LEAKED HRC MEMO: Call Reporters On Their Birthdays

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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An internal Hillary Clinton campaign memo suggests officials engender “spontaneous interactions” with the press, including by calling reporters on their birthdays.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook sent a memo to top campaign officials on “post-election day press” — referring to the fact Clinton would be gearing up for a presidential run after the end of the 2014 midterm elections.

Mook’s memo was attached to an October 2014 email that was released online by WikiLeaks from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s hacked Gmail account. The memo lays out a strategy on how to cozy up to the press before Clinton officially announced her candidacy.

“There’s a good argument that November and December are the right time to deepen relationships with key reporters,” Mook wrote to campaign staff. “Because no campaign has been declared, these interactions will feel less transactional in December than they will in March.”

“They also reduce the pressure for interviews at the actual launch,” Mook wrote. “These interactions can be simple things like calls on birthdays, or after promotions or assignments to the beat.”

Mook also suggested interactions could include a “spontaneous conversation backstage before a campaign speech (this would allow the candidate to keep the context of the conversation in the 2014 elections), or before/after the LCV dinner, for example.”

LCV refers to the League of Conservation Voters. LCV endorsed Clinton in November 2015 and has spent more than $6 million on ads in support of Clinton, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“We should discuss the reporter landscape and what level of comfort there is for this sort of interaction,” Mook wrote in the memo.

Podesta’s leaked emails have revealed just how cozy the Clinton campaign’s relationship with the press has been in the past couple of years.

Prominent journalists, like CNBC’s John Harwood and Univision owner Haim Saban, have been caught giving advice to Clinton’s campaign. Other reporters have been caught letting the campaign alter news coverage.

Mook also encouraged Clinton and campaign officials to pursue on the record interviews, or OTRs, to further build relationships with reporters.

“This deserves a long discussion,” Mook wrote, “but there may be value in having some select OTRs with key reporters to have a frank conversation not just about motivations for a potential run, but also the relationship with the press itself.”

“It would send a powerful signal that this is a distinctly new chapter for this candidate,” he wrote. “This is obviously very sensitive, but worthy of discussion.”

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