Following Hillary Clinton’s first time engaging with the press in nearly a month, MSNBC predictably cheered her performance. Evidently 28 days is not enough of an opportunity to prepare for questions, because Thomas Roberts – host of MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts – lauded her brief few minutes with the press: “She was pretty great on the fly answering these questions. She didn't hedge on much of anything. And she buckled to the pressure of the fact that she has hasn't answered questions in a month.”
Of course, when she was asked whether the world was better off without Saddam Hussein, Clinton only said that she’d “made a mistake” without directly answering the question. Regarding the Clinton Foundation donations controversy, she only spoke of being proud of what it had accomplished. And, when asked about her relationship with Sidney Blumenthal, Mrs. Clinton simply discussed the importance of having friends in politics, without addressing the allegations. In light of all this, to say she didn’t hedge on anything might be a little bit of a stretch.
Unsurprisingly, Vox’s Jonathan Allen was unwilling to contest any of the points made by Roberts. He added that the former Senator from New York “seemed fairly comfortable today” and claimed that her answer to the Sidney Blumenthal question was “probably the right one.” He also dismissed the controversy surrounding Clinton’s emails: “We don't see anything in those e-mails that suggests that she was really acting on them other than to forward them to somebody else and say, hey, figure this out.”
This is the same Jonathan Allen whose recent Hillary book HRC contained this gushy passage: "Hillary was surrounded by applause, and by groupielike bureaucrats waving camera-phones. It was a historic moment, at least in the world of State…If her debut was a rock concert, Hillary was Bono – a bona fide international celebrity, with credibility as a crusader for the disadvantaged. In that regard, she was one of a kind."
The relevant portion of the transcript is below:
MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts
May 19, 2015
2:32 p.m. Eastern
THOMAS ROBERTS, host: Joining me now from Washington is Jonathan Allen, chief political correspondent for Vox. Jonathan, it’s good to see you. So, after 28 days Hillary Clinton breaks her silence with reporters. I mean, obviously she doesn't really need us out there. She gets her message out regardless. But – what do you think of how she did? I mean, she was pretty great on the fly answering these questions. She didn't hedge on much of anything. And she buckled to the pressure of the fact that she has hasn't answered questions in a month.
JONATHAN ALLEN, Vox: Yeah, she seemed fairly comfortable today. That 28 days is almost as much time as it would take to have a biblical flood and end up at Mount Ararat. But she certainly did come out today and again I think she fielded the questions well. I think her answer on Sid Blumenthal is probably the right one and it comports with the reporting I’ve done in the past on her,. She has a tendency to stay in touch with all sorts of people, some of them more savory, some of them less savory, some of them better advisers and some of them worse advisers. But she does have a tendency to let her friends and associates over time continue to have access to her. We don't see anything in those e-mails that suggests that she was really acting on them other than to forward them to somebody else and say, hey, figure this out.
ROBERTS: Out of these stories, Jonathan, whether it's about the e-mails, the Clinton Foundation, hearing old names like Sidney Blumenthal come up, what do you think is more worrisome for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail?
ALLEN: I think the biggest problem for her is the e-mail server that was wiped clean. I think when you talk about a congressional investigation that could be going on into the throws of this campaign, and members of Congress being able to talk about that ad nauseam and push and push to try find out what was there and what got erased, that's a problem that is easy for the American public to understand the destruction of documents. And so I think that's a problem for her probably more than anything else. But it's one that's latent. It’s one we might not feel the full effect of until later in the campaign.