Through heavily promoted interviews and a CNN town hall, Hillary Clinton’s answer to the will-you-or-won’t-you question about 2016 is no longer news, but an exercise in how she will tease the fact that she’s thinking about another run for the presidency.
On Thursday, as she accepted the William O. Douglas Award from legal advocacy organization Public Counsel, she came from behind a podium and paced back and forth before the crowd of about 1,500 that filled the Century Plaza Hotel ballroom.
“It’s been quite a journey for us,” she said, near the start of her speech. “I think we have a few more adventures still ahead.” The audience cheered.
Her new book may not sell as well as her last one, when she was a U.S. Senator, but the presidential speculation has given her book tour the glare of a campaign prelude. Earlier in the day, Clinton signed her book “Hard Choices” at The Grove, with Chris Colfer and Eric Braeden among those got their copies signed, but she did not give a speech.
At the Public Counsel event, she spent a big portion of her speech recounting the biographical details of her early legal career, including interning for Marian Wright Edelman as she was founding the Children’s Defense Fund and then working for the House Judiciary Committee working on articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon.
At a Q&A afterward, her interviewer Mary Steenburgen said she “briefly debated whether trying to act like a journalist” in her queries but then thought the better of it, given everything that has already been asked during the book tour.
Instead, her questions were more like two friends in a conversation of mutual admiration. Steenburgen recalled a time when Clinton was First Lady on vacation at Martha’ Vineyard, and they decided to take an impromptu trip in a paddle boat across a pond, the Secret Service agents struggling to catch up in their own boat. Asked how she handles the lack of privacy given the omnipresence of Secret Service, Clinton admitted that it was “different,” and even though the agents do try to give her space, she had moments of frustration.
“Every time I would get frustrated and I would say, ‘I’m done. I can’t do this. Give me something to sign to sign off of it,’ they would give me one of these indulgent sort of smiles and they would say say, ‘Well, OK, first you have to read our intelligence files and see what we’re following, and what the latest threats are, and what people are planning to do to you,'” Clinton said. “I would say ‘All right, all right. I got it.’ So you just kind of get used to it, and not worry about it too much.”
Clinton did insist that she’s not focused on making a decision about 2016, but on becoming a grandmother, with daughter Chelsea expecting this fall.
Saying she was trying to stay “in the moment,” she said, “I’ve already run for president once. Becoming a grandmother is totally new and different.”
Update: Before she went to the Public Counsel event, Clinton stopped by CAA in Century City and delivered brief remarks before a nearly full house in the agency’s theater, according to sources. CAA agent Michael Kives, who once worked for Bill Clinton, introduced her, and among those present were Katy Perry.
Perry tweeted that she offered to write Clinton’s campaign theme song “if she needs it.”