Clintons talk policy (not so much candidacy) with Jimmy Kimmel
March 22nd, 2014
11:56 PM ET
4 years ago

Clintons talk policy (not so much candidacy) with Jimmy Kimmel

(CNN) - Not even Jimmy Kimmel can get her to spill the beans.

Hillary and Bill Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, joined the comedian and late night talk show host for the final night of the Clinton Global Initiative University conference, discussing everything from campaign trail stories to trade policy, to the inevitable question: Will Hillary run in 2016?

"I appreciate the sentiment," she said to a standing ovation. "I am very much concerned about the direction of our country,” adding, "It's not just who runs for office" but what they do once they get there.

As the former senator and secretary of state trailed off, Kimmel interrupted her, saying, "She wants an answer,” referring to the student who had asked the question, “If Clinton won't represent women in American politics, who will?”

"I'm getting to it," Clinton shot back with a laugh.

The final verdict?

"I'm obviously thinking about all kinds of decisions," she said with a smile - before changing the subject to the prospect of grandchildren, an ongoing source of lighthearted chatter with her daughter.

While Kimmel couldn't get a 2016 answer, he did manage to snag a selfie with the Clinton family.

The evening was meant to be a capstone for the thousands of college students in attendance, after a long weekend of speeches and panels focusing on higher education and other issues facing the so-called millennial generation, those born in the early 1980s and into the 2000s.

The evening even started with some stand-up.

"Chelsea's parents couldn't get a sitter, so they're here tonight," said Kimmel, introducing the former president and his wife.

There was also the moment Kimmel asked the Clintons how they would have reacted if Chelsea told them she was a Republican.

"I'd say it'd been nice knowing her," quipped Hillary.

To the audience's delight, there were also competing accounts of how Bill and Hillary first met in Yale Law School.

Bill remembers an "interesting-looking woman" in one of his classes that he used to admire from afar - until one day she came up to him in the library and said, "If you're going to keep staring at me and I'm going to keep staring back, we should at least know each other's name. I'm Hillary Rodham. Who are you?"

Hillary remembers first hearing of a "Bill Clinton" when she was in the student lounge with friends and overheard someone say, "And not only that, we grow the biggest watermelons in the world."

"Who is that?" she asked her friends, who replied, "That's Bill Clinton, he's from Arkansas, and that's all he ever talks about."

"I think it's clear obviously where I came from," joked Chelsea. "I'm just incredibly grateful to watermelons and vending machines in the Yale Law library."

But there were moments of serious reflection and hard policy talk as well.

In a long talk about failures and successes, Chelsea shared one of the family's mantras: "It's always better to get caught trying."

Big policy debates were on the table as well. Hillary argued that climate change will be the biggest issue facing today's young people when they are her age, while Bill highlighted the global unemployment rates that have hit youth especially and the impact advances in technology and productivity have had on diminishing labor.

Bill also pointed to the growing polarization of America and how it has affected the country.

"We are getting rid of all our prejudices. We're not as racist, as sexist, as homophobic as we used to be. We have one remaining bigotry: We do not want to be around anybody who disagrees with us," he said. "I personally think that's not a good thing," arguing the differing perspectives and passionate arguments only make the country stronger.

For all the problems discussed, the Clinton family was optimistic about the future. Speaking to an audience of student leaders, they argued that millennials will make extraordinary strides for the better.

"[Millennials] are actually more active in participating in all kinds of activities," said Hillary, who spent several minutes taking "selfies" and shaking hands with students after the program. If Clinton does run in 2016, the youth vote will be critical to her winning the nomination or presidency.

Above all else, though, the evening was a window into the private lives of one of America's biggest political names.

Chelsea explained that despite the celebrity status and high-profile careers, her parents were always there for her and very supportive, challenging her from a young age to not only have an opinion, but also be able to defend it.

Even when her father was running for president in 1992, she said, there were only three nights that she did not spend without one or the other - and she only ever missed school for the presidential debates.

"I can't imagine the three of you doing anything frivolous," joked Kimmel. "I can't imagine you guys, like, watching the 'Real Housewives' or something."

As it turns out, there may be no housewives - just some "Antiques Roadshow" - as well as jigsaw puzzles, long walks, and watching B-list action movies.

Count Hillary out for the movies though, says Bill. She’s grown out of them.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Chelsea Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Chelsea went to Stanford .

    She will be very influential in a Clinton cabinet .

    March 23, 2014 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  2. Kay

    "There was also the moment Kimmel asked the Clintons how they would have reacted if Chelsea told them she was a Republican.

    "I'd say it'd been nice knowing her," quipped Hillary."

