People want to see how a candidate handles scrutiny under pressure, and if that candidate can’t handle it during a campaign, what makes that person think he (or she) can handle the pressures of being president? If you can’t handle the media during a presidential campaign, you’re probably not fit to be president.
Apparently, it’s been now over 260 days since Hillary Clinton’s last press conference, which she held in early December. But her campaign is defending her dodging of the press by saying that she’s still answered a lot of questions from reporters.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook was interviewed by “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson.
Dickerson: It’s been 260 days since a press conference and somebody I was talking to [who] had worked in a White House said, “If a candidate can’t have press conferences and deal with the cut-and-thrusts of a press conference, that weakens them when they become president because they’re going to need that as a way to communicate with the American people.” So, why not have a press conference?
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Mook: Well, the real question here is whether Secretary Clinton has been taking questions from reporters, which she absolutely has. We went and counted and she has been in more than 300 interviews with reporters this year alone. I know she’s been on your show, and we’re going to continue to do that and there are a lot of different formats in which she can engage with reporters, whether it’s those one-on-one interviews, whether it’s talking with her traveling press reporters, or a press conference, and we’re going to look at all of those as we move forward…But I don’t think it’s fair to say that someone is shying away from tough questions when they have taken over 300 interviews from reporters. We tried to have the interns look at how many questions she took, which is a much bigger number as you would appreciate, and we haven’t even finished tallying that.
She held press conferences more frequently before the primaries, when there wasn’t a lot of media focus on her candidacy and surrounding scandals. Now that she’s the nominee, and now that the election is less than 80 days away, the media will hone in on Hillary – as much as they’re allowed to anyway – the closer we get to election day.
Obviously, she doesn’t want the attention. Her strategy has been to lay low, generally keep quiet, and let Trump do all the talking. As long as the press hounded Trump constantly, they’d be happy with the stories they could get out of him, and Hillary would be happy that she wasn’t in the limelight. Then, she could just coast on to the White House. That strategy seemed to be working okay, until Trump beefed up his campaign staff, and changed his own strategy.
Now, the Clinton campaign is worried that their voters and donors are getting complacent, thinking that their candidate is a shoo-in. They don’t want them to stop giving money. The campaign knows it’s not over, and that a Brexit-like surprise could happen. The Hill reported:
Seeing Trump’s pivot, the Clinton campaign is urging their supporters and fundraisers to step up and not take their lead for granted.
“At this point complacency is the number one thing the campaign is watching for,” said one former Clinton aide.
In a fundraising email to supporters on Friday, campaign manager Robby Mook pleaded for help in the wake of the Trump campaign shakeup, and the GOP nominee’s first general election ad buy.
The Trump campaign’s attacks “are going to get more and more frequent,” Mook warned before asking for $100 contributions.[…]
Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons acknowledged a nervousness about complacency behind the scenes.
“People have been talking about it offline for sure,” he said. “It’s nice to have a good lead, you want good numbers, but you want supporters to be just a little nervous that it could all go sideways.”
One way to battle complacency among their voters and donors is to hold a press conference. Show that you can handle the press’s unpredictable questions and scrutiny. Carefully staged one-on-one interviews with softball questions doesn’t count.
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