1. I don't doubt Mook's numbers on how many interviews Clinton has granted over the past year. But as Wallace notes, sitdown, one-on-one interviews aren't the same thing as a free-wheeling press conference. There are lots and lots of ground rules that govern sit-downs — most notably a typically strict time limit that makes pursuing any particular line of questioning in any real depth almost impossible. And then there is the fact that an interview with, say, Jimmy Kimmel, isn't the same thing as a press conference with reporters from The Washington Post, New York Times and the TV networks. Kimmel is a comedian, not a reporter.
2. The idea that "she is out there answering questions" is so nebulous as to be meaningless. From whom? About what? And it's worth noting here that Clinton — unlike President Obama — does not allow reporters into her fundraising events, meaning that if major donors are asking her questions, we have no idea (a) what they are and (b) how she answers them.
3. "We're going to keep looking at that" = "We aren't going to do anything." (I have a political spin translator. It's almost ready for public launch.)
Look, Mook is in a tough spot. The reason Clinton hasn't done a press conference since Dec. 5, 2015, is because she doesn't want to. She's not great in that format and knows it. Need proof? Her presser at the United Nations aiming to explain her private email server didn't go so well.
I am under no illusion that even if Clinton doesn't give a press conference all the way through the election — a span of 339 days — lots and lots of voters will make their minds up based on this issue alone. They won't.
But it's beyond debate that Clinton has honesty and trustworthiness issues with the general public. In an August WaPo-ABC poll, 62 percent of voters said Clinton was neither honest nor trustworthy. (That number includes 69 percent of independents who say Clinton isn't honest or trustworthy.)
Refusing to hold a press conference plays into that distrust — and might even magnify it.
But put even the political calculation aside. Clinton is, without question, the favorite as of today to be elected the 45th president of the United States come November. Given that, she owes it to the public to demonstrate how she thinks on her feet and how she responds to unwanted or tough questions. The best — and maybe only — way to do that is via press conferences. Simply avoiding them because (a) Clinton doesn't like them and (b) Trump continues to generate day-dominating negative headlines isn't a good excuse when we are talking about someone who is running to be the most powerful person in the world.
There's a responsibility that comes with the job Clinton is running for — a responsibility that goes beyond simply winning. Clinton's resistance to any real engagement with the media in the campaign sets a dangerous precedent for how accountable and transparent she might be as president.