Stumping to the theme “Ready” among hundreds of Hillary for President buttons, Hillary and Bill Clinton appeared in Iowa for the first time since 2007 to test the waters for 2016. But while the voters in attendance may have been “ready” for Hillary, her short speech did not impress the media.
“Hello, Iowa. I’m back!” Hillary declared when she arrived at the event that was ostensibly to celebrate the career of Senator Tom Harkin. The Senator’s annual steak fry fundraiser has for decades been a place for Iowa Democrats to gather to raise money and push candidates.
She spoke for a scant 20 minutes before nearly 10,000 Iowa Democrats in a speech that The Washington Post called a “populist call to action.” Hillary noted that she is “thinking” about running for president and quipped that she was really only in Iowa “for the steak.”
The media, however, were not amused. In fact, as the Clintons paraded about the picnic, the media found that, but for a short time, Mrs. Clinton studiously avoided questions. Neither Clinton took any questions from the media, nor did they allow reporters near them.
For The Guardian, Paul Lewis said that the media were “deflated” by the Clintons’ avoidance.
Others felt the appearance was less than impressive. CNN’s Peter Hamby tweeted from the event that “Bill Clinton regaled reporters for 15 minutes. Hillary stayed for just a few minutes and left.”
Politico’s Maggie Haberman found herself disappointed that Hillary Clinton refused to mix with reporters, too. “Instead of Harkin and Hillary lingering with reporters at the barricade, it was Harkin and Bill for 15 minutes,” she tweeted.
Haberman also noted that the former president did “a vintage Bill Clinton” by sticking around the media long after Hillary and took questions about everything but what his wife might do for 2016.
Washington Examiner reporter Rebecca Berg agreed with Haberman. “That was a classic Bill and Hillary display. Hillary took a few press questions and bolted; aides couldn’t drag Bill away,” she wrote.
But Berg also reported that the media really didn’t get much use out of either Clinton. “Press waited for an hour and a half to be ignored by the Clintons as they grilled for five minutes,” she said.
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