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Hillary Clinton Expected to Launch 2016 Bid Today. Aired 11- 12:00p ET

Aired April 12, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:14] BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Good morning. I'm Brian Stelter. And it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES.

A 2016 themed edition today because we are standing by for historic announcement from Hillary Clinton. She is about to release a web video confirming that it's true, she is running for president. And it could come later this hour. We're going to bring it to you as soon as it happens.

And meantime, we have all the bases covered this morning. We have Clinton beat reporters, campaign strategists and experts all standing by.

But let's be honest here, she's going to tell us what we all already know. The media waiting game is sometimes down right laughable.

We're going to be transparent about that here and talk about why it is the way it is. But the truth is, this is a big news moment. In some ways the real start of the election cycle.

Did you see "SNL," because Kate McKinnon was back as Hillary warming up for today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Want to do some vocal warm-ups and then we'll get started?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Love to. Hillary is a granny with a twinkle in her eye. Hillary is a granny and she makes an apple pie. First female president, first female president, me me me me me me me.


STELTER: Not the last time we're going to see that character.

You know, now, Hillary for America, that's what the campaign is being called. It is a campaign like no other. And that's because Clinton is a candidate like no other in American history.

We've been here before and yet we haven't. You know, her rivals know it, and they're not waiting for her to actually announce. This is actually a really interesting press strategy.

We saw Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee on the Sunday talk shows, and this video came out overnight, look at this -- this is from Jeb Bush coming pretty close to saying he's going to run, too.


JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to an exchange of ideas and substantive policy proposals. I believe every American deserves a right to rise and the opportunity to achieve the American dream. And abroad, America should be respected by our allies and feared by our enemies. That's why it's critical we change the direction our country is heading. We must do better than the Obama Clinton foreign policy that damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies.

I know we can do better. And together, we will.


STELTER: Bush not the only one trying to preempt Clinton. Here's Marco Rubio's Web video released Friday. He's providing the Monday official launch of his campaign. And Marco Rubio standing by for an interview.

But, first, let's get to the latest on world's worst kept secret. CNN's senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar is live in Washington this morning.

Brianna, you've been on the Clinton beat for over a year kind of waiting for this day. So, is it anticlimactic for you?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think for a long time, we've been she is running. In fact, even just going to -- going out and traveling, whether it's to Iowa, or New Hampshire, or other states, a lot of times, you'll have people ask, just voters who are interested, oh, is she running? Of course, she's running. We've known this for months.

I would say it's not anticlimactic in one, and that's that we still don't know how she's going to perform. We looked at her book tour last summer. We saw her on the stump campaigning for other candidates in the midterm election cycle and you got a sense of her getting back into things politically and really flexing some muscle she hadn't.

But remember, the book tour, she really stumbled on a lot of interviews. So, there's this question about how she's going to perform and there's a lot of pressure on her to do well. If she does stumble at some point, especially, you know, coming on the heels of this e-mail controversy, I think that that is going to capture a lot of attention.

So, anticlimactic, yes, because we knew she was running, I think. But it's still very, very important to see what is her message going to be and just how is she going to perform. STELTER: We heard the expectations game under way, and seeing

all these rivals weigh in, it really indicates with they all know what we know, which is that she is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

KEILAR: That's exactly right. She's the front-runner. And you're seeing a different kind of campaign playing out than you have before. You've got Republicans who are taking aim at Hillary Clinton arguably more than they are taking aim at each other in this very crowded field.

And then, Hillary Clinton is sort of in it alone. There are some other Democrats who are toying with the idea of running, Martin O'Malley, a lot of folks look at Vice President Biden, they are really unsure that he'll throw his hat into the ring. But you have Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chaffee talking about a run, Jim Webb.

So, the interesting thing about these Democrats they aren't taking sharp aim at Hillary Clinton. That's when something tells you they are in it to take on a front-runner and we haven't seen that yet.

STELTER: And quickly, Brianna, we do see with the Clinton campaign, emerging campaign, a lot of press aides, a lot of people reporters know well. This is a sign, isn't it, of hopefully strong positive relations between the press corps and not some of the nastiness we've seen in the past.

[11:05:08] KEILAR: Yes, that's their hope for sure. I didn't cover Hillary Clinton in 2008, but when you talk to reporters who did, they are downright traumatized about the relationship between the Clinton campaign and reporters was, you could say, combative and that might be an understatement. There was certainly a feeling on part of the Clinton campaign there was favoritism towards then-Senator Obama.