    Democrats, willing to disown their children if they're republicans <_<. Yep, party of acceptance right there.

    March 23, 2014 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  3. bribarian

    What difference does it make now?

    March 23, 2014 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  4. Kyle Grimm


    March 23, 2014 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Hillary is already running, and it is OBVIOUS!

    We have to hope, she doesn't succeed, for the sake of the country.

    March 23, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  6. Gurgyl

    Yes, Hillary16.

    March 23, 2014 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  7. Randy, San Francisco

    Democrats have the right messenger and message in 2016 with Hillary Clinton. She has the charisma, intelligence, leadership skills, vision, strength, and courage to be a great president.

    March 23, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  8. Gunderson

    Hillary concerned about direction of Country? That mean you like millions on Food stamps and Never ending unemployment? That direction of country. You no like the Liberal Mantra, WITH YOUR MONEY AND MY BRAINS, WE WILL GO PLACES?
    You Liberals want run Country but you want Conservatives pay for it? You like or no like? Because of your Liberal Buddies over the last 100 years we have 18 Trillion Federal Debt heading for a 20 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt. That Platform you run on? Some on here think Republicans want take us back to 50's. 1850's. As it stands now a return to the 1930's looks good. You like?

    March 23, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. Kinard

    Kimmel, has just made enemy's of the republican party and tea baggers. He needs to be careful, they have proven time and again that they are unstable as hell, and are proud of the fact.

    March 23, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    Practically none of these republican idiots are worth your dime. These guys sack your Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid etc.. Their war strategy is totally stupid and idiotic on one hand we need infrastructure, Dilapidated LaGuardia like Airports etc. Very pathetic. Fix Infrastructure, bring Manufacture. Reduce gas prices first.

    March 23, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  11. Pastor Paul c.

    Whatever lets keep praying dat America and Americans will turn back to de God of their founding fathers. You have derailed too far.
    Watchout, China is on ur heels.

    March 23, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |

    I nearly puke inside my mouth at the call of her name ?

    March 23, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. just me

    Kay, that quip about Chelsea was what is known as a joke, witticism, or bon mot. It's indicative of a quick mind, which is why you don't see any funny conservatives. Intentionally funny, anyway.

    March 23, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. just me

    And no, Gunderson doesn't count as intentionally funny, although he is amusing.

    March 23, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. MikeinMT

    Putin and his cronies are sitting in the Kremlin watching the US Presidential debates on CNN and having a few shots of "wodka". Mitt Romney comments that Russia is America's greatest geopolitical threat. The room turns deadly silent as everyone stares at the screen. In the next sentence, Barak Obama chastises Romney telling him the Cold War ended 20 years earlier. Then VP Joe Biden is interviewed and says, "Romney acts like he thinks the Cold War's still on, Russia is still our major adversary.I don't know where he's been." Hillary Clinton adds, "If you take a look at the world today, we have a lot of problems that are not leftovers from the past, but are of the moment.....In many of the areas where we are working to solve problems, Russia has been an ally." Putin turns and looks at his buddies, and everyone breaks into hysterical laughter. They raise their shot glasses as Putin toasts, "After he's re-elected he'll "have more flexibility". So will we, Mr. President."

    March 23, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Lizzie

    Just me, no when caught of guard, democrats say what they really think, and then say it was a joke.

    March 23, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. javabean

    is it only me or anyone else sees a hand in this photo that's flipping off the camera, is that Bill's hand ??

    March 23, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  18. sandy

    So Hill sez she is "very concerned abou the direction of this country." LMAO, great slam against Obama. Thanks, Hill!

    March 23, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Watch it!!

    There's talk that group selfies promote the spread of head lice!

    March 23, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. Rob

    Hillary Clinton? For PRESIDENT??

    Who would be Vice President - Tipper Gore??

    March 23, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. thinker1958

    better than Hillary: Elizabeth Warren

    March 23, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. it must be said

    better than Hillary: Elizabeth Warren

    That would pretty much prove the country has lost its collective mind and the Democrat Party has been taken over by Communists.

    March 23, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. J R Brown

    After 6 years of a Democrat President and 8 years of Democrats holding both the White House and at least one chamber of Congress....Hillary is concerned about the direction we're going???

    To be honest, I think she's referring to the fact that we are looking weaker by the day due to our current POTUS and alluding to the idea that she's got more balls than Obama....

    I just can't believe that out of 350+ million Americans that we can't find someone besides a Bush or a Clinton to be President outside of the token black guy.

    March 23, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. kalpana

    Yes Hillary 2016

    March 23, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Sarah

    too funny

    March 23, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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