Saturday Sep 10, 2016

Every time Hillary Clinton set foot on a plane for her campaign in the last week, she took questions from reporters. You can call them a press conference, an avail, or a gaggle—the only thing that matters is that her presence in that space steered the conversation to her advantage. And you know who noticed? Donald Trump.
"I just watched her on the tarmac," he said. "She tried to make up for her horrible performance last night so she went on the tarmac and told more lies."
Right on cue following her press conference Thursday morning. Hillary baited Trump, and he bit. Trump held his presser several hours after Clinton aptly recounted key points from his performance in the previous night's Commander In Chief Forum. She bemoaned the fact that Trump had "trash talked" generals. She labeled his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin "unpatriotic" and "scary" and wondered “what would Ronald Reagan say." But Clinton's most piercing observation may have been the one that's hiding in plain sight.
"It is a game to him. Everything is a game. It is like he is living in his own celebrity reality TV program," Clinton said at a campaign rally in Charlotte Thursday afternoon. "You know what Donald, this is real reality, this is real people, these are real decisions that have to be made for our country."
By the time poor Donnie hit his Thursday afternoon press conference, which was supposed to be about education, he did what he always does when someone gets under his very thin skin: relitigates. First up, his (non)support for the Iraq War, which journalists pounced on after Matt Lauer failed to correct Trump's assertion that he opposed the invasion from the start.
'I see the lies last night, Donald Trump was always in favor of the war in Iraq. That’s why I had to do this. Because the media is so dishonest,' Trump said, referencing Wednesday night's forum on NBC. 'I did oppose it, despite the media saying oh, yes, no. I opposed going in. And I opposed the reckless way Hillary Clinton took us out,' Trump said. 
Trump went through the tic-toc of many of his quotes about the war.
Of course, he did. It was defense, pure defense. That was the key distinguishing factor between the two candidates’ press appearances: offense vs. defense. The other point of differentiation was that Clinton recited Trump's actual quotes from the previous night while Trump delivered time-worn platitudes about Clinton's emails and "corruption." 
But the key takeaway by week’s end is that, to the best of her ability, Clinton scripted the week for reporters with her press conferences—pounding home key points about Trump’s Putin love, his taxes returns, and his shoddy forum performance—which forced Trump to be purely reactive.
This is what we want in a candidate: someone who is playing to win instead of playing not to lose.
Clinton left it all on the floor this week, as they say. And though many people on both the right and left despise the press corps, Clinton should continue on the course she set this week. It doesn't matter whether the press corps deserves to speak with her or not, only that she employs their inescapable presence to the benefit of her campaign.
Last week, I argued that voters don't learn near as much from press conferences with candidates as they do from one-on-one interviews with them and I stand by that. But this week proved that even if press conferences aren’t an imperative for voters, they’re still strategically important for candidates. With her press avails, Clinton not only took away a Trump talking point—that she's avoiding the press—she also forced a few of her own upon Donald Trump. 

NOTE:  I noticed that the headline to this Daily Kos piece begins with the term "View From the Left" a combination of words that we don't see that often on the mainstream/lamestream/liberal media since we are inundated 24/7 with news from the alt.right/conservatives/Trump media.  Kind of refreshing isn't it?

Take Care Everyone.  It's a Jungle Out There.  


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