One of the lines Hillary Clinton and her defenders employ when making excuses for her acute aversion to press scrutiny -- underscored by her decision to hold precisely zero press conferences over the past six months, and counting -- is that she answers countless questions from voters at town hall meetings. We've heard anecdotes about how tightly-controlled and orchestrated Hillary's events can be, and now the Associated Press offers additional insights into Mrs. Clinton's "image control apparatus." How the aloof inauthenticity sausage is made:
For Hillary Clinton, the presidential campaign has been about building an approachable image: She's often eschewed big arenas in favor of town halls, peppered her ads with personal stories and planned less-scripted gatherings with voters. But emails obtained by The Associated Press reveal a careful, behind-the-scenes effort to review introductory remarks for college presidents and students presenting the Democratic front-runner as a speaker, as well as suggesting questions that happened to be aligned with her campaign platform. While it's not unusual for campaigns to plan detailed appearances, the exchanges preview the kind of image-control apparatus that could be deployed in a Clinton White House, including attempts to steer conversations with her audiences. They also run counter to her campaign's efforts to make Clinton look less wooden and scripted than she did when running eight years ago...
The campaign still injects itself into the minute details of the candidate's appearances down to the stemless glassware in her green room. That fixation on planning has sometimes pulled local officials uncomfortably into the political arena. "They offered to write your introduction. I told them no," Becky Mann, the head of public relations for South Carolina's Greenville Technical College, wrote in an email to the college's president, Keith Miller. Clinton's campaign also suggested questions that Miller could pose such as, "We have a number of students who have a financial need — what do we need to do to make college affordable?" College affordability is one of Clinton's campaign issues.
Larry O'Connor uses the occasion of this AP report to remind readers of just a few of Hillary's greatest hits when she's dragged off of her dull, poll-tested script. Some of her very worst answers have come in relation to her email scandal, likely because there are no good answers to give. On that note, Fox News' Catherine Herridge is reporting that government sources view last week's blockbuster Inspector General report as a potential boost to the likelihood the FBI recommends a criminal indictment against the likely Democratic nominee:
The recently released State Department inspector general report, which found Hillary Clinton broke government rules with her personal email use, increases "the likelihood and pressure" for the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges, an intelligence source familiar with the FBI investigation told Fox News. "It is very harmful to her and increases the likelihood and pressure on DOJ to indict," said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record. "[The IG report] is not evidence in itself, but it clears up confusion [about] Department of State rules and makes the IG a witness, and the people they interviewed, to her computer antics being done without permission."
I'll leave you with this, via Reuters:
Some U.S. intelligence officials are concerned that Donald Trump's "shoot from the hip" style could pose national security risks as they prepare to give him a routine pre-election briefing once he is formally anointed as the Republican presidential nominee. Eight senior security officials told Reuters they had concerns over briefing Trump, whose brash, unpredictable campaign style has been a feature of his rise as an insurgent candidate. Despite their worries, the officials said the "Top Secret" briefing to each candidate would not deviate from the usual format to avoid any appearance of bias. Most of the officials asked for anonymity to discuss a domestic political issue.
With that ball sitting on a tee, I'll toss it over to you, RNC spokesman Michael Short: "The only candidate who has proven incapable of handling sensitive information is Hillary Clinton. If there is anyone they should be worried about it is Hillary Clinton." Touche. Even if you nodded along with much of Clinton's scathing indictment of Trump's ignorance and incoherence yesterday, you also couldn't help but recall that the woman who delivered that unforgiving message has knowingly compromised US national security, placing thousands of classified emails at risk, and very likely delivering top secret material into the hands of hostile foreign governments. And she's lied about it many, many times. Perhaps Clinton's aides could pre-script some questions for their candidate on this subject, such as, "why is national security so important to you, Hillary?" Or, "why do the Republicans keep obsessing over this issue that has already been addressed?" You know, hard-hitting stuff like that.