Opinion | Hillary Clinton Says It’s Different This Time

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(SINGING) When you walk in a room, do you have sway.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

kara swisher

What’s it like to be Joe Biden right now? To find out, I called the one person who would know.

hillary clinton

Hello.

kara swisher

Hey.

hillary clinton

How are you?

kara swisher

Good. Good. How’s it going?

hillary clinton

You know, Groundhog Day every day.

kara swisher

It’s been four years since Hillary Clinton faced off against Donald Trump. Love her, hate her, she’s still one of the most polarizing figures in American politics, and she’s not even in politics anymore. She’s in her attic in Chappaqua, New York podcasting, just like me. Hillary, what are those things behind you, may I ask you? Are those home videos behind you?

hillary clinton

Yes, that’s like an ancient DVD collection.

kara swisher

I see that.

hillary clinton

Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, back in the day when those were the thing to have, we, I guess, sadly, collected a lot of them.

kara swisher

All right, they’re very — I like your — I give you a Room Rater eight, if you don’t mind.

hillary clinton

Well, Room Rater give me a 10, so you’re —

kara swisher

Oh, they did?

hillary clinton

You’re really out of it.

kara swisher

Mine is like a zero, so it doesn’t matter. Anyway, you’re a podcast star now, apparently, from what I understand.

hillary clinton

Or a podcaster, anyway.

kara swisher

Who would you really like to interview? I’m thinking Trump. You’ve got to do Trump, right?

hillary clinton

No, never. I would never.

kara swisher

Never? What are you talking — why not?

hillary clinton

Because I wanted — I like to talk to people that I’m interested in and admire, and I don’t find him interesting or admirable.

kara swisher

He’s like your arch enemy. You wouldn’t want to do that?

hillary clinton

Not at all. I’ll let you do that. I’ll let you do that. I’ll put in any word for you to get him in the chair, so to speak. I would love to interview Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Ardern because I want to keep lifting up what it means to be a woman in power. You know, 25 years ago, obviously, I said women’s rights are human rights, and we had a rights agenda, and we’ve made progress in a number of areas, both here and globally, but we’re still behind when it comes to business and the economy, politics, and government security and peace. So I would like to do what I can to lift up people who’ve been on the frontlines and try to acclimate American voters to the idea of a woman president.

kara swisher

Agreed. So we have a ton of stuff to talk about.

hillary clinton

Good.

kara swisher

I just reread again your piece in “Foreign Policy,” I read your “Atlantic” piece again. You’re all over the place.

hillary clinton

Well, I got a lot of time on my hands.

kara swisher

Hillary Clinton, colon, she has a lot of time on her hands. You know, you talk a lot about power recently. A lot of your pieces a bit about power. What is it like now to be in a position without levers of power?

hillary clinton

Well, I think I have a really powerful voice. I just shot a video supporting women in Belarus. I just tweeted out against the violence in Nigeria because people called me. So I have a global standing. I feel very good about what I can do.

kara swisher

OK. So what’s it like not to be campaigning this time around, and what were you doing four years ago?

hillary clinton

You know, four years ago, it was, obviously, the final sprint to the end. We were feeling good about our campaign. And it’s hard to compare what’s happening in 2020 with what happened in 2016, or really, any campaign before then. So I think about that a lot, because I’m Zooming all over the place to raise money, to do events, to talk to voters and all, but it’s not the same feeling of just exhilaration and anxiety that you feel toward the end of a long campaign.

kara swisher

You thought you were going to win. You felt like —

hillary clinton

Absolutely thought I was going to win. So did everybody else. I mean, I know people look back now and say, well, it wasn’t — we were going to win. We were absolutely going to win. And I think the principal reason why we ended up not winning those three states that we thought we were going to win was the Comey letter, because we could literally chart what happened from before and after, and we could see polling, and we knew we were dropping. I thought that I had stopped the drop, that it had hit the bottom. But we also learned afterwards how people were searching on Google trying to make sense of it, what did it mean. So there was a lot of voter angst as well.

