The Note: Hillary Clinton Is Doing Things Her Way

ByMichael Falcone and Liz Kreutz
May 19, 2015, 8:35 AM


--HILLARY CLINTON HAS GONE 27 DAYS WITHOUT TAKING A PRESS QUESTION: It was her first day back on the campaign trail in nearly two weeks and once again Hillary Clinton did not take any questions from the press. Yesterday marked day 27 since she;s done so. Clinton, who is currently in Iowa for her second time since launching her campaign, attended a small grassroots organizing event Monday afternoon at the home of Dean Genth and Gary Swenson in the town of Mason City. (Genth and Swenson were one of the first same-sex couples to marry when gay marriage became legal in Iowa in 2009). Inside the home, members of the press pool were positioned far away from the candidate and the reporters waiting outside were kept across the street. Despite calling out to Clinton as she left, she did not engage.

--I'LL DO IT MY WAY: Clinton opened her remarks in Iowa yesterday by explaining why she is doing these small, intimate gatherings. She didn't mention the press specifically, but it almost seemed like her way of telling people to stop nagging: "Somebody asked me the other day, 'well you're going to these events where you're taking time to actually talk and listen to people, is that really what you're going to do?' And I said, 'well yes it is.' Not only do I learn a lot but I also feel like it's the best way to make those connections that will not only give me a firm foundation here in Iowa or primary in New Hampshire. It really is about people to people connections."

--TODAY COULD BE DAY 28: This morning Clinton will continue with her swing through Iowa. She's set to visit a bike shop where she will "participate in a discussion with members of the small business and lending communities," according to a campaign aide. But no word yet if she'll talk to the press.

--TALKING POINT ALERT: One thing Hillary Clinton can't stop talking about -- campaign finance reform. Yesterday she railed against the "dysfunctional political system" and the need for reform. She called the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision a "grave error" and said she is consulting with legal experts about other ways the court's ruling could be trumped. "I will do everything I can do to appoint Supreme Court justices who will protect the right to vote and not the right of billionaires to buy elections," she said.

--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: The latest piece of spin from Hillary Clinton's backers on why she doesn't need to answer reporters' questions is that she's doing a great job doing the asking, not the answering. An email to reporters from the pro-Clinton super PAC "Correct the Record" claims that she is "putting the voters first" by asking "the questions that really matter." Among the more than 100 questions Correct the Record has counted of her asking real people things a "true leader" would ask are such probing queries as, "What are your hours of operation?"; "So how did you end up here? Did you hear about it?"; "And you've got two little girls?"; "So we're in your classroom?"; and, "So, starting early?" (Again, this was compiled by the main super PAC SUPPORTING the Clinton candidacy.) According to Correct the Record's email, "While other candidates are using the media to further their own agendas and attack each other, Hillary Clinton is displaying the qualities of a true leader by meeting with the people she hopes to champion as the next President of the United States." OK, then. The best that might be said of this attempt to explain her lack of press access is that it sounds better than the truth: That she doesn't care to answer questions from reporters because, at the moment, her campaign sees more downside than upside in doing so. To quote the candidate who's making a claim to being the best asker of the election cycle, if not the best answerer, "Give me a sense of your experience with that."



POTUS VERIFIED: PRESIDENT OBAMA FINALLY GETS HIS OWN TWITTER ACCOUNT: Say goodbye to those White House tweets signed - "BO." From now on, whenever President Obama personally tweets, it will be from his newly launched @POTUS account. Only the President, himself, will tweet from this account, the White House advises, making all the tweets from @POTUS directly attributed to the President; More from ABC's JORDYN PHELPS:

MEET TWITTER'S ORIGINAL POTUS (HINT: IT'S NOT PRESIDENT OBAMA). When Steve D'Alimonte first claimed the Twitter handle @POTUS in 2008, he was just a "West Wing" fan testing out on a new social media platform that he heard about from a tech-savvy friend. But this week, he achieved Twitter stardom, ABC's JORDYN PHELPS notes. "I had the handle until 2011 when I moved to the U.S.," D'Alimonte, a Canadian citizen who currently lives in Toronto but spent several years living in California, told ABC News. "Because I was looking for jobs at the time ... I thought it was probably time to choose a handle that better reflected me and not the President of the United States, which I definitely am not." After initially changing the handle to his own name in 2011, D'Almonte decided he should not entirely let go of the @POTUS handle on the off-chance that someone might be interested in claiming it down the road. It turns out D'Alimonte was correct, with President Obama himself taking over the handle and putting it to use on Monday.

MITCH MCCONNELL OUTLINES BUSY SENATE TO-DO LIST AHEAD OF RECESS. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined a jam-packed agenda for the Senate in the final days before a week-long Memorial Day recess, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes. McConnell said the Senate must complete its work on three measures -- TPA, FISA, and highway funding -- before leaving for Memorial Day. He warned senators against making travel plans before a path forward in each measure is revealed. "The Senate will finish its work on trade this week and we will remain in session as long as it takes to do so," McConnell said yesterday.

SCOTT WALKER HAS A QUESTION FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HILLARY CLINTON ON IRAQ. "What would either of them say to the families of American service members, particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, that today many of them feel like that sacrifice was made in vain?" Walker asked Sean Hannity -- rhetorically -- in a radio interview Monday, ABC's JORDYN PHELPS notes. "How do we clean up the mess that's been created by President Obama and Hillary Clinton?" Walker added, defending President Bush's actions in the country and blaming the Obama administration for the current state of affairs in the war-torn country. Walker said the destabilization in the Middle East is only going to snowball further with the president's tentative agreement with Iran, which he predicted will open the door to nuclear proliferation in the region. "It's like putting a genie in a bottle," Walker said of the consequences of making a bad deal with Iran.


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