One day before Hillary Clinton (re)announces her presidential campaign in New York City, her communications director Jennifer Palmieri rejected reporter accusations that the campaign withholds access to the secretive candidate.
“We’re never going to give you quite the answer you want,” she told Politico’s Mike Allen, during an interview at an NYU event she and Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook attended on Friday.
Palmieri said reporters were fickle in their coverage and never satisfied by the Clinton campaign’s attempts to appease them.
“I remember when I started this campaign, [reporters said] ‘Hillary Clinton is not available, every time you see her she’s on a tarmac or getting on a big plane, she’s out on a big stage, she can’t talk to anyone,’” she told a crowd of journalists and progressive activists.
“Now we do small roundtables, one-on-one interactions,” she said, “[reporters say] ‘When is Hillary going to talk to a big crowd, when is she going to get out to the voters?’”
‘We’re never going to give you quite the answer you want.’
Political journalists have been incensed at their lack of access to Clinton since her (first) campaign announcement in April. Though she set off on tours through Iowa and New Hampshire after the announcement, she refused to take a single question from the many reporters following her on the trail for 28 straight days.
“When [Clinton] is out campaigning, she usually takes questions every other day,” Palmieri said, prompting incredulous laughs from many reporters in attendance. “It’s true!” she insisted.
“Is this all about the press?” she said, after Allen continued to push the issue. “Do voters matter at all?”
#related#But Palmieri and Mook both admitted that the Clinton campaign is overly secretive in its interactions with the press, only agreeing to talk off-the-record and keeping even mundane details close to the vest.
“I think sometimes people default to that,” Palmieri said. “And it’s something where — as I’m sitting here now, talking to everybody on-the-record, on this stage — it’s something we’re going to do a better job on.”
“That’s on background,” Mook interjected, to laughs from the audience. “And we’re going to take your tapes, too.”
— Brendan Bordelon is a political reporter for National Review.