kara swisher

So why was there that angst, though? I mean, because, in some cases, Biden’s getting different kinds of attacks, whether it’s his son or something else. Why did it work with you, do you think?

hillary clinton

Well, I think it worked with me because it was the first time. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. And I think a lot of voters aren’t going to be fooled again. You know, there were academic studies done afterwards, lots of them, about why people ended up not voting for me, and it was shocking what they believed. I mean, the disinformation was incredibly pervasive. And one very influential piece of totally false news was Pope Francis had endorsed Trump. And where did they get that? They got that delivered in their Facebook feeds. And one was that I was dying. I was constantly dying.

kara swisher

Still not dead?

hillary clinton

Yeah. I’m still so far as I know, walking and talking and breathing. But you could just see how intense the disinformation campaign was, and it was something people had never experienced before.

kara swisher

So when you think about it, do you blame yourself for anything, then, or do you feel like it was just this train that’s headed right towards you?

hillary clinton

Look, I mean, I tried to take responsibility, ultimately, it was my campaign, but we were facing unprecedented challenges, and those are not unprecedented anymore. I mean, the Russians interfered. Who believed it? We couldn’t get people to believe it. Everybody now knows it happened, and we’re being told it is happening right now in real-time. And I think people are, as I said, more on alert, willing to entertain the possibility that maybe something they’re seeing is not accurate. The social media platforms, particularly Facebook, were oblivious or negligent in what they let on and had no real standards for any level of accuracy. So there were just a lot of pieces of this perfect storm that were at work, and that’s what was going on then. It is still going on. I mean, if you still look at shared pieces on Facebook, they’re all aimed at people using sophisticated targeting to try to influence how they feel about Joe Biden, for example. But now, I just think this has been in the atmosphere, people are more aware, and I don’t think they’re as easily manipulated as they were before.

kara swisher

Right. But it never ends too, because after Trump pressed him, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, job that you used to have, announced that the State Department would work to release your emails again — “but the emails.” What is going to be in those emails?

hillary clinton

Nothing. Nothing. That’s the point. There never was anything. One of the great mysteries of this whole nonsense was, if you read them — they’re posted online. They’ve been released. They’re out there in the domain, all the work emails. There’s nothing in them, but what they do is they take these emails that were, frankly, pretty boring if you want to really know the truth about them, and they begin to try to manipulate them, or they pull them out of context, or they make up whole cloth crazy stories about them. And people, unfortunately, believe they’re getting kind of a behind the scenes look. Like, oh, this is an email, and oh, all of a sudden, they’re talking about cheese on pizza. Well, maybe that is a secret message. Then you have a whole cottage industry of these conspirators.

kara swisher

So with these emails, when you heard that he was going to do that, what did you think?

hillary clinton

I thought pathetic. It’s pathetic. Yeah, it’s pathetic.

kara swisher

One of the things that’s still amazing, though, is you are continually invoked at Trump rallies. You’re even in an ad for your old friend Lindsey Graham. How do you still feel that it still works? Why does it work with you? It does. I have relatives who are like, Hillary Clinton’s blah, and I’m like, she ain’t running. She’s a suburban housewife at this point. So like, I mean —

hillary clinton

Well, no, I think there are several factors. I think that Trump and a lot of the people around him know that his victory was not on the up and up. They had an extensive campaign to suppress black voters. We now know much more about that than we did. They had third party candidates boosted, particularly by Russian media. And the lies and ridiculous stories made up about me were meant to either keep you at home, or drive you third party if they couldn’t get you to vote for Trump. So there is an air of illegitimacy that surrounds Trump’s presidency, and that just infuriates them. It makes them crazy. And that’s a big piece of it. So they have to keep striking out at me, because —

kara swisher

Why you?

