Opinion

Time for Clinton to hold press conferences, be more forthcoming

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives at a campaign event at John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. The Clinton camp seems to have an aversion to holding press conferences. (AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives at a campaign event at John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. The Clinton camp seems to have an aversion to holding press conferences. (AP) AP

I wonder if I am the only one who has observed that Hillary Clinton shares more information with the FBI and Congress when she’s being investigated than she does during rare traditional press conferences.

And that's only because she has to.

The full story and context of her “careless” habits with emails was never voluntarily presented to the nation or press for a couple of scary reasons: she and staff didn’t fully comprehend the risky ramifications; she and staff have a counter-transparency instinct that doesn’t serve anybody but her.

It goes a long way in explaining why she has a trust problem.

What we know of the email debacle (which still has yet-to-be-revealed aspects) was pried from her. There never was a press conference. There was nothing until the branch of government she aspires to lead forced her hand.

When she has been cornered to answer tough questions she still resists the cleansing option of putting everything out there in a press conference in lieu of spinning some of her own words: “shortcircuited it.”

Several news organizations have been counting the days since Clinton's last legitimate press conference. Consensus is it’s been more than 253 days. Let me define a press conference: an event that may feature a prescribed topic at the beginning, but it is an open-ended opportunity for reporters to ask anything about any topic before it ends. Such a model is informative and sends a message you have nothing to hide. It is transparent.

Clinton's idea of transparency and a press conferences over these 253 days has been to produce heavily managed and scripted messages and campaign rallies where she can deliver stump speeches that outline her somewhat vague agenda (vague because it is short on the “how I’ll do it”), laced with anti-Donald Trump zingers. Mostly what is communicated is that “I am not Donald Trump.”

Let me call it what it has been so far: a mostly stealth run for the presidency under cover of Trump smoke and self-detonated bombast.

Whereas Trump's rocky relationship with the press has been an on-again/off-again affair, we have a better (and sometimes frightening) idea about where he wants to take the nation even though he, like Clinton, is short on explaining how he will prosecute his agenda.

I’m not holding my breath that Clinton will institute a new press conference schedule. But I can’t wait until she and Trump face their first debate Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

Though I wish it was coming sooner, if carried out properly, there should be no place to hide.

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