Politics & Policy

Bad News for Hillary: Iowa Democrats Want a Candidate Who’ll Answer Questions

Clinton in Cedar Falls, Ia. (Scott Olson/Getty)

A new poll released Thursday might contain some bad news for Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton: Iowans want a candidate who is open with the press and voters.

A survey of likely Iowa caucusgoers conducted by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics from May 25-29 found that 77 percent of the 437 Democrats polled want to elect a nominee who will “meet with and answer questions from news reporters and editors.” An astounding 96 percent of respondents want a nominee who will “take questions from voters.”

“Clinton hasn’t sat for an interview with the Des Moines Register or any other Iowa newspaper this election cycle, but rival Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have each done multiple interviews,” writes Jennifer Jacobs. “Vice President Joe Biden, who is still weighing whether to jump into the 2016 race, has answered Iowa reporters’ questions at a news conference.”

Clinton’s lack of transparency with the press has become a recurring theme of her second bid for the White House since it was formally announced on April 12. One month to the day after that announcement, the Washington Post debuted a clock on their website that tracks when Clinton last answered a question from the press. At the time the clock launched, it had been three weeks since the former secretary of state had answered a question from the press.

Clinton’s lack of transparency with the press has become a recurring theme of her second bid for the White House.

“We have noted, as have others, that it has been three weeks since Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has answered a question posed to her by the press,” Bump wrote. “She’s happy to talk with screened attendees of her events — just not the media.”

The Post’s clock hit more than 40,000 minutes — almost a full month — before Fox News’s Ed Henry was able to get Clinton to speak with the press. “Secretary Clinton, can you take questions from the media as well?” Henry asked. “We haven’t heard from you in almost a month.”

“I might,” Clinton said, clearly annoyed with Henry. “I have to ponder it. I’ll put it on my list for due consideration.” Once Clinton finished speaking with the people at the event she was hosting, she took questions from a swarm of reporters for about five minutes. Since then, she has only answered press questions once, and at the time of this article it has been more that 18,000 minutes since she last spoke with reporters.

#related#Earlier this week, a group of about seventeen reporters from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, and other news organizations met in Washington, D.C. to discuss their growing frustration with the lack of access Clinton’s campaign is giving to the press. Reporters who attended the meeting discussed their grievances with the campaign for failing to notify media outlets before campaign events, and also for not allowing press to attend fundraising events with 100 attendees or more — something the campaign originally promised to do.

Clinton’s campaign remains defiant in the face of complaints about its lack of openness.

On Thursday, she’s scheduled to give a speech at Texas Southern University, where she will call for 20 days of early voting nationwide. In a blast sent out to reporters earlier in the week, Clinton’s campaign said, “There will be NO opportunities to interview Hillary Clinton; her speech will be her interview.”

— Julia Porterfield is an intern at National Review, editor-in-chief of Red Millennial, and a junior at Regent University.

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