The Washington Post is going gooey early in the 2016 presidential campaign. The top left of The Washington Post Wednesday carried the headline “And the awards go to...Hillary: A recent flood of honors also offers Clinton an unofficial 2016 platform.”
Post reporter Philip Rucker began by saying that Elton John was honoring Hillary “at a moment when everyone seems to be honoring the former secretary of state for something.” Turn inside, and you see the emcee of Elton John’s Hillary-boosting event was none other than NBC’s Matt Lauer:
“The Elton John AIDS Foundation gala, emceed by NBC’s Matt Lauer, was a magnet for Hollywood A-listers and Manhattan bigwigs,” he wrote. AP explained “The event raised $1 million through an anonymous donor and more funds through an auction, which included a lunch with Anderson Cooper for $12,000...Matt Lauer hosted the gala, filling in for Cooper, who was on assignment in Washington, DC.”
On the front page, you could read:
In all, Clinton has racked up at least 15 awards in the nine months since she left the State Department, with more to come at the same time she is weighing a presidential campaign in 2016. Her supporters say the accolades are well deserved. But it also appears that Clinton has figured out how to leverage the awards to her political advantage, just as the groups honoring her benefit from having the would-be candidate promote their causes.
The awards circuit has effectively become Clinton’s pre-campaign campaign, allowing her to [flip to A-18] speak out on issues of her choosing and cement ties with key Democratic constituencies — all with little apparent political risk.
Notice the "key Democratic constituencies" just slips off the front page. What a happy coincidence! It’s on A-18, in paragraph nine, that a brief flicker of criticism or opposition sneaks in:
Some appearances net her upward of $200,000.
“It appears the only way to get Hillary to do an event is to either write her a big check or to give her a trophy,” said Tim Miller, executive director of America Rising PAC, the leading Republican group going after Clinton in anticipation of her 2016 candidacy.
Miller also slipped into paragraph 15:
Many of the award galas are scripted to showcase select parts of Clinton’s background and to avoid controversy. When Clinton received the American Bar Association Medal for her legal career, much was made of her work helping women advance in the profession — but little mention of her work for corporate clients. Miller said this amounted to “a whitewashing of her legal record.”
Miller is far outnumbered by pro-Hillary quotes, including from two Hillary flacks:
“Aside from being flattered by those that have chosen to honor her for her work, these events have been a forum for her to continue to talk to interested audiences and to the public about the issues that she has cared about and worked on for years, and continues to do so,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said.
The appearances also present Clinton in an tremendously positive light. In a short tribute video at the Children’s Defense Fund gala, Clinton was described as “brilliant,” “very effective,” “very strategic” and as “an in-cred-ibly hard worker” who has “done extraordinarily well in everything she’s ever done.”
...“I’ve worked with her for so long that, if I’m used to anything, it’s her collection of honors over the years,” said former ambassador Melanne Verveer, a longtime Clinton confidant. “She’s got villages named after her and schools named after her all over the world.”
Most of the article is Rucker puffery. Inside on A-18, the headline is “Awards give Clinton a pre-campaign stage,” and under a large photo of Hillary accepting an award from Elton John is a caption where John says “It’s a huge honor just to even honor her.” The Washington Post seems to share in the feeling