In a scorching reveal, The Associated Press has released a report detailing how Hillary Clinton’s campaign has tried to present an image of her being more personal, down-to-earth, unscripted and approachable. Instead of large arenas speaking to thousands, they’ve gone with town hall meetings and school gatherings, taking personal questions and connecting more with the audience.
The trouble is, the “spontaneous” interactions are all scripted and pre-planned, according to new emails obtained by The Associated Press. True, all campaigns plan their appearances, but this report reveals efforts to review introductory remarks and questions in advance from school and college appearances, and even suggesting scripted content that others should use.
The Clinton campaign then likes to repeatedly use such “unscripted” moments as examples of how approachable she is, such as the little girl who asked Clinton at one event, “If you’re elected the girl president, will you be paid the same as the boy president?”
Sometimes, local officials have balked at the suggested content, feeling uncomfortable about being used to promote an agenda.
“They offered to write your introduction. I told them no,” Becky Mann, the head of public relations for South Carolina’s Greenville Technical College, wrote in an email to the college’s president, Keith Miller.
Clinton’s campaign also suggested questions that Miller could pose such as, “We have a number of students who have a financial need — what do we need to do to make college affordable?” College affordability is one of Clinton’s campaign issues.
But Miller dismissed the suggestions, calling them “bad questions” and said he would develop his own. “Probably after hearing her speech,” he wrote.
In South Carolina, state director Clay Middleton asked another college to “provide a list of 2 or 3 students that would be fitting to introduce the Secretary.”
The Associated Press reports that the Des Moines Area Community College’s president included talking points suggested by the campaign into his opening remarks at her appearance in August 2015. And the campaign also suggested content and reviewed in advance a press release for the Des Moines transit agency ahead of a July 2015 visit.
In another email exchange, The Keota High School in Keota, Iowa had to show their introductory remarks to the Clinton campaign in advance, and were also uncomfortable when campaign announced they would be filming for a commercial at the event. School officials did not want the school used for political purposes, and requested the campaign limit their filming so the school would not be identified in any way.