PITTSBURGH -- In a late night discussion with the press, a beer-wielding Hillary Clinton mulled over the idea of challenging Barack Obama to a free-throw contest. Her idea came just hours after challenging Obama to a "bowl-off" during an April Fools' Day joke aimed at the press.
"He has already challenged me to basketball instead," Clinton said. "I know, I vaguely heard that from someone, and I said I'd have to train a while but I would take him on."
Clinton, who on occasion will visit the back of the plane (where the press sits), found comfort in discussing basketball after a long day of campaigning. The discussion unlocked memories of the "dark ages," as Clinton put it, of when she used to play the sport as a child.
"I had free throws down pat but they were all underhanded," Clinton admitted, pointing out "that's how I was raised to throw free throws."
"When I played basketball in the dark ages, young women could not play full-court basketball. So I would play full court basketball with my brothers and the boys in the neighborhood," Clinton said proudly.
Ever since the press began flying on the same airplane as Clinton, there have been discussions over whether her conversations on the plane should be off the record, meaning reporters could not report what she said. After several discussions, news organizations agreed that Clinton's comments should be reportable, same with Barack Obama, since both are public figures running for president.
And it is in these rare moments that both the press and the public get a glimpse at an unscripted, slightly unguarded candidate. But like everything else in an election, the visits have a purpose.
One campaign staffer admitted that Clinton's visits with the press help showcase her personal side, and her candid conversations allow the public to see a different side of her, including her wit and her personality. Her staff maintains that Clinton enjoys the visits and often does not alert them that she is making her way to the back of the plane, sending many of them scrambling out of their seats.
But whether her visits are calculated or not, they do offer the traveling press an opportunity to discuss a variety of topics outside of the campaign bubble and Clinton is rarely short of opinion. But sometimes these candid discussions leave the press scratching their heads like when Clinton was asked if she watched bowling on television, which led her to wax philosophically about the sociological wonders of the sport.
"Bowling alone you know, this is a big sociological phenomenon, bowling alone is a sign of our times, we could bring it back we could like transform the entire society. People would start joining leagues again they would feel a sense of community a sense of togetherness, exactly, bowling alleys everywhere on every corner, people setting pins again. End the automation, get the pin boy, there is no telling what could happen!"