Hillary criticized for press strategyBy Christina Bellantoni
November 23, 2007 When Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to get a message out, her presidential campaign handpicks news outlets. Or, in some cases, bypasses the media entirely. The New York Democrat’s third-quarter fundraising blowout was leaked to the Drudge Report. She made sure an Iowa newspaper printed her comments that she found Sen. Barack Obama’s answer to a foreign-policy question “irresponsible” and “naive.” She also uses her “Hillary Hub” campaign creation to break news. The strategy allows Mrs. Clinton — who rarely holds press availabilities — to avoid taking questions from reporters who cover her campaign and who might have detailed follow-up queries to her carefully planned policy announcements. Mrs. Clinton’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have been painting her as someone who dodges tough questions or parses answers to difficult issues. Her opponents stepped up the pressure after it was revealed her campaign staff planted two questions with supporters at a campaign event.
Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina regularly accuses Mrs. Clinton of “double-talk,” and his campaign created a “Plants for Hillary” spoof Web site to highlight the issue.