Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will give her first national TV interview of her 2016 campaign Tuesday night when she sits down with CNN's Brianna Keilar. Although she hosted a rousing rally on New York City's Roosevelt Island and made dozens of campaign stops along the way, Clinton's CNN interview will be her campaign's official introduction, in a way, to the nation. And if that sounds intimidating, you bet it is.
But Clinton is a pro at this, and it seems like she's been keeping a tight lid on her media image since she announced her candidacy for president in April. As CNN noted, Clinton has refused to grant interviews to national news outlets, preferring instead to selectively chat it up with local Iowa and New Hampshire papers. Just this week, the former secretary of state has come under fire for reportedly having her aides keep reporters at a safe distance with a rope as Clinton marched in an Independence Day parade. According to the pool reports, the rope kept moving with the presidential candidate, but it also made it almost impossible for reporters to hear Clinton's interactions with the parade-goers.
Considering her recent media faux-pas and somewhat-aloof demeanor — not to mention Sen. Bernie Sanders' swelling movement — Clinton's interview with Keilar Tuesday night is crucial to her campaign. Here's some things we would like to see (or perhaps not see) from our HRC as she formally introduces herself, once again, to America...
No White Ropes This Time
This is a given. Leave no rope-laid boundaries between you and Keilar, Hill. This is your chance to show America you're trustworthy, not a political machine.
Another Positive Message To LGBT Teens
Clinton made headlines last week when she left a sincere and touching comment on a photo of a gay teenager on the Humans of New York Facebook page. In response to the teen, who said he was afraid of what his future would be like, Clinton wrote:
Prediction from a grown-up: Your future is going to be amazing. You will surprise yourself with what you're capable of and the incredible things you go on to do. Find the people who love and believe in you - there will be lots of them. –H
Yes, Clinton won the Internet on July 3. But Tuesday's interview would be a great opportunity for Clinton to reaffirm her message to LGBT teens for a national audience — and perhaps reach people who could use her kind words right about now. It would also be a smooth segue into discussing the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states — a 2016 talking point that is already dividing her conservative challengers.
The Bernie Sanders Moment
Bernie Sanders is having more than just a moment. He's a full-blown threat. In New Hampshire, Sanders is steadily closing the gap between him and Clinton, with the most recent CNN/ORC poll placing him at 35 percent — just eight percentage points behind Clinton, who's polling at 43 percent there. The Real Clear Politics polling average places Clinton at 46 percent in New Hampshire, with Sanders clocking in at 30.5 percent. That's still a 15.5 percentage-point lead over her challengers, but no one else in the Democratic field comes close to Sanders at this point (Vice President Joe Biden and Martin O'Malley straggle behind at 7.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively).
People like Sanders. He's folksy. He's honest. He's progressive. That latter quality, especially, has never been Clinton's strong point, but it's been a point of contention among many Democrats who believe the Left has conceded too much ground over the last 15 years. Clinton is going to need to win over Sanders supporters, and that means sincerely addressing Sanders' biggest platform — income inequality, including crushing student debt.
Putting Up A Fight For The Ladies
OK, we know Clinton is going to have some things to say about women's rights, but this is her chance to throw some shade at her conservative challengers, most of whom support the Hobby Lobby decision, who want to repeal the birth control mandate of the Affordable Care Act, oppose abortion, despise equal pay laws, and reject paid maternity and family leave measures.
During her first speech as a 2016 presidential candidate, Clinton said:
American moves forward when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own healthcare choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employers like Hobby Lobby. ... There are those who ofter themselves as leaders who would deport mothers working to give their children a better life rather than risk the ire of talk radio.
Tuesday night, we would like to see her reiterate some of these powerful pro-women messages — and make it known that the next president of the United States cannot win on an anti-women platform.
Images: Getty Images (3), Humans of New York/Facebook