Although Hillary Clinton’s interactions with the press have been few and far between during her campaign, Jake Tapper knows exactly what it’s like to be on the receiving end from the Democratic frontrunner.
In an interview with TBS host Conan O’Brien Monday, CNN’s Tapper spoke of a run-in with Clinton while covering the White House for ABC, in which she told him (at the time) that either title (secretary or senator) was much more desirable “to what we call you when you’re not around.”
“What’s it like when you’re covering the White House?” O’Brien initially asked Tapper. “How much access do you get?”
“It was frustrating at times, because you don’t get to ask the president — you don’t get much access. Although the people who haven’t been to the White House, when you go there for the first time, it’s really small. And actually, the west wing is not far from the press room that you see. And you do — sometimes, you can bump into people,” Tapper said. “So you don’t often have access to them, but maybe if you’re going up to the press secretary’s office, you can bump into them. I bumped into Hillary Clinton, right after she became secretary of state.”
“Really? She’s just going to the vending machine and you’re going this way, and you bump into her?” O’Brien asked.
“I bumped into her, and I said, ‘Sen. Clinton, how are you doing? Oh, I’m sorry, Sen. Clinton, you’re Secretary Clinton now,’ because I’m an idiot,” Tapper said. “I said, just trying to ask her a question, ‘which do you prefer, Secretary Clinton or Senator Clinton? And she said, well, ‘I prefer either one to what we call you when you’re not around.'”
“Wow! Burn! What was that all about?” O’Brien asked jokingly.
“It’s a sick burn,” said the smiling CNN host. “That’s a sick Clinton burn.”
“And then she dropped her mic and walked off the stage,” O’Brien said. “You’re going down, Tapper!”
Tapper was making the appearance ahead of taking over as anchor of “State of the Union,” the Turner network’s Sunday affairs program, on June 14.