Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton paid a visit to the joint convention of the National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NABJ/NAHJ)in Washington, D.C. and briefly dealt with what’s been her frustrating (for reporters) reluctance to hold a press conference.
Clinton recognized the founders of the NABJ as the organization was founded in the Marriott Wardman hotel. She credited President Barack Obama for leading us out of the “Great Depression.” She said she wanted to support black & latino small business owners & entrepreneurs by giving them access to capital. Creation of jobs for youth of African American & Latino descent was also on the top of her list. Additionally, she wanted to confront criminal justice reform by banning the box of people who have been incarcerated
The Clinton campaign suggested the event was a press conference. Several reporters covering Clinton’s candidacy said otherwise.
Why anyone would debate what, officially, constitutes a press conference stems from a long-running rift between the Clinton press corps and the campaign over the candidate’s accessibility. Clinton had not held a press conference since Dec. 4, 2015, in Fort Dodge, Iowa ― or 244 days ago ― and reporters have frequently highlighted this drought on Twitter.
Tall Boy was in the room as she gave her speech. Clinton took questions from three additional reporters which were watered down. The two most notable questions perhaps came from Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post and Kevin Merida, a former top Post editor who now oversees ESPN’s daily dissection of sports, race and culture, the Undefeated.
O’Keefe spoke to press chagrin with how a famously press-wary figure deals with the press following her on the campaign. “We encourage you to do this more often with reporters across the country, especially those news organizations that travel the country with you where ever you go.”
He didn’t get any response to that comment. He did get a very Clinton-esque response when he got to his main query: How would she lead a nation where a majority of people mistrust her, according to survey?
Her answer: She’s been in the public arena long time, it’s in the opposition’s self-interest to stir the pot against her and, regardless, she will work to earn the trust of all Americans once elected.
Merida asked a somewhat shop-worn question, namely what’s the most telling conversation she’s ever had with an African-American friend? That provided an awkward minute or two.
It should have been an easy one. But Clinton wouldn’t address it directly. Instead, she offered a version of a some-of-my-best-friends-are-black response that might be associated with the men’s grill at an elite country club and possibly been off-putting to some of the assembled.
She listed Black friends and two former chiefs of staff, Margaret Williams and Cheryl Mills, who are Black. She said that Black friends and co-workers have supported her, sometimes chastised her and even broadened her musical tastes. She mentioned two Black friends in the audience, including Donna Brazile, the new (if temporary) chief of the Democratic National Committee who’s been a longtime TV pundit. But she wouldn’t really respond to Merida.
No, “I can’t really pick one conversation out of 50 years of conversations.” Further, “I will respect the cone of friendship silence.”
Tall Boy spoke with TV One News One host Roland Martin & television commentator Rebecca Aguilar about their thoughts of her speech. To learn more on Hillary Clinton follow her on Twitter @HillaryClinton
To learn more on the National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of Hispanic Journalists follow them on Twitter @NABJ @NAHJ