hillary clinton

Why? Because I was the candidate that they basically stole an election from. I was the candidate who won nearly three million more votes. So no matter how they cut it, it wasn’t the kind of win that people said, “OK, it wasn’t my candidate, but OK.” This election is still front and center in people’s psyches. And people fight about it every day online, because there is a deep sense of unfairness and just dismissiveness toward his victory, and he knows it. So part of what he’s doing by attacking me is trying to shore up himself. The other thing is they’ve been attacking me on the right for 30 years.

kara swisher

Well, you did talk about a vast —

hillary clinton

Yeah, vast right-wing conspiracy. There nothing new about their relentless attacks on me. Sadly, the internet amplified it to the point that people ended up believing some of the stuff. Like, oh my God, I couldn’t vote for her, because oh my gosh, Pizzagate, or whatever other crazy conspiracy theory.

kara swisher

You were a lizard at one point, I think.

hillary clinton

A lizard. I mean, I’ve murdered countless people. You can’t even keep track of all of them. And that kind of craziness is baked into the Republican right in this point in our history. So if you have been inflaming people to believe the worst about somebody, then calling up that name, using that shibboleths is a way of getting the base that you’re trying to turn out to be responsive. But I think there’s also a third element, and that is the combination of my being an effective woman who went further than any woman has gone. And there is something deeply unsettling to a strata of American voters about a woman getting that close to being president. So I see it in some of these articles where reporters go out and they interview somebody who said, “Well, I voted for Trump last time, but I’m voting for Biden today.” And you get comments like some of my personal favorites, like, “Well, you know, the girl wanted to be in charge, and that that troubled me.”

kara swisher

Is that their voice?

hillary clinton

Yeah. I’m making the voice. So there is this combination of my having been attacked by the right for so long, my being a woman, being someone who is unapologetic about what I believe, where I stand, and so forth, that is just infuriating. Why, of all the governors who he was picking fights with, did he zero in on Gretchen Whitmer? Why?

kara swisher

Why?

hillary clinton

Why? Because she’s an attractive young woman who stood up to him. And you just look at the unfortunate continuity of sexism and misogyny. We’ve made progress, don’t get me wrong, but the cultural biases about women making tough decisions in the American political system is a sure fire way to raise doubt or to throw red meat to people who agree with you.

kara swisher

Do you fear if Trump wins? The possibility they would try to take legal action against you? And you know he’s pressuring the attorney general to look at Joe Biden. Do you feel any fear yourself?

hillary clinton

No. I don’t feel any fear, because I know there’s no basis for any of it. But it’s expensive, it’s annoying, it’s an abuse of power, it’s a misuse of the justice system. So it’s a massive diversion, but it takes time, energy, and resources to defend yourself, and nobody wants that.

kara swisher

Do you feel that if he wins, that will continue? Are you under any worries that that will manifest itself?

hillary clinton

Look, I mean, I can’t entertain the idea of him winning, so let’s just preface it by that.

kara swisher

You can’t?

hillary clinton

No. It would cause cognitive dissonance of a grave degree.

kara swisher

Why is that?

hillary clinton

Well, because it makes me literally sick to my stomach to think that we’d have four more years of this abuse and destruction of our institutions, and damaging of our norms and our values, and lessening of our leadership, and the list goes on. But there’s no doubt that he would do everything he could to attack and punish anyone who was, in his view, an adversary. And he would be aided and abetted, sadly, by both elected and appointed officials. So of course, one of the most important accomplishments that I hope we see in this election is a Democratic Senate, where that would be the check that we would need against further abuse of power. I don’t think he has any boundaries at all, Kara. I don’t think he has any conscience. He’s obviously not a moral, truthful man. So he will do whatever he can to lift himself up. And remember, as I said, he lives with this specter of illegitimacy. He knows more about how he got really elected than we still do. Hopefully, we’ll learn more in the years ahead. [MUSIC PLAYING]

kara swisher

Time for a quick break. By the way, if you like what you’re hearing, go to your podcast app and hit Subscribe. You’ll see any episodes you’ve missed and get future episodes automatically. More with Hillary Clinton when we come back. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Were you hoping it was going to be Biden in the end or someone else?