So, what you're seeing this time is a clear effort to be less combative. You've got communications director, a number of senior communications aides, the traveling press secretary. These are all people who have more collegial relationships with reporters.

STELTER: Brianna Keilar, thanks so much.

KEILAR: You bet.

STELTER: You know, we've seen Rand Paul, Jeb Bush's preannouncement this morning, we're about to see Clinton's video.

And tomorrow, as I mentioned tomorrow, Marco Rubio's launch in California. Campaign aides say they like Clinton's timing, and joining me to explain why is Rubio's spokesman, Alex Conant.

Thanks for being here.

ALEX CONANT, MARCO RUBIO SPOKESMAN: Thanks, Brian. Thanks for having me.

STELTER: Let's be honest. You guys have been bigfooted, right? CONANT: Well, I don't know. I mean, I don't think you would

have had me on TV this morning if Hillary wasn't making her big announcement this afternoon. I mean, in many ways, I think this is the first that most Americans are going to be tuning into the 2016 race --


CONANT: Thinking who they might support in 2016 -- and we welcome that attention.

You know, my boss, Senator Marco Rubio, is going to be making a big announcement here in Miami tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. I think a lot of people will be tuning in to see what he has to say and we welcome that announcement, we welcome that attention.

STELTER: It's an interesting point. So, by tomorrow, it might be old news, that Clinton's announced, and it will be onto Rubio. Have you had reporters on RSVP for tomorrow because of all this attention around Clinton?

CONANT: No, no. To the contrary, we have more reporters coming now because there's going to be so much interest in the 2016 race. And this is going to be ground zero tomorrow.

STELTER: That's interesting.

CONANT: Look, we'll give Hillary Clinton this afternoon and tomorrow morning. And then tomorrow afternoon, we're going to turn the page and allow Marco Rubio to make his big announcement.

And we'll talk about -- we're going to talk about the future. We're going to be talk about the challenges facing America in 21st century, and we're going to offer new ideas for how to make this a new American century.

STELTER: Let's peel back the curtain a little bit because my sources tell me no decision about emerging campaign about any big first interview, but we've seen Rand Paul and Ted Cruz give first interviews to Sean Hannity and to others.

You have a strategy in place, George Stephanopoulos gets an interview tomorrow before your 6:00 p.m. announcement. Then, Sean Hannity gets an interview afterwards.

Tell me about how you're rolling out the interviews here.

CONANT: Yes. So, this is assuming Marco Rubio does run for president. He's never going to have --

STELTER: Let's go ahead and assume, yes, for a moment, yes.

CONANT: Yes, other candidates will have more money and bigger operations than Marco Rubio. But he's going to have the best message in the race, assuming he does announce he's running tomorrow. He's going to have the best message in the race. He's going to offer new ideas for new challenges facing us in 2016.

We're facing very different challenges than we were in 1999. He has new ideas how to solve them. He wants to talk about them with as many people as possible. So, yes, we're going to be interviews but over the course of the campaign, again, assuming he moves forward tomorrow afternoon.

We'll do as many interviews as we can. So, yes, we're talking to George Stephanopoulos for "GMA" interview that will air Tuesday morning. He's talking to Sean Hannity. We're talking to NPR on Tuesday. We're going to talk to as many media as we can over the course of the week and months to come.

STELTER: Why Hannity? We see Ted Cruz and Rand Paul give first interviews to Hannity. What makes him unique especially within FOX News?

CONANT: Why? I can't speak to why other candidates might have spoken to him. Marco and Sean have had a good relationship going back to when Marco first ran for Senate five years ago.

They -- he's always given us an opportunity to come on and talk about the issues of the day. He's going to have a primetime special from 10:00 to 11:00 p.m. on FOX News tomorrow night. And we certainly want to take advantage of that and talk to his audience about the real ideas that Marco Rubio is going to be proposing.

STELTER: Very valuable real estate.

Alex, thanks for being here this morning.

CONANT: Yes, thanks, Brian. Thanks for the opportunity.

STELTER: Let's talk more about the press strategy, Clinton's, Rubio's and others with two insiders. In Nashville, consumer columnist and CNN commentator S.E. Cupp, and in San Francisco, Democratic consultant Chris Lehane. Chris is the author of "Hillary's Famous Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Memo".

So, let me start with you, Chris.

Fundamentally, is Hillary treated differently by the press than any other candidate? If so, why? Is it deserved?

CHRIS LEHANE, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: Well, you know, she is different in a sense she's a candidate in full, right? She's famous and well-known.

