278 Days Later, Hillary Is Finally Questioned... About Sexism, Double Standards

After 278 days of dodging reporters and ignoring their questions, Hillary Clinton on Thursday finally submitted to a press conference. One would assume that there would be plenty of tough follow-ups on her e-mail scandal. Yet, that subject never came up. Instead, reporters fed her queries on sexism, double standards against her campaign and the size of her lead. 

A female reporter noted that the Republican National Committee criticized Clinton for not smiling enough. She sympathetically wondered, “Can you react to that? And also you have suggested that there is a double standard. Do you think that you're treated differently in this race because you're a woman?” 

[By the sound of it, this journalist may have been the New York Times’s Amy Chozick. But none of the journalists at this hastily arranged press conference at an airport in White Plains, New York were identified. Only their voices could be heard. If identifications are provided, NewsBusters will update this article.]

This “do you have it tougher” query has been asked over and over. After 278 days without a press conference, an e-mail question would have been more informative. Later, another reporter echoed this double standard sentiment: “Do you think Donald Trump's being held to a different standard and what does that mean for you going into the debates?” 

Clinton liked that query so much that she endorsed it: 

HILLARY CLINTON: That's a very fair question. I have been somewhat heartened by the number of articles recently pointing out the quite disparate treatment of Trump than his campaign compared to ours. I don't understand the reasons for it. I find it frustrating. 

The very first question was of the political horse race variety: “Given what you say are his historic inadequacies and qualifications on the commander in chief that you just made, shouldn't you basically be running away with it at this point?” 

CNN’s Jeff Zeleny asked one of the few tough questions, pointing out that Clinton’s newest stance on Iraq doesn’t make sense. 

JEFF ZELENY: You said unequivocally last night that you would not put troops into Iraq ever again. Isn't that A, that ignoring the ground forces that are there, and B, boxing yourself in should your military commanders if elected, advise that you, in fact, need to do that?

Zeleny referenced last night’s Commander in Chief Forum where the Democrat and Donald Trump both appeared. At the event, Clinton was grilled by Matt Lauer and a veteran on her e-mail scandal. During the forum, she initially said that she made a “mistake” in having a personal account. 

Later, she insisted, “I did exactly what I should have done and I take it very seriously, always have, always will.” 

Journalists could have followed-up on this inconsistency or asked about Clinton’s claim on Wednesday night that nothing she handled was marked classified, something FBI Director James Comey has called false. Instead, journalists used Thursday’s rare opportunity of a Clinton press conference to talk about sexism and double standards against he Democrat. 

Transcripts of the questions from the press conference are below: 

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9:47am ET 

UNIDENTIFIED: Madam Secretary, the latest Real Clear Politics average has you up by an average of 2.8 percentage points over Donald Trump. Given what you say are his historic inadequacies and qualifications on the commander in chief that you just made, shouldn't you basically be running away with it at this point? 

...

9:49

JEFF ZELENY: You said unequivocally last night that you would not put troops into Iraq ever again. Isn't that A, that ignoring the ground forces that are there, and B, boxing yourself in should your military commanders if elected, advise that you, in fact, need to do that?

...

9:50

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (Amy Chozick?): Hi, good morning. Secretary Clinton, you have been criticized by the RNC for your demeanor last night, that you were too serious, that you didn't smile enough. Can you react to that? And also you have suggested that there is a double standard. Do you think that you're treated differently in this race because you're a woman?  

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I’m going to let all of you ponder that last question. I think there will be a lot of PhD theses and popular journalism writing on that subject for years to come. 

...

9:51

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Thank you, Madam Secretary. 

CLINTON: I like the hat. 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Appreciate that. 

CLINTON: Is this a new look? 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No, it's kind of an old look now. 

CLINTON: Oh, you’re bringing it back? 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I'm bringing it back. 

CLINTON: Went shopping in your closet? 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You got it. 

CLINTON: Of I do a lot of that. 

UNIDENTIFIED MAN:  Last night Mr. Trump suggested in his security briefings that briefers made a suggestion or insinuation they were not pleased, the CIA was not pleased with the decisions the administration and president Obama have made so far. Did you get that same impression in the briefings you got and can you comment otherwise on that suggestion from Mr. Trump? 

...

9:52

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you think Donald Trump’s being held to a different standard and what does that mean for you going into the debates? 

CLINTON: That’s a very fair question. I have been somewhat heartened by the number of articles recently pointing out the quite disparate treatment of Trump than his campaign compared to ours. I don't understand the reasons for it. I find it frustrating. 

...

[Inaudible question about Gary Johnson not knowing where Aleppo is.]

[inaudible question from Andrea Mitchell.]

10:04

[Mitchell explaining her question.]

CRAIG MELVIN: Andrea Mitchell, as promised joining us from the White Plains airport. She was at the news conference that just wrapped a few minutes ago. Got a question in. We had had a hard time hearing your question. But what exactly did you ask and what was the response? 

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, I was asking her at the end of that news conference, after they set up the questions, about something being quoted on Israeli channel 2. Israeli television is broadcasting today an interview she taped and she quoted Matt Olsen, the former head of the counter-terrorism center at the CIA, and saying that in published materials —  ISIS propaganda, they have been saying, “Praise Allah. Let Trump be elected” because of his Muslim ban and his anti-Islamic rhetoric. And that was misquoted to House Speaker Paul Ryan in a question on radio, from the transcript I read. It don’t want to imply anything, but it was quoted that she was saying that on her own, and he reacted very strongly. I wanted to ask her about that.

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