In May 2015, Clinton campaign vice chairwoman Huma Abedin asked Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign advisers whether Hillary could “survive not answering questions from press” at major policy-unveiling events during the first leg of the campaign, according to emails contained in the latest WikiLeaks batch:
“Can we survive not answering questions from press at message events[?] Her dinkins speech and immigration message broke through because we didn’t take questions. Her community banks message got lost because she answered questions about the foundation and emails.”
Abedin also proposed a strategy for how Clinton could deal with the press after her policy proposals had been announced:
“In the fall, starting to do avails at message events, interviews, and q and a with press but having had a series of policy proposals already announced and reported on that she could point to.”
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta disagreed with Abedin’s suggestion:
“If she thinks we can get to Labor Day without taking press questions, I think that’s suicidal. We have to find some mechanism to let the stream out of the pressure cooker.”
Abedin responded that she wasn’t suggesting that Clinton avoid the press entirely, but that maybe she could take questions while she’s “out getting ice cream or doing house parties.”
The idea of avoiding the press seemed to take hold as more questions about Clinton’s private email server, the Clinton Foundation and Benghazi arose, leading to a 278 day stretch in which she didn’t hold a press conference.