[11:10:00] But I think, you know, in that lies a real competitive advantage, which is given the amount of press attention that she can get, the amount of real estate that she can occupy, her ability to come out and give a big idea early on in this campaign gives her an enormous opportunity to really frame the entire election on her terms. She's able to exercise ball control by leveraging the fact that there's enormous interest in her candidacy. And, by the way, when Republicans fighting somewhere between

extreme right and far right in their primary and she has a clear shot, that competitive advantage could make or break the difference in a close election. The ability out there to define herself, define narrative of the campaign, define opposition, but really ultimately begin talking to the voters from day one on her terms about what they are interested in. That's just a huge competitive advantage for someone who can get the type of attention she can in a primary where she is a clear shot to the nomination.

STELTER: Yes, what the campaign would say is she hasn't been able to put out an affirmative message until now. It starts today.

S.E., what do you make of the fact that we saw Jeb Bush released the video today, clearly trying to inject himself into the news cycle?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think you're going to be hard pressed to find any member of the media who thinks that this remote campaigning, whether it's remote announcement, or remote -- is a good idea.

These barriers between the press and the candidate or the public and the candidate might be convenient for the campaign, but I don't think they are a good idea for public service. I think the media and public should press these candidates more on making themselves more accessible. I understand it allows them to control the narrative a lot better, but I don't think it's good for campaigning or good for politics.

STELTER: Do you think she should give an interview right away or a series of interviews? Because you're right, you're not the only person who said this web strategy does remove her from face to face contact with the reporters or the public.

CUPP: Yes. I mean, look, Hillary Clinton has got some problems with the press. She has contentious relationship with the press. I understand her reticent in wanting to open herself up to press questions. But she's not above scrutiny, and one of her main problems is that she often appears to be above questions, above scrutiny, above reproach.

She's got to get down on the ground floor of this campaign. That means talking to the press. That means talking to the public.

So, I'm not sure this is the best way to kick off a campaign, you know, a remote video where no one gets to ask her any questions afterwards.

STELTER: Chris, what do you think?


LEHANE: If I could just jump in, she's doing exactly that. She is traveling to Iowa where she's going to be holding events in small venues, typical type of events you do in Iowa, where voters are going to have the ability to take the measure of the candidate looks her in the eye, ask her a question and she's going to hear from them.

That's exactly what she is doing. And I think far different than what took place in 2008, I think she's approaching this race with real humble attitude and understanding she needs to roll up the sleeves and have the conversation.

And on top of that, I mean, over the last few days, we've seen reports where campaign seeking to engage the press in fundamentally different way. I think that reflects a real understanding you do have to have a positive constructive relationship. They just had an off- the-record discussion with a number of the leading reporters a couple days ago. As you mentioned, they brought in the best folks in the country, real pros, who do have historically positive relationships.

But at the end of the day, this video is one step in a series of events there taking place over this rollout. And really at the center of it, she's going to go talk with folks in their living rooms, coffee shops, houses about how she's going to help the middle class. I think she's doing exactly what she should be doing, and, in fact, doing it exactly the right way.

STELTER: Real quickly before I go, one thing people talk about on TV, is she is very possibly going to be president because she's the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, because she's been through it before. It's very possible.

So, let me ask, S.E., fill in this blank for me -- she will be president if -- blank -- happens.


CUPP: Well, look, obviously, I'm a Republican and I'm hoping a Republican ends up in the White House. But, you know, we've imploded before. So, there's certainly room on the right for mistakes.

But I think people are ready for a change and I don't think they view Hillary Clinton as a change. I think they view her as an Obama third term. And she's going to have to make a real clear distinction, an uncomfortable distinction between herself and the last two terms under Barack Obama if she's going to end up in the White House. I'm not sure she's going to be able to do that effectively.

STELTER: Well, S.E., Chris, thank you both for being here. I really appreciate it.

CUPP: Thanks.

LEHANE: Thanks for having me.

STELTER: And what Chris was alluding to we're talking about next. The part of the Clinton story you haven't heard anywhere else is the part cloaked in secrecy. It's the off-the-record parties between campaign staff and reporters.

[11:15:03] It happened in the last few days. I'm going to tell you which anchors were there, and then ask whether it actually affects coverage for better or worse. An exclusive report right after this.


STELTER: Welcome back.

Now to something you won't hear anywhere else this morning, that's the Clinton's campaign private schmoozing with reporters. What's the purpose of it? And is it appropriate?

You know, one of the unusual aspects of this impending announcement is the secrecy. Instead of press release that says, "Be here this time, and this place," reporters started hearing leaks about a potential announcement this weekend.

