The debacle around Mitt Romney and his awful comments about the 47% of voters who support President Obama is a prime example of why there should be regular communication between politicians and the media, because journalists will always try o get soundbytes when they are deprived of access or interviews with the prime candidates. If Romney was talking freely wit the press, on a regular basis, they wouldn't try to catch him out, and Mother Jones would perhaps not have got its 'scoop' of Romney being so ignorant and idiotic.
Candidates should hold press conferences quite regularly, for four main reasons.
First, the regularity would ensure that different subjects were covered in rotation up until the election. A good deal of time could be spent examining an issue and allowing the public to get a definite feel for how the candidate would deal with it. It would allow the public to also envisage that candidate in a 'presidential' capacity, dealing ad hoc with difficult questions, instead of someone just making speeches they have prepared and saying anything they believe the audience wants to hear, et saying conflicting things in private. It would definitely force them to keep on topic.
Second, these press conferences would give more information that would be unscripted. Currently, candidates seem to be saying only prepared stuff. But government doesn't work like that. Things are always happening out of the blue and a real president has to be ready to deal with them. Each candidate should have some idea of what those would be. The spontaneous nature of the press conference would help to tease out just who can cope with the unexpected scenarios from those who can't. Best of all, it would help candidates to become more adept at handling the press and becoming more articulate regarding their personal message.
Third, press conferences would force them to deal with relevant topics, not just what they perceive to matter, or what makes them look better in the public's eyes, but what actually matters to the public. Currently the economy is at its most dire point, and a lot of negative things are happening with foreign places. Those are issues people care about most: how they are going to keep their homes and feed their families and their own security. Yet Romney has not been addressing that at all, or is trying to score partisan points with foreign actions. It is easy to stick to a topic the candidate feels comfortable with - like abortion and repressing women's rights - while ignoring other important issues that one might feel weaker on. Having regular press conferences would help the candidates to be more skilled in dealing with a variety of issues. It would also remove them from their comfort zones and allow the public to judge them on their competence, confidence and versatility to lead.
Finally, it would mean less dependency on TV adverts, and a less exhausting schedule going from place to place to make contact with everyone every day. The two year American election campaign is far too long. In an ideal week, each candidate should have two major press conferences, two or three days of town hall speeches and two days of rest to be with their families to recharge their batteries. On the days they are not campaigning, the press conferences can be replayed to get the message out to even more people, especially for those new to the job, who are trying to impress their suitability on the nation.