Clintons talk policy (not so much candidacy) with Jimmy Kimmel
March 22nd, 2014
11:56 PM ET
9 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?

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"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. longtooth

    A suggestion to Clinton bashers everywhere. Try coming up with a reasonable alternative. The best you've done with the White House is GW Bush, who is never mentioned by a Republican, and John McCain, who might have made it if he didn't choose Palin as a running mate.

    March 23, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @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.

    Get your dictionary, Kay, and look up the word "quip." BTW, while you're doing a little research, note how many gopers have been "primaried" by Rove and others who claim to love freedom and liberty so much that they will not tolerate one tiny step out of line from their own party members.

    March 23, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @bribarian: "What difference does it make now?"

    Have you ever read or heard Clinton's COMPLETE testimony? If all you listen to is Fox – and never use your computer to actually look up FACTS – then you probably haven't. Be sure to read the part below that starts with, "It is
    our job ...." (my all-caps for emphasis):

    "Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?

    IT IS OUR JOB to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. But the fact is that people were trying in real
    time to get the best information….But, you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe
    we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime."

    March 23, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority. "I nearly puke inside my mouth at the call of her name ?"

    Funny, that's what I do whenever I hear a gop/tea bag talk about "freedom."

    March 23, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @MikeinMT: Here's what Putin and his buddies are REALLY toasting:

    Putin has been observing how easy it is to manipulate the gop/tea bags into tearing at our President; how easy it is to manipulate the gop/tea bags into calling for war (at a time when our nation can ill afford it; we're still paying for the two
    wars Bush got us into under false pretenses and without any kind of long-term plan other than "we'll be greeted as liberators" and "Iraq oil will pay for the war" and "I honestly don't know or care where bin Laden is"); how easy it is to get the gop/tea bags to do everything they can to undermine President Obama, regardless of the consequences to our nation.

    Putin is laughing at the gop/tea bags – and loving the fact that he can harm our country without lifting a finger because the gop/tea bags are doing his dirty work.

    Heck, I wouldn't be surprised that if we could see (but we can't, thanks to the gop-sponsored Citizens United ruling) the contribution list to all the organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and other gop/tea bag "social welfare,"
    tax-exempt organizations, we'd see several Russian oligarchs.

    March 23, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @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 ??"

    He's pointing with his longest finger; when you flip the bird, your hand is facing up.

    March 23, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Dr. Evil

    With President Hillary busy in worldly affairs, Bill is going to have a fun time at the White House.

    March 23, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Malory Archer


    Republicants, willing to disown their children if they DARE to have a mind of their own – on ANY issue! <_<. Yep, party of acceptance right there.



    March 23, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. mb2010a

    Like it or not, Republicans, Hillary Clinton will be our next President for two terms and the country will flourish...

    March 23, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Liberty4U

    The Clintons have been an instrumental part of the total downfall of America. Hillary is a monster. The wealthy elite NWO runs the show now. The people of America are nothing but human cattle to them. They use the CIA, military, IRS, and Wall Street as their own private tools of power and privilege. They must be stopped at all costs, if America is to survive.

    March 23, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. HONEyWoMAN

    Anyone who thinks that Hillary was serious when she indicated she'd disown her daughter if she were Republican is an idiot! Truly stupid. As for 2016, Hillary WILL run, and she WILL win, and you Republican cry babies, tantruming because you don't get your way, can bite this country's collective ass. If it were left up to you and your politicians, gays would still be in the closest, women in the kitchen, everyone forced to be christians, and the U.S. at war on every continent. Thank god for the Obamas and Clintons of this world! The Republican party, in its current highjacked state, is over.

    March 23, 2014 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. countmein

    Yes, I want Hilary to run, and yes I want her to win, and Bill please take care of yourself, you are going to need to be there for the pillow sessions, we need you back, I loved it when you President, regular hard working folks like me, had money in the bank, now I can't even get food stamps, thanks to Repubs.

    March 23, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Me

    @countmein, Do you realize who has been the president for 5 years? Of course not, it couldn't be HIM that is the problem.

    March 23, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Al

    I really like Hillary even though she's more conservative than Obama. Despite her conservatism, she is able to show compassion for the downtrodden. That is what separates her from Republican conservatism.

    It's OK to be conservative, but it must be tempered with love of your fellow Americans. That is what is lacking in the modern GOP. That is why they have lost women, gays, hispanics, youth, and non Christians.

    March 23, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. dc3gal

    could've done that picture with anyone bu Kimmel. Can't stand anyone who "loves" Rob Ford so much.

    March 23, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Ann

    Looks like a selfie war... =)

    By the way, a little smile every now and then (on the news) doesn't hurt. These guys are humans too, you know.

    March 23, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. j007bond

    I would rather consider a candidate who is STILL on the front lines of government over one that needed a four year R&R because she couldn't handle the stress of being Sec. of State.

    March 23, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. Vernon

    Aww, shucks, they're just regular people like you and me! Jimmy lost his wallet that night around the same time this photo was snapped..coincidence?

    March 23, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. Mike

    It looks like he's shooting the finger.

    March 23, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. law

    Wow, this is perfectly 'composed', Family, White, Black, Asian, Muslim, Young, Not so Young....

    March 23, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
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