And nobody actually reported until "Hunter Walker of Business Insider" Web site wrote a story on Thursday night.

What's interesting, at the moment he broke the news, a lot of Hunter's rivals on Hillary beat were at off the record dinner party with Clinton staffers in D.C.

Off the record means that people who attended couldn't talk about it, couldn't write about it. So, all we really know is what was on the menu.

Here is what "Politico" reported. "Thursday night, Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, John Podesta, held a private campaign with reporters at his Washington home, where he served his signature pasta puttanesca, as well as a pasta with walnut sauce, 'Politico' has learned." So, carbo loading with Clinton campaign.

Now, there was a second gathering for other reporters on Friday night here in New York. It was also off the record, but, you know, here in RELIABLE SOURCE, we try to peek behind the curtains. So, let me what I've learned about it.

[11:20:00] There were some big names, here's some of them - ABC's Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, CBS' Norah O'Donnell, NBC's Savannah Guthrie, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, also MSNBC president Phil Griffin and "Politico's" Mike Allen, a bunch of others as well, and there were half a dozen reporters from CNN in attendance.

So, the question is, do these sorts of events compromise journalists or do they make them better at their jobs?

Joining me to answer the question is the aforementioned Hunter Walker, politics editor for "The Business Insider", and Glenn Thrush, senior staff writer for "Politico."

Thank you for being here.



STELTER: Glenn, awkward question for you. You were at these events, right?

THRUSH: Yes. Actually, I was at the both events and I'm now completely in the tank.

STELTER: Well, you're joking, of course. You're being sarcastic.

But this gets into the issue, right, this question viewers might have at home about what the appropriateness is.

Now, what I think and what a couple of folks at the Friday event said to me, this makes all sides better because Clinton aides get to know reporters and reporters get to have sources that call later. Is that your impression as well? Is that why you believe it's appropriate to go?

THRUSH: I have strong feelings on this. I think this is kind of a fake story. Let me tell you why -- I think it's way better to have all of us together, and, by the way, less use to me as a reporter to be in a room with 1,000 people talking.

This is not in lieu of us not talking to them. This is in lieu of handpicked reporters getting direct access to principles in the absence of everybody else. So, this is not necessarily about them trying to woo us, this is about them first and foremost trying to avoid mistakes of 2008, where it was enormously confrontational at the very beginning. And the second part about is, it's much more Democratic, this is not just four people getting access to the principles.

So, you know, do I think this era of good feeling is going to last? No. But while it is available, I think we would be -- those of us who covered this day to day would be stupid not to avail ourselves to it.

STELTER: One of the ideas here was Thursday night was with beat reporters, younger reporters, ones that didn't necessarily live through early '90s and 2000s. Friday night more of the A-lister types. More of the A-listers, more of the anchor types.

But, Hunter, you did not go to either of them. You like more of an outsider approach.

WALKER: Yes, I would totally reject the notion this was not a group of handpicked people meeting with the campaign. I mean, it was a group of handpicked people meeting with the campaign.

STELTER: But if you have been invited, would you have gone?

WALKER: I would go to these things, but I do like coming from the outside. I mean, I'm from Brooklyn. I don't report from D.C. I feel like that kind of keeps me away from some of the group think you can get when you're sitting in a group being fed talking points and sort of agreeing on them over pasta. But also --

STELTER: Hold on. You think they were agreeing over them over pasta?

WALKER: Oh, come on.

THRUSH: I do think in my experience that there's a lot of reporters who communicate in packs. People in America wonder why this conventional wisdom seems to be echoed so much. And it's true the campaign has messaging that gets out there. And then reporters communicate amongst themselves and there does tend to be some agreement and you don't really want to break with that.

STELTER: Glenn, go ahead.

THRUSH: I'm groaning here.

First of all, Hunter, you're not the only reporter who's from Brooklyn. I went to Sheepshead Bay High School.

WALKER: Go sharks.

THRUSH: And you're not the only -- oh, wow, man. You're not the only one who's been an outsider. I covered the 2008 for news day, you couldn't get arrested. I wasn't invited to anything. In fact, I remember crashing a couple of events including Teresa Vilmain's (ph) New Year's party in Des Moines which I wasn't invited to.

So, I mean, you got I think in general -- I totally agree with you about the outsider thing, it's an enormously useful perspective. But I think a lot of people in either-or both of those parties this past week are going to gradually find themselves on the outside anyway.

STELTER: Glenn, you said you had PTSD from covering 2008 campaign. So far, are you sensing they are going to figure out a better press strategy?

