The occasion was the Clinton Global Initiative University, an event at Arizona State University heavy in talk of inspiration and public service.
A highlight was its closing session on Saturday, a rare on-stage joint interview with Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. But perhaps most unusual was the choice of the person to do the interview, Jimmy Kimmel.
“Chelsea’s parents couldn’t get a sitter, so they are here tonight,” he quipped when taking the stage and introducing the former President and former secretary of state.
Kimmel’s humor was not biting and often self-deprecating, and his questions were playful rather than probing. For instance, he asked how the Clintons became a “superfamily,” something that led Bill and Hillary Clinton to recall how they first met.
Those waiting for any indication of whether Hillary Clinton will run in 2016 had to settle for some of her words of inspiration.
“Too many people think if they don’t get something they have worked for right away, that they have failed, or it wasn’t meant to be, or they give up because they can’t bear the energy and disappointment of going on, when in fact it is the best time for you to learn about yourself and what you are capable of doing,” she said.
Kimmel did ask he why, as a 13-year-old, she called Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to complain about voter irregularities during the Kennedy campaign. Her answer: A social studies teacher had a bad experience voting, and she and others in the class made the calls from school.
The most pointed question came from a student in the audience, who mentioned the continued inequalities for women in the U.S.
“Mrs. Clinton, if you don’t represent women in America as a future president, who will?” she asked.
The question drew loud cheers and a standing ovation.
Clinton said, “I am very much concerned about the direction of our country. It is not just who runs for office but what they do when they get there, and how we bring people together, and in particular empower young people so we can tackle some of these hard problems.”
That wasn’t enough for Kimmel. “She wants an answer.”
Clinton, laughing, then said, echoing previous statements, “I am obviously thinking about all kinds of decisions.”
Kimmel then asked, “Should you wind up in the White House, will Chelsea get her old room back, or will you convert that into a home gym?”
There was no answer, but it did make her husband crack up.
The full interview is here.
Photo: A selfie on Jimmy Kimmel’s Twitter account.