Clinton in emails: Can I get the smiley faces?

October 30, 2015

If the thousands of pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails that are being released to the public don’t give out much about her inner thoughts, they have at least provided a peek into a few humorous moments when her aides had to explain technology or slang to the former secretary of state.

A batch of emails released Friday revealed Clinton’s struggle with emojis — the smiley, sad or frowning faces that are used, mostly by youngsters, to express emotion in text messages and emails.

“Here’s my question: on this new berry can I get smiley faces?” Clinton wrote in an April 3, 2012 email to communications aide Phillippe Reines, likely referring to having obtained a new BlackBerry smartphone. (Her request was in response to an email Reines had written apologizing for keeping her waiting.)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya October 18, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Reines was happy to oblige the boss and explain how to produce the little icons, answering 10 minutes later.

“For email, no, I don’t think so – you need to type them out manually like :  ) for happy, or :-I I if you want to express anger at my tardiness,” Reines responded.

He warned her that the process may be different when writing text messages.

“For text messaging, the chart might be there in the lower right, next to where you type the message,” Reines wrote. “If it’s not, I THINK that if you type :  ) it MIGHT automatically convert it into a symbol. Try it.”

Clinton didn’t write back with an expression indicating whether she had figured it out.

It wasn’t the first example of her struggling with technology and the use of slang.

In July, emails released by the State Department showed her inability to operate a fax machine.  And in September’s email release, Clinton asked her aides to explain “FUBAR” – a military acronym containing an expletive used to describe a situation that is messed up beyond repair.

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