THRUSH: Well, Look, that they've hired first and foremost, the people they hired first and foremost are veterans of the White House and previous campaigns. They are able to take the incoming without getting emotional, which is important. Remember, Clinton operatives in 2008, while I knew them from having covered New York politics and I was used to the tough rhythm of that were not enormously experienced on presidential campaigns.

So, I think the main factor here is you have people used to this and are not going to lose it every time they read a bad story.


Hunter, what's the bigger quest you have now that we're expecting the video today? The biggest question you wish you could ask Hillary Clinton.

WALKER: Well, I was at the e-mail press conference at the U.N. where they also chose a small group of reporters who got to ask questions. My big issue with her is some of the money around Clinton foundation and speaking fees. Knowing that it makes even the impression of impropriety, why did she keep taking those speaking fees? Doesn't she have enough money?

STELTER: You're saying there's more story there.

Hunter, Glenn, thank you both for being there.

[11:25:00] I think we need insiders and outsiders. We need all of the above there.

We need to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to take a look at the biggest "X factor" in Hillary Clinton's run for the White House.

As we stand by for her announcement video, her husband Former President Bill Clinton is that "X factor." So, what has the campaign learned from the mistakes of 2008 and what role will he make this time around?

Gloria Borger is next. Stay with us.



We are in race for White House mode this morning, standing by for Hillary Clinton's confirmation that, yes, it's true. She is running for president.

Some reporters expecting it to happen in the next few minutes, sometime around noon. It could come later today, though. Only a few people know for sure.

Joining me now is CNN politics executive editor, Mark Preston, he's in Brooklyn, outside new campaign headquarters.

And, Mark, when you were on the way their this morning, even the cabdriver knew where you are going, right?

[11:30:02] MARK PRESTON, CNN EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, they did, Brian.

In fact, I gave the cabdriver the address of where I was going to be here this morning, One Pierrepont Plaza. He immediately said, "the Clinton building."

So, it's certainly no surprise. People here in Brooklyn and all throughout New York know that the campaign is going to be headquartered here. So, if there were naming rights now, Brian, it sounds like this building behind me is going to be renamed the Clinton building.

STELTER: And so are a lot of folks that work there this morning?

PRESTON: Yes, it's interesting.

There are -- the neighborhood is starting to wake up right now. People are walking by. They seem a little surprised to see all this activity. But it just goes to show you how busy this is going to be over the next year-and-a-half ago or so to speak. A lot of the neighborhood is looking around saying, my gosh, what are all these TV cameras doing here, what are all these reporters doing here?

And I do think it's going to be certainly disruptive to the neighborhood in some respects.

STELTER: One of the funny things about this, Mark, is this is a backdrop for us today because there's no big campaign rally, unlike all the GOP candidates so far. She's doing this so low-key just with a video. But then, again, she did do a video last time as well, didn't she?

PRESTON: Yes, she did.

But it just really goes to show you power of social media, the power of Facebook, Twitter and what have you. She can reach more people that way. And it's really a strategy, Brian, I think that the Clintons are putting into place. They saw the mistakes of '07 and '08, when she ran the first time.

They know that if thank do smaller events, if she looks like she's trying to connect with voters one-on-one, that is going to be more powerful than holding a big rally where she seems out of touch with those in attendance. So, while we will see a video today, Brian, expect in coming days for her to do small events in Iowa and in New Hampshire, really try to connect with voters in a way that she was unable to do back in 2008.

STELTER: Mark Preston, thanks for being there and joining us this morning.

PRESTON: Thank you.

STELTER: You can see, it is a big day in the 2016 race.

As we wait for Hillary Clinton's big announcement, even comedians are wondering what role Bill Clinton will have to play in her next campaign. Take a look at this from "SNL" last night.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Hillary would make a great president and I would make an easy greater first dude.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Thank you, Bill. That's nice.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Hillary, isn't it crazy that phones can take videos now? If they could have done that in the '90s, I would be in jail.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Great bill. I love jokes about that.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I get it. This election is about you. I don't want to hog your limelight. I am leaving. Look at me go.




UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: OK. Aren't we such a fun, approachable dynasty?




STELTER: Now, obviously, Bill is one of the reasons why Hillary's announcement is such a big story. So, how will the campaigner in chief's view -- view his role in the campaign, I mean?

An interview with "Town & Country" magazine just came out, and Bill Clinton said: "My role should primarily be as a backstage adviser to her until we get much, much closer to the election. I have told Hillary that I don't think I'm good at campaigning anymore because I'm not mad at anybody. I'm a grandfather. And I got to see my granddaughter last night, and I can't be mad."

