Former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry thinks Hillary Clinton would make a fine president but doesn’t think she could do a thing to curb the gridlock in Washington, McCurry told Good Morning America.
“We’ve got the first black president and we’ve got the same gridlock in Washington and that would not change if Mrs. Clinton got elected,” said McCurry, who served under Bill Clinton from 1995 to 1998. “She’d go through an exhausting campaign, arrive in office at age 67 and have limited prospects of getting things done.”
He believes Clinton would sacrifice the next several years for Washington, which takes a toll on any family. Because of that, he advised careful consideration of a White House run.
Now 59, McCurry looks back on his years in the White House with fondness, but says he’s happy it’s in the past. The married father of three college students
now works as a Washington-based communications consultant and serves as a co-chairman on the Commission on Presidential Debates. He also is a professor of religion and politics at the Wesley Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Arts last year.
He also suggested Democrats drop their hesitation to talk about God and faith.
Democrats, he advised, should not be so afraid of showing religious convictions, adding that “people in politics should reflect their faith.”
“We should not assume that to be religious means you’re conservative and Republican,” he said. “I think we should all look towards Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from Birmingham Jail, which is a letter written to white pastors about why they should use their faith in the name of political change. That’s the kind of example I think Democrats have lost sight of in recent years.”
McCurry steered clear of seeming critical of the Obama White House, especially when asked about the administration’s reputation of being “secretive” and notably “contentious with the press.”
There seems to exist “a great deal of contention on which information matters most,” he opined, exacerbating the natural push and pull of the press corps and the White House.
“There are two ways of dealing with the press corps at the White House,” McCurry explained. “One is to beat them into submission. And the other is to recognize is that they’re there, and they have an important purpose and you better figure out a professional working relationship. Every White House, probably even me, I went back and forth between those two models on many given days. But when the relationship becomes too acrimonious, it’s not good for the American people. Everyone’s interests, in theory, are aligned.”
Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney, and those who will succeed him, deal with a far different environment than McCurry or his predecessors, he said. Not only has technology changed the landscape for how the government provides information to the public, the definition of the mainstream media has undergone a vast transformation.
“There’s no longer kind of a controlling group of major media that set the tone for everyone else,” he explained.
And the tone is much more polarizing than even during the contentious Clinton years, he noted.
“I think, perhaps the two things are related to each other,” McCurry said. “I think the way in which the media has changed and the national audience has disaggregated into various camps. When I talk to some of my successors, people like Jay Carney or Robert Gibbs or Dana Perino, I am struck by how different the job of the White House Press Secretary is now than what it was then.”
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