Hillary Clinton campaign staffers botched the planning of a crucial interview, leading to a brutal grilling from CNN anchor Brianna Keilar, according to a new book on her failed presidential bid.
Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes detailed the snafu in their new book, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign,” which was released Tuesday.
In May 2015, Clinton’s aides started planning her first national TV interview of the campaign, and her communications director Jennifer Palmieri asked top aide Huma Abedin to find out who Clinton wanted to interview her. The answer Palmieri got back was “Brianna,” which Palmieri interpreted to mean Brianna Keilar of CNN. Palmieri then got to work setting up the live TV interview.
But Clinton had actually said “Bianna,” in reference to Bianna Golodryga of Yahoo News. Golodryga is married to Peter Orszag, who worked for the Clinton administration before going on to become President Barack Obama’s budget director.
“By the time the mistake was realized, it was too late to pull back,” Allen and Parnes wrote.
The July 7 interview didn’t go well. When Keilar mentioned a poll showing that people don’t trust Clinton, she became defensive and said, “People should and do trust me.” She also blamed the polls on a “barrage of attacks” from Republicans. Afterward, she was reportedly “incensed that her staff hadn’t come up with a better battle plan.”
The interview ended up enforcing the very perception that it was designed to undermine. Clinton had a reputation for shunning press and being especially secretive.
“If the interview was meant to show Hillary at ease with the press and confident that her email scandal wouldn’t hurt her, it failed,” Allen and Parnes wrote.
Keilar and Golodryga slightly disputed the book’s characterization of events on CNN on Tuesday.
Keilar said that Clinton had wanted to give interviews to beat reporters on the campaign trail, and that Abedin had approved Keilar getting the first interview, thinking that Keilar was Golodryga.
“It’s the story of my life,” Golodryga said on CNN. “It happens all the time that my name gets butchered. I never thought it would impede me from participating in what would be one of the biggest stories of my life. That I didn’t realize.”