Interesting comments from him.

So, joining me now to break down how Bill Clinton could either be an asset or a liability to Hillary is CNN's chief politics analyst, Gloria Borger.

Gloria, thanks for being here.



STELTER: Well, go ahead. Sorry.

BORGER: No. I'm just going to say, you know, it's like trying to harness a meteor and make sure it doesn't explode before it kind of hits the Earth.

Bill Clinton is incorrigible. They want to bring him inside the tent this time. They want to include him in strategy and all the rest. But the big point here is they do not want him to overshadow Hillary Clinton in any way, shape, or form. You know, he's such a larger-than-life and garrulous creature, that that's kind of hard to do.

So they have to separate them for a while.

STELTER: In 2007/2008, he was a liability at times. Let's play that clip from him in South Carolina where he was talking about Barack Obama, but brought up Jesse Jackson. Some people thought that was racial. Then he responded to that. So, here's a clip.


QUESTION: What does it say about Barack Obama that it takes two of you to beat him?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's just day two. Jesse Jackson won in South Carolina twice in '84 and '88 and he ran a good campaign and Senator Obama is running a good campaign here. He's run a good campaign everywhere. He's a good candidate with a good organization.

I think that they played the race card on me. And we now know from memos in the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along.


STELTER: So, Gloria, they will avoid perceived gaffes like that how this time?

BORGER: Well, first of all, I think you cannot underestimate in a campaign the way family members react when somebody in their family is attacked.

[11:35:01] I have talked to former first ladies about it. You talk to political spouses about it. It is a very difficult thing to control someone in that setting. However, this time, the president understands what occurred last time. And the campaign structure is now going to be such that John Podesta, who is kind of running the whole show, is very close to Bill Clinton, used to be his chief of staff in the White House.

And so there are preexisting relationships now. And I think Clinton understands that he has got to back off to a certain degree. Don't forget, though, Brian, he has got a 56 percent approval rating right now in the country, making him one of the most popular politicians out there.

So they have to find a way to harness him to a degree, yet use him. And I think what was interesting about the interview in "Town & Country" is that I think it sort of lets us know that towards the end maybe Bill Clinton will be doing some big events, he will be doing a lot of outreach to the African-American community, perhaps, or the Latino community.

Maybe they will position him in a state like Florida, which will clearly be a competitive state. I think they are trying to work it out. But the big deal is keep him inside, keep him involved in strategy behind the scenes, so he doesn't kind of implode on them at key moments.

STELTER: A meteor, right?

Let me ask you about one big media story that broke in the last few minutes. That's Bob Schieffer. We know he is retiring from "Face the Nation." But a few minutes ago, he announced his successor, John Dickerson. You used to be on "Face the Nation" with Bob.

BORGER: I did.

STELTER: So I was curious about your reaction.

BORGER: I think John Dickerson is a fabulous journalist. He's been subbing for Bob Schieffer over the years.

And he's currently their political director and I think he will do a terrific job.

STELTER: John Dickerson taking over some time this summer.

Gloria, thanks for being here this morning.


STELTER: When we come back here, the question the press will be asking in the weeks and months to come. With such a long track record as first lady, as a candidate and as secretary of state, is it possible for 2016's Hillary Clinton to really make a new impression? We will talk with Carl Bernstein about that right after this break.


[11:41:25] STELTER: Welcome back.

The politics world and the media world standing by for a social media campaign launched by Hillary Clinton could come at any moment. We have sort of been here before, haven't we, in 2007. Here is a look back at how she announced her candidacy last time.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I announced today that I'm forming a presidential exploratory committee. I'm not just starting a campaign, though. I'm beginning a conversation with you, with America, because we all need to be part of the discussion if we're all going to be part of the solution.


STELTER: Now, a lot has changed in the eight years since.

And joining me now to discuss that in detail, CNN commentator Carl Bernstein, who wrote the definitive book on Hillary last time when she announced, "A Woman in Charge."

Carl, thanks for being here.


STELTER: I'm thinking about one of the differences just visually between 2007 and now is that people watched that announcement on laptops and TV. They are going to watch this one on their phones. It's a much more intimate announcement. And I wonder if she will be more casual, more conversational in it.

BERNSTEIN: We will wait and see.

I think what I have seen on television all day this morning, that we're so far down in the weeds so early, that it's exactly what the Clinton campaign wants, that it's inconsequential.

STELTER: They want it. Why is that?

