Daily Revolt

November 24, 2007

Hillary Criticized for Press Strategy

She has a lot to hide. Her events are obviously staged to prevent as little interaction with the public and press as possible. This is a woman who does not like to think on her feet. Her campaign is one big talking point/press release:
When Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to get a message out, her presidential
campaign handpicks news outlets. Or, in some cases, bypasses the media entirely.

The New York Democrat's third-quarter fundraising blowout was leaked to the
Drudge Report. She made sure an Iowa newspaper printed her comments that she
found Sen. Barack Obama's answer to a foreign-policy question "irresponsible" and
"naive." She also uses her "Hillary Hub" campaign creation to break news.

The strategy allows Mrs. Clinton— who rarely holds press availabilities — to avoid
taking questions from reporters who cover her campaign and who might have
detailed follow-up queries to her carefully planned policy announcements.

[...]The campaign has been tightly controlled from the start, with Mrs. Clinton announcing her candidacy in a Web video and negotiating strict terms for her appearances on network morning shows, according to published reports.

[...]Democrats say Mrs. Clinton can avoid reporters because she is the strong national front-runner. But some Iowans have been complaining she isn't answering their questions.

If she answered questions Ms.Clinton would have to explain her neocon military strategy:
If Hillary Clinton becomes that next President, she will likely continue Bush's foreign policy. Clinton, who favors leaving a large contingent of U.S. troops in Iraq, says nothing about disbanding the huge U.S. military bases there. Clinton is also rattling the sabers in Iran's direction. She voted to urge Bush to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and she, too, misquotes Ahmadinejad about Israel.

Her attack machine is formidable:
Every presidential campaign finds itself dealing with allegations, exaggerations and rumors that require a quick response. But journalists say that Clinton campaign officials are the fastest and fiercest at pushing back against media accounts that they regard as unfair or inaccurate.


Bill Clinton honed the art of rapid response in his 1992 campaign, as memorialized in the movie "The War Room." President Bush's campaigns were known for even swifter reactions to criticism, as blast faxes gave way to BlackBerry messages and technology fostered a nonstop news cycle.

As a former first lady who lived through numerous scandals in her husband's White House, Hillary Clinton seems determined to avoid the fate of Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), the 2004 Democratic nominee, who later admitted he was too slow to respond to attacks on his Vietnam War record by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

"One of the greatest strengths of the Clinton campaign is they've internalized and updated the lessons of 1992 for the new media era," said Dan Schnur, a Republican campaign veteran. "When it comes to rapid response, you can't be too fast, but you can certainly be too hysterical. It's important to get information into reporters' hands as quickly as possible, but you don't want to be the deputy press secretary who cried wolf. . . . You want to save Defcon 5 for when you really need it."

[...]The Clinton camp unleashed the heavy artillery on Nov. 8. Singer was driving to the Arlington headquarters that morning when he heard part of a National Public Radio report on two women whose lives had been touched by the campaign. At the office, Singer learned that he had missed an interview with a waitress at a Maid-Rite sandwich shop in Toledo, Iowa, who said that "nobody got left a tip" after Clinton ate a loose-meat sandwich at the lunch counter.

As the tale, powered by a link on the Drudge Report, ricocheted across the Internet, Clinton staffers tracked down those who were at the restaurant, including the aide who paid the bill with his credit card.

[...]"Reporters who have covered the hyper-vigilant campaign say that no detail or editorial spin is too minor to draw a rebuke," the New Republic says.

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