Clinton: “You know, those issues are, in my view, distractions from what this campaign should be about, what I’m going to make this campaign about, and I’ll let other people decide what they want to talk about. I’m going to talk about what’s happening in the lives of the people of New Hampshire and across America. Thank you, all.”
Question 3: WMUR also asked Clinton about her early preference for small-group meetings.
Clinton: WMUR reported that she responded: “I wasn’t aware of the depth of feeling people had about the substance abuse issues. So here again I heard it in New Hampshire. So I want people to know that I’m listening, and I’m accessible, and I’m running a campaign that is about now, that is about the needs of the people of New Hampshire. That’s the kind of campaign I want to run. And I’m excited to be back here.”
Question 4: An MSNBC reporter asked Clinton April 21 whether she had concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement the Obama administration is in the process of negotiating.
Clinton: According to CBS: “Any trade deal has to produce jobs and raise wages and increase prosperity and protect our security. We have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and the skills to be competitive. … It’s got to be really a partnership between our business, our government, our workforce, the intellectual property that comes out of our universities, and we have to get back to a much more focused effort in my opinion to try to produce those capacities here at home so that we can be competitive in a global economy.”
Question 5: In an interview for print (no transcript has been made available), The Washington Post apparently asked a question about “her campaign finance agenda” on April 14.
Clinton: “We do have a plan. We have a plan for my plan. … I’m going to be rolling out a lot of my policies. … Stay tuned.”
Question 6: Also from the Post, when asked about the role of Priorities USA Action will play in the 2016 election
Clinton: “I don’t know.”
Question 7 is a bit of a mystery. According to an April 14 pool report from the Quad-City Times, an unidentified “television reporter” asked Clinton if she’d learned anything from her 2008 campaign. Clinton apparently responded to the question, but thus far, her response has stayed between the two.
To the assembled crowd, Clinton said: “We’ll have lots of time to talk later.“
Being as generous as possible, I count two quasi-substantive responses — to questions three and four (again, I’m applying an extremely loose definition of “substantive” here). Everything else is either a “distraction” deflection, an “I don’t know,” or an “I’ll address that later.” Serving as a true champion of everyday Americans entails deliberately avoiding questions and and scrutiny, you see. And in fairness to Hillary, it’s not like there are too many legitimate or pressing questions reporters might want to ask of her at the moment. The public’s interests are clearly much better served by organic, spontaneous exchanges like this:
“I get there, and the first thing he said was, ‘I need you to sign this release.’ And I said, ‘Why? Who’s going to be here?'” Yowell explained. “The people who had coffee with Clinton had to sign the release forms because the event was filmed for a video the Clinton campaign released on Friday. However, everyone who spoke to Business Insider said they weren’t able to get take their own pictures of the meeting because Price asked to take their phones before the encounter. “I was so excited,” Yowell said. “But then they took our cellphones and I was, like, ‘But I can’t call and tell anyone?'” “We had to turn our cellphones in to them before we went in,” Nelson said. “We all handed them over.” All the attendees who spoke with Business Insider said they didn’t mind being asked to turn over their cellphones before meeting with Clinton as it allowed for privacy… The secrecy didn’t end with phones being confiscated. After initially meeting at the Village Inn, the guests piled into a two-car convoy. “On the way [Price] said ‘We’re going to an undisclosed location in downtown Council Bluffs,” Yowell said. Once the cars stopped, the group was still not told where they were going. “They wouldn’t tell us,” Nelson said. “And then we parked about a block and a half away. And it was, like, where in the hell are we going?”
Meanwhile, as Hillary maintains her detached “glide,” the Republican field will continue to answer the most important questions of our time — and anything else that anyone happens to ask them. Because that’s how politics is supposed to work. Nod and glide, Your Majesty. Nod and glide: