Politics

Reporter’s Notebook: Getting closer to Clinton, but still so far away

Why the Democratic presidential candidate's strategy may backfire

 

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – I was closer to the likely Democratic presidential nominee this morning than I have been since she launched her campaign 37 days ago – just a few feet away – but I’m still not holding out hope of getting an interview just yet. 

Last night when I checked into the hotel here in eastern Iowa, the clerk randomly gave me room number 331. At first I thought it was odd since the previous night a different hotel had randomly given me number 330. 

Yet this time when I got off the elevator I noticed something even more unusual. There were a couple of Secret Service agents outside the door of a room diagonal to mine. 

Wait, I thought, is Hillary Clinton in that room across the hall? Nah. 

But then as I opened my door I glanced back at a Secret Service agent who was clearly laughing. And clearly amused by the fact that the hotel clerk had randomly placed a Fox News correspondent just a few yards from The Candidate Who Will Not Be Taking Your Questions Today (TCWWNBTYQT).

After dropping my bags on the bed, I dragged the rolling chair out in the hallway and knocked on a Clinton staffer's door, telling him I was waiting for my interview.

A light moment on the campaign trail, sure. Except it’s a serious matter. As I write this dispatch in my hotel room, I am literally closer to Clinton -- just a few yards away behind a door with a new Secret Service agent on the watch shift -- than I was yesterday while trying to do my job. 

Yesterday several of us were standing out in a driveway in Mason City as Clinton rolled up to the home of Dean Genth and Gary Swenson -- one of the first gay couples to marry in Iowa -- for a campaign event with about 50 Democrats. 

There was no black "Scooby Van" this time. Clinton was in a smaller maroon minivan and she had the Secret Service pull her right up to the garage of the home in such a way that the vehicle shielded her and we could not even see her enter. 

As Clinton left the home, the minivan was a few yards out of the garage so we could actually see her and several of us shouted.  There was no time for a long question as she hopped into the van so I shouted, "Why won't you answer any questions?"

So we still have nothing new from her on the Clinton Foundation, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the email server, ISIS, policing in America, the Benghazi investigation, the $25 million earned by both Clintons in speeches in 2014. 

I will head out to the hallway in a few minutes. Maybe we'll run into each other at the ice machine?

Ed Henry currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) chief White House correspondent. He joined the network in June 2011.