Clinton Opens a Previously Guarded Door

NYT FDMaggie Haberman 7/7/2015

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Good Tuesday morning from Washington, where Congress returns from its Fourth of July holiday to find education bills, highway funding and potential Iran nuclear deals waiting for it. But as the activity on the trail slows a little, Hillary Rodham Clinton seems ready to enter another stage of her campaign.

Mrs. Clinton is about to give her first national close-up in her second presidential campaign.

She has been a candidate for almost three months. In that time, she’s done a few news conferences and a smattering of local interviews in early states, but no national sit-downs.

But this afternoon, she will sit with CNN reporter Brianna Keilar in Iowa. The interview comes as Mrs. Clinton has faced increasing criticism for avoiding questions on policy (the trade deal supported by President Obama but opposed by many Democrats) and on personal issues (her use of a private email account at the State Department and the fund-raising practices of her family’s foundation).

Mrs. Clinton’s aides said that her early focus was on interacting with as many voters as possible in small settings and that this national interview would be the first of several.

Much of the early campaign was about allowing Mrs. Clinton to exist in a safe political space, bringing one of the world’s most famous political faces back down to earth from her days as secretary of state so that voters could forge a bond with her. But over the weekend, a half-dozen protesters created an unpredictable environment for Mrs. Clinton as she marched in a parade in northern New Hampshire. At the same time, her aides sought to give her a buffer so that voters could see her, separating journalists with a rope, creating a series of viral photos that ricocheted through Twitter.

The challenges that the Clinton campaign, and the candidate, face are unique. But while her political problems may be complex, the solution that her team seems to have settled on, at this point, is fairly simple: Open the doors to the news media a bit wider.