Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson said he could not recall a similar occasion during his tenure when the United Nations venue was used for a personal political reason, although he noted that “celebrities and movie stars have had press events [at the United Nations] but only for plugging U.N. causes.”
Another top State Department official in the George H.W. Bush administration said there was nothing like it during that administration.
And before it was confirmed, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Foundation, a group that promotes U.N. work, was dubious that Clinton would hold a media avail there because it’d be so difficult for reporters to hastily get media accreditation.
“I would think after her speech she’ll go somewhere [for her news conference],” she said.
But not the case. Clinton, who gave an address at a women’s conference Tuesday afternoon at the United Nations, was then set to “do a brief press conference following her speech,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in an e-mail to reporters. He promised they were working to get reporters access to the building and told our colleague Phil Rucker not to “climb on board the RNC’s Malarkey Express” and that they’ve “been working double-time to make this work with the help of USUN, and want to be as inclusive as possible.”
But some Washington reporters weren’t buying it.
Now, by tradition, the first question at a U.N. news conferences is asked by the president of the U.N. Correspondents Association. But UNCA president Giampaolo Pioli, of the Italian paper Quotidiano Nazionale (National Daily) wasn’t in town Tuesday. We reached him in the Central African Republic and he said protocol would dictate that one of the other UNCA officers would do the honors.
They did indeed follow protocol and the next officer in line, UNCA first vice president Kahraman Haliscelik, the New York correspondent for the Turkish Radio & TV network, opened the questioning, asking about — what else? — the e-mails.