hillary clinton

I thought as the primary unfolded that it became clearer and clearer, if you were looking at underlying data, as I was, that Biden would have the best chance of winning, of beating Trump, and that was just because after a very slow start, he had really picked up and was winning primaries, and was demonstrating real strength where he needed to. So I didn’t endorse anybody. I was just watching it from the sidelines, but it did seem as though he would be the candidate.

kara swisher

Why was that?

hillary clinton

Well, I think part of it was because, sadly, whereas my experience in 2016 could be kind of pocketed and ignored, after seeing the train wreck that Trump was, experience actually counted for something, and here was a guy who’d been in the White House for eight years and understood how government was supposed to work. And so that was reassuring. And he had positions that the vast majority of Democrats really resonated with, and he looked like somebody who could pick up independent votes, maybe even some Republican votes, because there had been a growing rejection of Trumpism by traditional Republicans, you know, The Lincoln Project, never Trumpers, those kind of people. So you put it all together, it looked, to me, as he moved toward locking up the nomination, that he would be in a strong position. Now, nobody could figure out what would happen with the pandemic. That was unprecedented. And the way he’s handled it compared to Trump, I think, has also increased the comfort that people have with him and the feeling that he’s a safe choice. We are advantaged, unfortunately, by four years of a record from Trump being the president.

kara swisher

Did you want a woman candidate? There has been many more than ever before in the group.

hillary clinton

Right. I thought it was great. I mean, I’ve obviously talked to most of them. I’ve talked to most of the candidates before they got in, and I talked to a lot of them as the primary went on. When it started to narrow down, a couple of them called and asked if I had any thoughts about how they could distinguish themselves, set themselves apart from the rest of the field, try out some debate kind of questions and answers.

kara swisher

Who was that? Was it Senator Harris?

hillary clinton

I talked to all of the candidates who got through the initial obstacles, other than probably Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard, I think. But I talked to everybody else. So yeah, I mean, Pete Buttigieg asked about how to keep morale up in the campaign, how to keep people on mission, but still supporting each other. I talked to Elizabeth Warren several times about policy, what was going to really sell. The economic policy that she was promoting or the health care policy. I mean, it was just it was all kinds of — Deval Patrick coming to see me when he decided he was going to get in late. And I said, “You’re getting in really late,” I mean, there wasn’t much else to say, because he’s a very talented candidate, if he had gotten in earlier. I mean it was just a lot of that, and it was great. I mean, I enjoyed talking to all — obviously, I was pleased that there were more than one woman on the stage, because the only way we’re going to enhance and increase the power and the electability of women is to have more of them out there to normalize the experience, so it’s not just one person that everybody’s focused on.

kara swisher

So speaking of women, what is your role in the campaign right now? You spoke at the convention, but you’ve not been as present. What have you been doing yourself?

hillary clinton

Oh my god, I’ve been raising lots and lots of money, primarily for Biden, but I did event with Nancy Pelosi for House members. I did an event last night with Tim Kaine for electing senators. I’ve done individual events. When I finish with you, I’m going to go do an event raising money for Democratic attorneys generals. I have spent an enormous amount of time doing virtual events of all sorts.

kara swisher

And what about ads? Did you want to participate in ads or things like that?

hillary clinton

No. I don’t — no. Never crossed my mind.

kara swisher

All right, so if Biden does win, because you can’t entertain a Trump victory —

hillary clinton

I can’t.

kara swisher

Would you want a job in the administration?

hillary clinton

No, I don’t want a job. I just want to be able to exhale. I mean, I want Biden and Harris elected. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to Kamala, and I think she’s going to be terrific. I can’t wait for her to be there. I think that’s a huge step forward. I answer any questions they have. I provide any information that they need. I’m going to do everything I possibly can do to help them be successful, because that’s really the most important thing now.

kara swisher

But you don’t want a job, like as you did in —

hillary clinton

I don’t want an actual job.