BERNSTEIN: Because the more that we focus on all this stuff that is going up in the ether and nobody is going to pay much attention to, the happier they are.

Look, she is sui generis. She is one of a kind, the most famous woman in the world. It's going to be an election unlike any other in our history partly because of this dynamic. She wants to make the issue in this election -- and rightly so -- the Republican Party and her opponents. She's going to run against the press, because the press doesn't want to put up with just that. The press...

STELTER: She's going to run against the press. Tell us more about that.

BERNSTEIN: Well, the press is her biggest obstacle, because she wants to stay on message, with good reason. She's very good on the issues. The country is behind her on most issues.

And the press is going to want something besides canned answers. They are going to want more and more to go into these controversies that have to do with her persona, that have to do with the history of the Clintons. And she's going to push back. That's going to be the dynamic that we're going to watch. And that's going to be the dynamic we're going to be paying attention to.

And I also I think it's very important for the press in this election to start drilling down deep and not get taken in by any of these candidates. I watched the Rubio stuff that we just saw.


BERNSTEIN: It's nonsense.

STELTER: What was nonsense?

BERNSTEIN: It's just rhetoric. It's pure rhetoric.

And it's the job of the press to really look for the best attainable version of the truth about the candidates, about whether the candidates are addressing the issues, how do they relate to the issues, what is their history with the issues, what are their personal issues, how much of this is scripted.

We need to take a look at how we cover these campaigns, because we're going to get circles around us unless we start doing it a little differently.

STELTER: Isn't the fundamental problem there's always a focus on personality more than policy?

BERNSTEIN: Well, personality is fine, and character has to do with personality.


STELTER: Where are the distractions? Where does the silliness come from?

BERNSTEIN: The distraction is allowing these candidates, be it Hillary, Rubio, Jeb Bush or anybody else, to get out talking points and for us to just focus on the talking points that they want us to, or to just have silly discussions about mechanics.

We're having too many discussions already about the mechanics, I think, instead of looking -- using our airtime to really look at the candidates, the people, the issues. We're going to have a lot of time to do that. And also the candidates are going to try to make us the issue, too. They want to get past us.

[11:45:17] STELTER: We saw that this week with Rand Paul and his testy interviews with a couple of interviewers.

But I want to drill down on what you said about the press being her biggest obstacle, because, in some ways, the press -- it's the obligation of the press to be challenging, to make the conversation about more than the rhetoric that we often hear on television.

Is it appropriate then for press to be her biggest obstacle? Some people have suggested that because there isn't a lot of other candidates that are polling as well as her, that the press is going to take that role and be the adversary.

BERNSTEIN: Well, it's not about being an adversary. It's about again drilling down for the best attainable version of the truth about this whole campaign, about the fact that we're spending $5 billion on this campaign, $2.5 billion of which will be spent by the Clinton organization.

STELTER: That's the biggest story of all.

BERNSTEIN: We need to be looking at all these questions. We need to be taking these candidates and saying, what do you really think? Throw aside your script. I want to know what you said to your husband last night about Citizens United. I want to know, why are you taking this money from X, Y, or Z? Not just Hillary, all of them.

Our system is broken. Our campaign system broken. The Congress of the United States is totally dysfunctional. We have got cultural warfare that's been going on now for almost 40 years in this country. And one of the big questions for these candidates is, how can they or one of them end or get a cease-fire in the cultural wars? That's going to be a big question.

But, really, Hillary Clinton is going to go after Republicans and their record, because their record during the Obama years is one of not just noncooperation with the president of the United States. It's a kind of obstructionism that is very rare in our history. And she's going to be very effective at going to that point.

And the Clinton years look pretty good in many regards, especially compared to the disastrous war in Iraq, the most disastrous war in our history. If Jeb Bush is the nominee, he's already got some of his brother's foreign policy advisories, Wolfowitz, around him, who helped give us this disastrous war and this disastrous presidency.

So, this election is going to go in all kinds of surprising directions. And we need to keep a great focus on what it is that the country is interested in? How do these candidates relate to those issues? And what is the campaign of each of these candidates doing to get to real solutions about our problems?

And does Jeb Bush, does Rand Paul, does Hillary Clinton, do any of them have any real answers about how to fix what's so broken in Washington? And you can't separate the dysfunction of Washington from the larger culture that the -- the cultural warfare going on in Washington is going on all over America and it's kept us from becoming the country we ought to be.

