The Clinton campaign booted out David Martosko of DailyMail.com this morning
- He was the designated print pool reporter for the day
- The pool was formed at the request of the Clinton campaign, with one reporter traveling with the presidential hopeful each day
- The campaign is not supposed to have a say in which reporter travels – with the correspondents deciding the rotation
- Clinton press aide Nick Merrill offered several contradictory reasons as to why Martosko was denied access
The Clinton campaign denied access to the designated print pool reporter in New Hampshire this morning.
David Martosko of DailyMail.com was told by Hillary for New Hampshire staffer Meredith Thatcher that he was not approved for Monday’s pooled events.
When Martosko asked Thatcher to phone her boss, Harrell Kirstein, he was again told that he had not been approved by the campaign.
Out: The Clinton campaign denied access to David Martosko of The Daily Mail in New Hampshire this morning
Today: Clinton speaks during a forum on early childhood education at the YMCA in Rochester
Martosko pressed further and asked Thatcher if he was being prohibited from getting on either of the pool vans, to which she replied; ‘I’m afraid that’s right.’
When he asked why, she responded; ‘All I know is what Harrell has told me. I got an email saying the print pooler would be changed for today. Sorry.’
Martosko then spoke with Clinton press aide Nick Merrill for 10 minutes and learned that the campaign would not be allowing the designated print reporter to cover Mrs. Clinton today.
Merrill offered varied and contradictory reasons for this decision.
First he confirmed that the concern had to do with the Daily Mail’s status as foreign press, saying; ‘We’ve been getting a lot of blowback from foreign outlets that want to be part of the pool and we need to rethink it all, maybe for a day, and just cool things off until we can have a discussion.’
Martosko then informed Merrill that the Guardian is part of the pool, and that the pool does not discriminate on the basis of media ownership.
Merrill said that the campaign’s position is that the Daily Mail does not qualify because it has not yet been added to the White House’s regular print pool – something Martosko informed him was a timing issue, not a White House choice, since Francesca Chambers, the Mail’s White House correspondent, has been vetted and has a hard pass.
‘We’re just trying to follow the same process and system the White House has,’ said Merrill.
Merrill then insisted that the decision had ‘nothing to do’ with the campaign considering the Daily Mail foreign press.
‘We don’t consider you foreign press,’ he said.
Merill then added; ‘This isn’t about you. It’s about a larger…’ and did not continue his sentence.
‘We’re going to make the decision,’ he said, referring to choosing whether to give access to the designated print pooler.
Martosko pointed out to Merrill that he seemed to be contradicting himself, noting the murky situation of foreign ownership interests in several outlets in the pool, at which point Merrill reiterated that the campaign could choose to decline pool coverage, and claimed that ‘it’s my understanding that the pool wasn’t sending a reporter today.’
Martosko informed Merrill at that point that ‘the pool sent me and I’m here,’ and that the pool would show up at all the events today whether or not the campaign chose to grant access, and would request access each time.
The pool had been formed at the request of the Clinton campaign, with one reporter, photographer and videographer traveling with the presidential hopeful each day.
The pool works by correspondents choosing a rotation of reporters, and the campaign is not supposed to interfere with who is chosen or have a say as to who will travel for the day.
After some confusion about the location of the morning’s early childhood education summit in Rochester, Martosko arrived to the event around 10:20am.
Secret Service at the main entrance then refused to let him in and advised he go in through another entrance.
Visiting that doorway, another agent asked for Martosko’s name and outlet.
When he responded, a voice from behind the door, the head of Mrs. Clinton’s Secret Service detail, was heard saying ‘Oh. No.’
The first agent then sent Martosko back to the front door, advising that the head of the detail insisted. At the front door again, he was asked to wait while the first agent on duty checked to see if he would be admitted.
The answer: ‘No. You can’t come in.’
Martosko was advised by that Secret Service agent that he had contacted someone ‘with the campaign’ named ‘Pollard,’ who personally said he could not enter the event.
When he asked if he could at least use the restroom, the Secret Service agent advised that the area had been swept already, and suggested he ‘hit the woods.’
‘We want a happy press corps as much as the press corps does. And we work very hard to achieve that in tandem with them,’ Merrill said in a statement.
‘It’s a long campaign, and we are going to do our best to find equilibrium and best accommodate interest from as many news outlets as possible, given the space limitations of our events.’