kara swisher

So when you’re thinking about your role, then, it’s to be a counselor, like, to be — not officially, but to be there to answer questions to the next administration coming in.

hillary clinton

Yeah, I’ve written a couple of articles. I wrote a “Foreign Affairs” article because I think it’s very important. And I believe, from my conversations with the campaign’s policy team, that they’re really going to want to figure out how to integrate what I call domestic renewal into not just a national agenda, but an international one. And there’s just a lot of great opportunities. That’s what I see more than anything. But knowing the system as I know, it it’s going to have to be so fast, to get organized, to get up and running, to get into the Congress. And we need a Democratic Senate to put a check on Trump if the worse were to happen, but equally importantly, to help Biden get things done quickly so people can see government works.

kara swisher

All right, so let’s talk about that. What would be — if elected, what should he do immediately?

hillary clinton

Well, I think that all is starting right now. The transition operation is up and going, and it’s very robust. And they need to have literally outlines of legislation written. He’s going to have to keep his promise about health care, put in a public option, move quickly, and depending on what happens in the Supreme Court, either save or resurrect the Affordable Care Act. He’s going to have to get an economic stimulus. Mitch McConnell, for all of his reasons, won’t do what Nancy Pelosi knows needs to be done. They’re going to have to do it, because people are going to — by that time, Kara, they will have run out of money. They will be hungry. It’s going to be a very sad and important obligation that he has to get moving on quickly to help people out of dire straits.

kara swisher

And what about the persistent influence of Trump, then, during that time period? Because he will still have power, presumably?

hillary clinton

Well, none of what I’ve just said can be done until we have a new Congress.

kara swisher

I mean, once he’s out, he still will have power.

hillary clinton

Yeah, but who cares anymore? I mean, I predict to you —

kara swisher

I don’t know. OK.

hillary clinton

I’ll predict to you —

kara swisher

Predict, please.

hillary clinton

I will. That he will maintain his hard core support, but his influence will be so diminished, because most Republicans are going to want to close the page. They have been cowards, spineless enablers of him. They want to see him gone as much as we do, but they can’t say it publicly. So I think he will have little to no influence. Now, will he be able to rile people up and all the rest of it, yeah, but he’ll also be facing all kinds of investigations, particularly at the New York state level.

kara swisher

Would you say, lock him up?

hillary clinton

No, I would never say that.

kara swisher

All right, OK.

hillary clinton

I believe in the rule of law, unlike some of these people.

kara swisher

OK, so court, and investigations, and that kind of stuff.

hillary clinton

Well, they’re ongoing. They’re going. I mean, he’s going to be fighting over his taxes, he’s going to be fighting over whatever else is revealed about business practices that Michael Cohen —

kara swisher

Rough road for Donald Trump, you foresee.

hillary clinton

I think it will be, and his family and his businesses. And the debt’s going to come due. He owes that foreign $420 million to somebody. And when he no longer is president, where’s he going to get the funding to pay that back? I mean are the billionaires who’ve been funding him to cause havoc in our country and lower their taxes, are they going to step up and help him? I wouldn’t be sure of that if I were him.

kara swisher

OK, what about foreign policy? And do you have an idea of who should be Secretary of State?

hillary clinton

I don’t have an idea. I mean, that’s totally whoever he’s comfortable with and —

kara swisher

Someone suggested Barack Obama for the first time yeah.

hillary clinton

Yeah, I don’t think that the former president would do that on a bet. He’s got a lot of other irons in the fire.

kara swisher

All right. What is the first country you want Biden administration to repair relations with?

hillary clinton

I think that — look, he’s going to have to reassure our European and our Asian allies. I mean, we have treaties, we have all kinds of important alliance obligations that this administration has basically thrown up. We’ve got to pay attention to the adversaries who have been given free reign under Trump, Putin, and Xi Jinping, and Erdogan, and others. And if you look at how we’re going to have to recalibrate the China relationship so that we can, yes, do business with them, but also, try to work to limit their aggressiveness, I mean, taking over Hong Kong, threatening Taiwan. And to counter their influence. They’re spending enormous amounts of money, building infrastructure, buying friends across the world, across Asia and Africa and into Europe. And I think that you have to try to deal with whatever is most urgent. Because there’s no way, sitting here today, we can predict that. I mean —

kara swisher

You did discuss China as the primary adversary.

