Ever since Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton started her campaign to be elected president in the 2016 election, the former senator and secretary of state has been criticized for not being available to answer questions from members of the press.
In an apparent attempt to diminish that complaint, Clinton took part in an online discussion on Monday, when she responded to many participants on the Facebook social website, including reporters Laura Bassett of the Huffington Post, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Dan Merica of the Cable News Network.
The candidate began the chat by stating: “Hi, Facebook -- Hillary here. Leave your question for me below about how we can raise incomes for American families. I'm looking forward to a great discussion."
Bassett was the first reporter to ask a question and obviously gave Clinton a chance to slam a Republican senator:
Mitch McConnell said about you today: "The gender card alone isn't enough." How do you respond to an attack like that?
“Wow,” Clinton replied. “If that’s what he said,” the senior senator from Kentucky “doesn't get it” she stated before noting:
There is a gender card being played in this campaign. It’s played every time Republicans vote against giving women equal pay, deny families access to affordable child care or family leave, refuse to let women make decisions about their health or have access to free contraception.
These aren’t just women’s issues, they are economic issues that drive growth and affect all Americans. Anyone who doesn’t get that doesn’t understand what our lives are like.
The next member of the press to ask a question was Lowery, who stated: “You chose not to speak at Netroots Nation this weekend; two of your Democratic primary rivals did.
“Both were interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters who said: 'As the leader of this nation, will you advance a racial justice agenda that will dismantle -- not reform, not make progress -- but will begin to dismantle structural racism in the United States?'
“How would you have answered?” the Washington Post reporter then asked.
“Black lives matter,” Clinton responded. “Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that. We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality.
“Black people across America still experience racism every day,” she continued. “Since this campaign started, I've been talking about the work we must do to address the systemic inequities that persist in education, in economic opportunity, in our justice system.
“But we have to do more than talk -- we have to take action,” Clinton asserted.
“For example, we should make sure every police department in the U.S. has body cameras,” she continued. “We should provide alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders. We should invest in early childhood education for every child.
In addition, we should "fight for voting rights and universal voter registration. You will continue to hear me talking about these issues throughout this campaign and pushing for real solutions,” Clinton concluded.
Not long after that, Merica posted a question of his own:
Your aides said today that you are evaluating a proposal to incentivize more long-term investing by altering the capital gains tax.
The proposal includes increasing the tax on short-term investments from 24 percent to more than 28 percent In 2008, you said you would not raise the capital gains rate above 20 percent. Why the change?
“In my speech at the New School last week, I talked about the increase in short-term thinking in the private sector,” she stated. “Later this week, I will be outlining a number of proposals -- including capital gains reform -- to promote long-term investment that will strengthen companies, workers and communities.
“Both business leaders and labor leaders have been speaking out about this in recent years,” Clinton indicated. “The increase in short-termism has grown in urgency since 2008, and the urgency of our solutions has to match it.”
Of course, not all of the queries came from reporters. Antoinette Polkowski stated: “Hillary, this will be my daughter's first time voting for a president. What will you say to her and all first-time voters to inspire them to come out and vote?”
“I believe it's important to vote because I don't want to leave voting to those with whom I disagree -- whether it's about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights, climate change, student debt or any other important issue. If you don't vote, you empower people who do vote who you don't agree with.”
Eventually, the Democratic candidate concluded the discussion by posting: “Thanks for your questions today! It's been a pleasure chatting. Until next time.”