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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Journalist Dishes About the 2008 Hillary Campaign Trail

Jack Kemp

It's first stop was the Iowa Airport runway where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper died. Hillary spoke at the hall where they had their last concert. And then there's this quote:


The yelling and screaming, the best-known feature of the Clinton press operation, didn’t bother me much—perversely, it endeared them to me. Most of Clinton’s press operatives were fellow New Yorkers. I had dealt with them for years, and thought it was funny to hear them lose their cool. But I was an outlier: They needlessly offended the more decorous national press corps, who didn’t appreciate mud wrestling. “They had the worst press operation—for their candidate as well as for the media—of any Democratic campaign I’ve covered in 25 years,” longtime Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter said after the campaign.
And there was too much self-pity, too much umbrage. Shortly after Clinton adviser Mark Penn had gone on cable to repeatedly remind viewers that Obama had done cocaine, Clinton held a press avail and I asked her, ever so respectfully, if she had ever snorted. It was an obvious question for any reporter to ask, but she responded with wide-eyed surprise and refused to respond. Two weeks later, when I returned to my office from the road, my voicemail was brimming with outraged Clinton staffers accusing me of leveling a low blow.

They seemed almost willfully ignorant of courting, or even acquiescing to positive press. When a 27-year-old Chelsea Clinton made her first appearance on the trail, I approached the former first daughter at the end of a New Hampshire rally with this hard-hitting query, “Are you having fun?” She responded with regal contempt: “I don’t talk to the media” – to which I replied, “But you are all grown up now.” An innocuous word from Chelsea would have gotten the campaign a happy headline and a soupcon of goodwill; instead, I recounted the brush-off in a blog post and got a Drudge link, as I recall.

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This is a great, honest and well written piece by a Politico writer. It amazes. Read the whole thing.

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