Hillary Clinton knows this. She knows it. Bill Clinton knows it. I don't know if the Republicans quite understand it as well, but they are going to have to start to understand it, because that's the great task, I think, that the next president is going to have to do, is how to make our system functional again. Can she do it? Is she too much of the past? Does she bring too much baggage to it?

Is there a Republican who might be able to come up with some better answers? But, also, she's going to run with the idea that we cannot afford to trust three possible branches of the government being in the hands of a radical party, and that also is going to be part of the message.

STELTER: You mentioned a lot of potential stories. I think the most interesting one and the hardest come cover is money in politics, but it's a good challenge for journalists.

Carl, thanks for being here this morning. Appreciate it.

BERNSTEIN: Good to be here.

STELTER: We have been talking a lot about Hillary Clinton's use of social media to announce her candidacy. But social media means so many different things.

So, I want to explore with an expert right after this break what it actually means, how she will actually the announcement, and of course whether any of that matters. Stay tuned. We will be right back.


[11:52:50] STELTER: Welcome back. CNN, cable newsers, TV newsers, newspapers, Web sites all waiting

for Hillary to break out her big announcement on social media. What does it actually mean? We should point out, she is not the only candidate to roll out a campaign online. Before Ted Cruz took the stage at Liberty University last month and said the words out loud, he actually tweeted them: "I'm running for president and I hope to earn your support."

Earlier this week, we saw Rand Paul do an online chat, as well as all of his TV interviews.

And my next guest is a mastermind when it comes to designing a digital strategy, very important for campaigns nowadays. Joe Rospars was the chief digital strategist for both of Obama's campaigns, now the CEO of Blue State Digital.

So, Joe, I want to run through all the different options that a campaign like Clinton's has, beginning with Facebook, because when we say social media, what really mean nine-tenths of the time is Facebook. It is so much bigger than all the other options out there.


It is also the core of the identity that you have when you log on into lots of sites than aren't Facebook. And so the ability to build connections with those people in real time from the beginning will be part of pulling them into the volunteer process later on.

STELTER: Twitter is the one most talked about, perhaps. It's reporters' favorite social network. I'm sure she will tweet out her announcement, right?

ROSPARS: Yes. I think that seems to be what all the reporters on my Twitter feed are waiting for.

STELTER: That's all that they're refreshing, checking, seeing when it comes in.

There is something anticlimactic about this. And yet at the same time, because she's announcing this way and not with a rally, it's the only thing we can do, refresh her Web pages.

ROSPARS: That's right. But I think there are also a lot of other folks out there waiting for it too.

There can be kind of an echo chamber on Twitter with the reporters, but there's a lot of political activists and especially the people who are going to get involved in an organization very early in a primary process and who are going to help build the organization for later on that are also paying very close attention today.

STELTER: Couple more networks to talk about. Instagram has continued to gain popularity, an opportunity to share photos and videos.

ROSPARS: Yes. And it is a very active community. And you see a lot of people spending a lot of face time inside Instagram. And so that's going to be a key place, not just to show incidental things from the trail, but also to communicate pretty key pieces of information.

STELTER: And all of this allows them to control the message in a way candidates in the past would have dreamed about.

But I wanted to most ask you about is Snapchat, because it sounds like a joke sometimes. You share pictures. It's been sometimes parodied as a site where you can just share dirty pictures, but it is actually becoming an important source for news organizations like CNN and also for political campaigns.

[11:55:05] ROSPARS: Yes, I think it is important that people understand the factors involved in each platform.

And so Snapchat has its own attributes. Facebook is, in a lot of ways, the opposite, because the algorithm keeps things hidden until they start to prove popular. And so you have to find what is going to be useful in what platform.

STELTER: And finally Meerkat and Periscope, these are the two newest ones, the two that are most confusing.

They're live video apps, let you just start broadcasting from anywhere any time. Maybe she will go live today, although I doubt it.


Well, I think it is a great opportunity for the campaigns to be able to communicate with their supporters in real time, where they are and that's something that will be key to building an organization and the capacity and the culture to build towards Election Day.

STELTER: Now every campaign can stream every speech live. Reporters can also be looking for gaffes on those streams. It is a brave new world, even compared to the last time she ran for president.

ROSPARS: That's right.

But I think that the idea of being able to show a more human face and a more inside the campaign is a good one, and hopefully we will see a little bit more behind the scenes than the typical campaign before.

STELTER: Joe, thanks for being here. Appreciate it.

ROSPARS: Sure. Thanks.

STELTER: We will be right back with more RELIABLE SOURCES after the break.


STELTER: That's all for this televised edition of RELIABLE SOURCES.