TEMPE, Ariz. – Hillary Rodham Clinton told a group of enthusiastic college students Saturday that she is “very much concerned about the direction of our country” but was still deciding whether to pursue another presidential campaign.
During a forum at the Clinton Global Initiative University, Clinton fielded a question from Vrinda Agrawal, a student at the University of California, Berkeley who asked, “If you don’t represent women in politics in America as a future president, who will?”
More than 1,000 students roared with approval and applauded while former President Bill Clinton smiled, whispered into TV host Jimmy Kimmel’s ear and clapped along.
The former first lady said she appreciated the sentiment but was still deciding.
“I am very much concerned about the direction of our country and it’s not just who runs for office but what they do when they get there and how we bring people together and particularly empower young people so we can tackle these hard decisions,” Clinton said.
Kimmel playfully interjected, “She wants an answer!” Clinton smiled and asked the woman to “give me your name and number.” The woman responded, “I will proudly run your campaign!”
Clinton said she was “obviously thinking about all kinds of decisions.”
The exchange came during a wide-ranging interview of the Clintons and their 34-year-old daughter, Chelsea. The host of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” jokingly asked the former first lady, “If you do run for president, will you reuse the old Clinton campaign lawn signs?”
The interview covered light topics like how the Clintons met at Yale Law School, the family’s favorite TV shows – the former president said they enjoyed PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” – along with their upbringing and policy issues.
Diving into the thorny issue of climate change, Hillary Clinton said young people understand the significant threat of global warming and that she hoped there would be a mass movement that demands political change.
She said the generation of college students and young people are much more committed to doing something to address climate change and it wasn’t “just some ancillary issue” but will determine the quality of life for countries around the globe.
“I’m hoping there will be this mass movement that demands political change, that makes what public officials do on dealing with carbon emissions ... a voting issue,” Clinton said.
While no 2016 presidential plans were disclosed, the family talked about the importance of perseverance in life and politics. Hillary Clinton said many people give up if they don’t succeed right away, but “that’s often the best time for what you can learn about yourself.”
She noted that her husband lost his first political race; she never expected to run for office and then won a Senate seat representing New York.
“But then I had a big loss which we all remember,” Clinton said. “You just have to decide what you really care about.”