One had to wonder: How could this stingy and cautious performance even come close to advancing that goal?
The candidate was, by turns, self-justifying and pugnacious, and occasionally just plain inauthentic, as she complained about her and her husband’s victimization by right-wingers and scandalous book authors—the correct people to blame, in her view, for the fact that six out of 10 voters don’t consider her “honest and trustworthy,” according to a recent CNN poll.
“I can only say, this has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years,” Clinton said—perhaps unwittingly evoking her long-ago claim that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was the result of a vast right-wing conspiracy. “At the end of the day, I think voters sort it all out…I trust the American voters.”
She added emphatically—desperately?—“People should and do trust me.”
Whatever is causing public opinion surveys to indicate otherwise is illegitimate. She cited “books filled with unsubstantiated attacks against us, and they admit they have no evidence.”
And Clinton once again trotted out her creakily baroque defense of the private email server she used as secretary of state (in apparent contravention of Obama administration regulations), and the massive deletions she ordered upon leaving office.
Widening her eyes and nodding at times like a bobblehead doll—occasionally emitting a percussive laugh—Clinton dodged one policy question after another, pretended Sanders barely exists, and proclaimed her “total respect” for the pesky press—the same press that her campaign aides actually lassoed with ropes in the middle of a New Hampshire street in order to keep them away during a July 4th parade.