What to call it? Engagement, spontaneity, non-defensiveness, phrase-making that sounds fresh, no matter how many times she says them. I can still quote lines from her 2012 senate campaign speeches.
Watching Hillary answering reporters' questions about her emails just brought back all that I found wanting in her 2008 campaign. Somehow the warm, caring Hillary that people know from personal contact gets lost when she faces a crowd from behind a microphone. She retreats to that chin-up pose, looking out above the crowd, not at them, talking down from a lofty perch, like a policy wonk.
Hillary's phrases sound canned, her emotions stilted, rather than felt. Probing questions provoke a defensiveness; and, no matter how cool she remains, she retreats behind the shield of talking at
people rather engaging with them.
Here is another picture of Elizabeth Warren, showing her being in the moment with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).
Nothing about Elizabeth Warren sounds stilted or canned. She always speaks as though she's in the moment and fully engaged with you, personally. Notice in both pictures how she leans forward, animated even while listening, while Hillary pulls back behind a mask and a defensive wall.
Clearly it comes from a level of comfort and style that Elizabeth feels and, apparently, Hillary does not. I am not for a moment suggesting that Hillary doesn't care or doesn't feel comfortable with people. But she needs to find some way to let that side of her be present on the podium as well as in person. Unfortunately, it's probably not something you can learn.
Hillary is still my choice for our next president -- not perfect but more right than anyone else that is likely to win and be able to govern. I just wish she had a better style of communicating on the campaign trail.