hillary clinton

That is the most consequential of the relationships. There’s no doubt about it.

kara swisher

How do you assess the way the Trump administration has dealt with China? They have taken aim at China, but it’s mostly commies are bad, essentially.

hillary clinton

It’s incoherent, inconsistent, unsuccessful. I mean, the tariffs have hurt Americans more than they’ve hurt the Chinese. The Chinese have now basically gotten back on the path to economic recovery because they, after lying about it, dealt with the virus effectively. So the Chinese are open for business, and we aren’t, so we’re going to have to fix our own house in order to be as effective in dealing with the Chinese, and we’re going to have to make it clear that we’re back in the region. They’re not going to take over the South China Sea, they’re not going to decide the future of South Korea, or the Philippines, or Taiwan without us being involved.

kara swisher

Are they our major rival at this point?

hillary clinton

They are our major rival, but there are other adversaries. Obviously, Russia is interfering all over the place, and it’s our most threatening adversary in cyberspace. We know that. China’s not far behind. The Iranians are pretty good. The North Koreans, even, are getting up there. But Russia remains the most aggressive and threatening in the gray zone of cyberspace.

kara swisher

And obviously, you have a long relationship with Vladimir Putin, I guess.

hillary clinton

Apparently.

kara swisher

Apparently. What is his fate? What do you think his fate is under a Biden administration?

hillary clinton

I think he has to face some consequences for his attack on our country, because that’s what happened in 2016. And from what even the Trump people say, it still is happening. We don’t know everything that they’re going to do yet in 2020, Kara. I worry a lot about that. The disinformation, as I said earlier, may not be quite as powerful and effective as it was in 2016, but we don’t know how they’re going to play in the actual election operations, and there’s a lot of speculation about that. So a Biden president is going to have to try to figure out how to hold them accountable. I mean, even this administration, the Justice Department just indicted a bunch of Russians for stuff they had done trying to influence the election in France. You’ve got to have a clear message to Putin that, OK, the good times are over. There is so much about him that could very well be brought to light. A lot of people think he’s the richest man in the world because that’s how you do business when you’re Vladimir Putin and you decide which oligarch will live or die, and part of it is how much they pay you off. He has suffered very little in terms of consequences for his rampage of poisoning, most recently with Navalny. I mean you can’t let that go unchecked.

kara swisher

So accountability for Putin?

hillary clinton

Yeah, a lot of accountability for Putin, and the kind of accountability that will hurt him personally, not just try to sanction Russian oligarchs.

kara swisher

Take away his money, is what you’re saying.

hillary clinton

Or at least expose it more, because there’s a lot to be learned.

kara swisher

So one of the things that the Biden administration would also face was the Democratic Party going forward. The Republican Party has a reckoning of its own. It’s changed a lot since 2016. What do you think of this shift?

hillary clinton

I don’t see it as that big a shift. I mean, I really don’t. I think that, first of all, Biden’s overwhelming primary victory shows where the bulk of the Democratic Party still is, but I think it needs to have an injection of new ideas and new leadership at all levels. And that is happening, but that’s kind of evolutionary rather than revolutionary. There will be a lot of debate, as there should be, over how to proceed on health care. Biden has made it very clear how he wishes to proceed. And I think that’s where the votes are. I don’t think they are for a total government takeover of the health care system.

kara swisher

So you don’t see sort of civil war within the Democratic Party that many are expecting?

hillary clinton

Look, I think there will be a lot of jumping up and down and pointing fingers and making demands. That’s kind of predictable.

kara swisher

But should that be avoided, or is that a healthy thing for that to happen?

