NY Times, Politico misreported Clinton's comments during emotional moment in NH

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

The New York Times and the Politico's Ben Smith misreported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's emotional remarks during a campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The Times reported that Clinton said, in part, "I have so many ideas for this country, I just don't want to see us fall backwards," while Smith reported that Clinton said: "I have so many opportunities for this country. I don't want to see us all fall back" [emphases added]. In fact, Clinton said, "You know, I have so many opportunities from this country" [emphasis added].

On January 7, The New York Times and Politico senior political writer Ben Smith misreported what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) said during a campaign event that day in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in which her voice broke when she responded to a question asked by Marianne Pernold-Young, a local freelance photographer: "How do you do it? How do you keep up ... and who does your hair?"

According to CNN, Clinton responded that "she had help with her hair on 'special days,' and that she drew criticism on the days she did not." Clinton then provided the rest of her response. The Times reported that Clinton said, in part, "I have so many ideas for this country, I just don't want to see us fall backwards," while Smith reported that Clinton said: "I have so many opportunities for this country. I don't want to see us all fall back" [emphases added].

In fact, as video of Clinton's remarks makes clear, she said, "You know, I have so many opportunities from this country," expressing gratitude and explaining her motivations for running [emphasis added]. Clinton's response to Pernold-Young's question was:

CLINTON: It's not easy, it's not easy. And I couldn't do it if I just didn't, you know, passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know, I have so many opportunities from this country. I just don't want to see us fall backwards, you know? So.

[applause]

You know, this is very personal for me. It's not just political, it's not just public. I see what's happening, and we have to reverse it. And some people think elections are a game. They think it's like who's up or who's down. It's about our country, and it's about our kids' futures. And it's really about all of us, together. You know, some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some pretty difficult odds. And we do it, each one of us, because we care about our country.

But some of us are right and some of us are wrong. Some of us are ready, and some of us are not. Some of us know what we will do on day one, and some of us haven't really thought that through enough. And so, when we look at the array of problems we have, and the potential for it getting -- really spinning out of control, this is one of the most important elections America's ever faced.

So, as tired as I am -- and I am -- and as difficult as it is to kind of keep up what I try to do on the road, like occasionally exercise and try to eat right -- it's tough when the easiest food is pizza -- I just believe so strongly in who we are as a nation. So I'm going to do everything I can to make my case, and, you know, then the voters get to decide. Thank you all.

In contrast to the Times and to Smith, ABCNews.com reported: " 'It's not easy, and I couldn't do it if I didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do,' said Clinton, getting visibly emotional. 'You know, I have so many opportunities from this country I just don't want to see us fall backwards.' "

From the January 7 New York Times article, by Patrick Healy and Marc Santora:

In perhaps her most public display of emotion of the presidential campaign, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's eyes welled with tears, and her voice cracked dramatically on Monday, as she talked about holding up under the rigors of the race and her belief that she is the best candidate for the Democratic nomination.

If it was not an Ed Muskie moment -- Mrs. Clinton did not cry (or look like she was crying) -- she was certainly on the verge of it after a woman asked her, at a round table discussion at a coffee shop here, how she managed to get out of bed and soldier through each day.

"How do you do it?" the woman, Marianne Pernold, asked. And, with a touch of humor, she added, "Who does your hair?"

"It's not easy, it's not easy," Mrs. Clinton replied slowly. "I couldn't do it if I did not passionately believe it was the right thing to do. It's very personal to me."

At this point Mrs. Clinton's voice softened and lowered to a near-hush, and she spoke more haltingly.

"I have so many ideas for this country, I just don't want to see us fall backwards," she said, her eyes visibly wet, as a row of news photographers began snapping away to capture the moment. "It's about our country, it's about our kids' futures."

"Some of us are right some of us are wrong," she continued, firming up a bit -- and sounding, some reporters felt, either angry or resentful about Senator Barack Obama. "Some of us are ready, and some of us are not. Some of us know what we'll do on day one and some of us don't."

Smith's January 7 blog post on Politico.com, in its entirety:

Exhausted and facing the prospect of losing the second test of her primary campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton fought back tears as her voice broke at the close of a sedate event in a Portsmouth coffee shop.

She expressed the sheer difficulty of heading out to the trail each day -- "It's not easy," she said -- and suggested she faced "pretty difficult odds."

And with audible frustration and disbelief, she drew the contrast between her experience and Sen. Barack Obama's that suggests that her campaign's current message -- the question of who is ready -- matches her profound sense that she alone is ready for the job.

"Some of us know what we are going to do on day one, and some of us haven't thought that through enough," she said.

The question was innocuous:

"As a woman, I know it's hard to get out of the house and get ready," said Marianne Pernold, a local freelance photographer. "Who does your hair?"

Clinton began by talking about her hair -- she has some help -- but moved to talk more generally about the campaign.

"It's not easy, it's not easy, and I couldn't do it if I just didn't passionately believe it was the right thing to do," she said.

"I have so many opportunities for this country. I don't want to see us all fall back," she said, her voice breaking in the last phrase.

"This is very personal for me," she said to supportive applause from the small gathering, at which she'd been discussing policy around a table for an hour. "It's not just political, it's not just public -- I see what's happening. We have to reverse it."

"Some people think elections are a game -- it's about who's up and who's down," she said. "It's about our country's future, it's about our kids' future -- it's really about all of us together."

"And some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some pretty difficult odds, and we do it, each one of us, because we care about our country," she said.

"Some of us are right and some of us are wrong. Some of us are ready and some of us are not. Some of us know what we are going to do on day one, and some of us haven't thought that through enough," she said.

"When we look at the array of problems that we have, and the potential for it really spinning out of control -- this is one of the most important elections America's ever faced," she concluded.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
The New York Times, The Politico
Person
Ben Smith
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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