Hillary Clinton has been spending most of her campaign time avoiding the press while focusing on smaller gatherings with hand-picked voters. However, this week she broke the month-long press blackout and took a few questions while on the road during her second visit to Iowa.
The questions touched on her State department emails, hindsight on her Iraq War vote, and a recent story in the New York Times about one of her close associates.
Report from MSNBC:
Speaking to reporters for the first time in nearly a month, Hillary Clinton said she wants the State Department to release her emails as soon as possible.
Clinton has taken heat for keeping her distance from the press for the past 28 days, but she took questions for about five minutes following a small business roundtable at a bike shop here Tuesday.
“I have said repeatedly I want these emails out,” Clinton said in response to question from NBC News’ Kristen Welker. “Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do.”
The State Department, which Clinton headed for four years, said Monday that it would take until January 2016 to process the 55,000 pages of emails from Clinton’s private email server she turned over last year – much later than expected previously. In response, a federal judge said Tuesday that he wants the State Department to produce the emails as they are processed on a “rolling” basis.
Clinton urged the State Department to expedite the process, but she essentially said her hands are tied, because the agency must follow its standard process of vetting emails for release.
The Democratic presidential candidate would like to get the email issue behind her as the 2016 campaign ramps up. And she found some unlikely allies Tuesday, like Texas Sen. Jon Cornyn, who want the emails made public sooner than later.
On her second trip to Iowa since declaring her candidacy, Clinton also answered questions on Iraq, her family’s charitable foundation, her wealth and her friend Sydney Blumenthal, the subject of a recent New York Times investigation.
Recent campaign disclosures revealed that Clinton and her husband made $30 million since January of last year, mostly from speaking fees, but Clinton said that wealth did not make her out of touch.
“Bill and I have been blessed and we’re very grateful for the opportunities that we’ve had, but we’ve never forgotten where we came from,” she said. “That means that we’re going to fight to make sure that everybody has the same chances.” She added that “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the very top,” and that she would work to level the playing field.
Clinton’s vote in favor of the Iraq war arguably cost her the Democratic nomination in 2008. The issue has also tripped up Republican 2016 hopefuls in recent days, who have had difficultly explaining whether they would have invaded the country, knowing what we know now.
“I know there have been a lot of question about Iraq posed to candidates over the last weeks,” Clinton said in response to another question.
Sorry for the lengthy excerpt, it’s just that we haven’t got much in the way of positions or statements from the Clinton campaign since things kicked off in April. This press conference was brief and did not allow any follow-up questions from reporters. There was no mention of new revelations that a second private email account may have also in use by Hillary during her tenure as Secretary of State.