hillary clinton

Yes, it’s very healthy. I mean, look, Obama tried to get a public option on health care and was stopped by Democrats. Now, he won’t be stopped by Democrats. I mean, that’s a huge change in just — it’s too long for a lot of people, including me, but in a relatively short period of time. I also think that if the Supreme Court goes as far right as it’s predicted it could with this new nominee, there’s going to be an enormous amount of damage control and fixing things. I mean, when you have two sitting Justices, Thomas and Alito, saying, the Obergefell decision was wrongly decided, and we’re going to turn the clock back on gay marriage. We’re going to have our hands full, because the legacy of the Trump administration is going to live on, not with him so much as in the courts that he has packed with right-wing Federalist judges. And so I think that a lot of the pent up energy that you’ll see in the Democratic Party is going to go toward both preventing harm and trying to fix the harm that the courts are going to permit, and trying to push the envelope as far as possible.

kara swisher

Do you believe there should be a larger Supreme Court?

hillary clinton

I haven’t really thought that through. I don’t have an opinion on that. I think that that’s going to be a decision that Biden is going to have to address, because he’s not going to want to lift a lot of heavy loads to get expanded health care and other climate change action, environmental protections, all the things that he has said he wants to do, which this court could very well upend. He’s not going to want that to happen. Now, what is the best way to deal with that? I think a lot of scholars, academics are looking at a bunch of different approaches.

kara swisher

Right, but you don’t have an opinion on that right now?

hillary clinton

Not right now, I don’t.

kara swisher

What about the Republican Party? Republican strategist Stuart Stevens said the GOP should burn it all down after Trump. Would you agree?

hillary clinton

Well, if he loses, as I expect he will, and if the Democrats take back the Senate, as I expect they will, then I think that’s probably really good advice, because he’s done so much damage to the brand, particularly with young people. There is just reams of evidence about how young people are really appalled by what they see as the intolerance and the mean-spiritedness and hatefulness that comes from Trump, and is echoed, unfortunately, by a number of others. And so if they expect to have a future, they’re going to have to do a lot of changing.

kara swisher

So speaking of future, Biden is 77, Trump is 74. When you were on the ballot, you were 69, I think. Should we ever think age limits for president and bring in younger candidates?

hillary clinton

No. I don’t believe in any limits. I don’t believe in term limits.

kara swisher

There one on the young end.

hillary clinton

Well, but — yeah, you’ve got to be 35, but no, I don’t think that we should either lower the age or end the age. People should be able to vote for whoever they want to vote, and that should be respected.

kara swisher

But the idea of bringing into a whole new crop of people — I want you to tell me who you think are the most promising candidates going forward in both parties.

hillary clinton

Look I, first of all, don’t think that’s the way to think about it. I think that voters are the ultimate judges of that. It doesn’t matter what you or I think. If voters are comfortable with Joe Biden, or if they were comfortable with Bernie Sanders, who’s older, then that’s their choice. Some people may say, hey, that’s not a particularly defensible choice, but that’s what voters get to do. And so I am not in any way for or against any particular age cutoff. I think what you’ve got to look for are people who have ideas, energy, and the practical experience to get stuff done. I mean, it doesn’t do any good to just rhetorically engage in what you’d like to see changed if you had a magic wand. That’s not the way democracy. Works that’s not the way compromise, which should be respected in a democracy, not ridiculed, will work. So if people want to be in the arena, tell them to get in the arena.

kara swisher

So who is promising? If you were to pick two promising candidates going forward, who do you look at in each party? I’m going to force you to pick some Republicans.

hillary clinton

Yeah, and I’m not going to — I’m not going to play that game. I mean, look, if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are president and vice president, by definition, Kamala has a huge stage, a global stage. And she’s young, she’s vibrant, dynamic. I think people are really going to be very drawn to her. And so we don’t know who’s going to emerge. We don’t know who’s going to have the guts to run. I mean, it’s really — it’s an ordeal. You get out there, and they lie about you, and hurl all kinds of accusations. You’ve got to be ready for that. You have to have really thick skin.

