The roundtable on MSNBC’s Morning Joe said that Hillary Clinton’s need to control the environment around her is suffocating any chance of her campaign appearing authentic.
In a report by the Daily Mail, Clinton’s campaign prescreened the "everyday Americans" she met with at her events in Iowa, including one former Obama campaign intern whom they drove to the event and vetted for 30 minutes. The "lobbyist in training," Austin Bird, was reported as a student but had previously been a chauffeur for Vice President Joe Biden.
The report is another embarrassment for Clinton’s cautious campaign rollout. Clinton has mostly avoided the press since her presidential announcement, deciding instead to stage small roundtable discussions where she mostly listens to the concerns of "ordinary" Iowans.
"That reminds me of the New York Times reporter who went to the bathroom and staff member for Hillary followed her and stood outside the stall," Joe Scarborough said.
"Do you think there is a little control freakishness happening?" co-host Mika Brzezinski said.
Eugene Robinson agreed, saying the campaign felt unnatural, but that until Clinton faces legitimate opposition, she will get away with doing whatever she wants.
"She doesn't have to do anything she doesn't want to do because she doesn't have any meaningful opposition to the democratic nomination," Robinson said. "She doesn't have to do anything that any of us might want her to do at this point. She can stay strategic and staged if, indeed, anything was staged."
Political reporter Mike Barnicle said Clinton’s last eight years outside of campaigning has left her rusty and a primary opponent would to put her feet to the fire would force Clinton to shape up.
"She needs a primary opponent. She'll get in campaign shape. She's clearly not in full campaign shape yet," Barnicle said.
Opponent or not, Clinton’s "low-key" and "humble" rollout has disturbed political commentators and frustrated reporters.