kara swisher

All right if you’re not going to give me names of promising young candidates or older candidates, how about this prediction, when will America have a woman president, and who is it, if you had to guess?

hillary clinton

I think it’s natural to assume that when Biden doesn’t run again, or if he runs again and is not successful, that the person who is likely to step forward is the vice president. I mean, that kind of is the way things work. Does that mean she’d be the only woman who run? No. I think the women who ran this time, I think that Elizabeth, and Kirsten, and Amy, and maybe Gretchen, and all kinds of other women are going to step up too. And there are a bunch of women running for the Senate right now. If we elect more women senators from Maine and Iowa, for example, there may be going to throw themselves into the ring. I assume the Republicans will be looking at Nikki Haley and maybe some others along that line to run. So I don’t know. I do know that it remains a challenge for women to break that highest and hardest glass ceiling. In this past primary season, none of the women won any caucus or primary, and so this is not going to happen easily or quickly. So we’ll see.

kara swisher

When writing about your famous quote, “women’s rights are human rights,” you said, “rights are important, but nothing without the power to claim them. It’s about power, who has it, who doesn’t, how we confront the imbalance.” And you noted that a lot of countries that did best in the pandemic were led by women, whether it was Jacinda Ardern, Angela Merkel. You think a woman president in the United States would handle the pandemic better?

hillary clinton

I have no doubt, especially if it were me. No, I mean, I was born for that. I mean, that’s why I knew I’d be a good president. I was ready for crises and emergencies, and I would have done what you see these women leaders doing. You listen to the science. You bring in people in a open, inclusive way. You communicate constantly, you make the case by explaining why what you’re doing is in the long-term interests, not only of health, but also, of the economy. Yeah, I have no doubt in my mind at all that I would have stepped up to that crisis.

kara swisher

You’ve had so many chapters of your life, it’s really interesting. But your last one was your relationship with Trump and this sort of face-off, essentially. I feel like I’m in that movie, that John Travolta, Nicolas Cage movie. What do you — how do you look at that relationship? Do you feel like that’s going to be sort of historically a defining relationship or moment for you?

hillary clinton

Well, I think I live rent-free in his head. He does not live rent-free in my head, because I have very little regard for him. And I believe that he has been a disastrous president and has caused a lot of harm to what I care about in our country and around the world. So I don’t really think about him much, other than to do what I can to defeat him, because that, I think, is an existential crisis that we face. He’s a very hollow man. He has very little of interest to me. So I’m not thinking about him other than to try to retire him as quickly as we can.

kara swisher

And what is the word you would use to people to vote the way you want them to vote right now?

hillary clinton

I think I’d go back to what Trump said at the end of the 2016 election, which often gets overlooked. What do you have to lose? And we now know that we have a lot to lose, our health, our lives, our jobs, our livelihoods, the quality of our air, our water. We have a lot to lose. And there isn’t a person in this country, regardless of how they describe themselves in support or not of Trump, who doesn’t have something to lose from four more years of Trump.

kara swisher

All right, on that note, thank you so much, Secretary Clinton.

hillary clinton

OK. Take care.

kara swisher

All right, bye.

hillary clinton

Bye-bye. [MUSIC PLAYING]

kara swisher

Sway is a production of New York Times Opinion. It’s produced by Nayeema Raza, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong, and Vishakha Darbha. Edited by Adam Teicholz and Paula Szuchman, with music and sound design by Isaac Jones. Fact checking by Kate Sinclair. Special Thanks to Ezekiel Kweku, Liriel Higa, and Kathy Tu. If you’re in a podcast app already, you know how to subscribe to a podcast, so subscribe to this one. If you’re listening on The Times website and want to get a new episode of “Sway” delivered to you, with one of Hillary’s emails, of course, download a podcast app like Stitcher or Google Podcast then search for “Sway” and hit Subscribe. We release every Monday and Thursday. [MUSIC PLAYING]



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