Hillary Clinton laments 'tyranny of the selfie'

Story highlights

  • Candidates on the trail are flooded with requests for selfies, Clinton says, a change from previous years when voters would interact more

San Francisco (CNN)Hillary Clinton has apparently given a lot of thought to the rise selfies -- and the verdict isn't good for the new cultural phenomenon.

In an interview with Ellen Degeneres taped Thursday in Los Angeles, Clinton lamented the lack of moments due to supporter's desires to get a selfie that they can then share with friends and family. The comment came on the same day that Clinton called the phenomen "the tyranny of the selfie" in the February edition of Esquire.
"It's turned into the thing," Clinton told Degeneres of selfies with supporters after her events. "It used to be, you know, when I campaigned, not just for my husband, but for other people as well, and even back in the '08 campaign, you would finish an event and you would shake hands."
    She continued, "And there's something so personal about running for president, at least for me, I can't speak for anybody else, because I'll shake hands with somebody, and they'll say, 'You know I want to tell you about,' and then they'll tell me about you know their child with addiction problems, their parent with Alzheimer's. They will really share that moment."
    Clinton said that experience has diminished "greatly because of the selfie."
    "And so, you can see them try to say 'do I talk to her about, you know, I lost my job and I can't, I've been looking for a long time, and what is she going to do to help me?' or do I say 'can I have a selfie?' and most people say 'can I have a selfie?'"
    Clinton said she would "like" to have more conversation with people because "I learn a lot from what people tell me."
    "But right now, you know, it's the tyranny of the selfie," the candidate concluded.
    Selfies are a new staple of presidential campaigning. Before camera phones, as Clinton notes, the standard was to either get an autograph from a politician or shake hands and chat with them for a short time. Bill Clinton was famous for leaving a rope line with handfuls of ideas on how to tackle issues that came up in conversations with voters.
    That is not longer the case. Supporters -- from senior citizens to children -- jockey for position in order to ask Clinton for as selfie. Many hand Clinton their phone and she actually snaps the photo. Sometimes, she even has to maneuver the cell phone from home screen to picture mode.
    At an event this week in Las Vegas, for example, Clinton just stood in one place for a prolonged period of time while at least a dozen people tried to take one continuous selfie with her.
    Clinton joked with Ellen on Thursday that a supporters adeptness with taking a selfie is "mostly generational."
    "After the holidays, I've been in New Hampshire and Iowa, I've had people say 'you know I just got this phone for Christmas, you know, my daughter gave it to me. Do you know how it works,'" Clinton joked. "So I say, 'no, I haven't seen it.' We're standing there trying to get the technology to work. So that's a moment and at least you got that kind of connection with somebody."
    Thursday's taping -- which will air in full on Monday -- was Clinton second appearance on the show as a candidate. It was her first in studio interview since 2008. He first of the campaign was a special show taped in New York City.
    Clinton also joked with the host that Bill Clinton is a softie with their granddaughter Charlotte, and their daughter Chelsea is more of an enforcer.
    "Bill for sure," Clinton said when Degeneres asked who spoils the one-year old more. "Just like Marc, my son in law."
    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with a supporter during the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention at the Verizon Wireless Center on September 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
    In the Esquire interview, Clinton said she'd complained about the selfie issue with Obama.
    "It used to be — and I was talking to President Obama about this the other day — it used to be that you would do an event like this and then you would shake hands with people and they would talk to you," Clinton told the magazine after an event in Salem, New Hampshire. "They would say, 'I liked what you said about this' or 'You didn't mention that' or 'Can I tell you this?' And it was a constant learning and absorbing experience."
    In the interview, Junod remarks that Clinton is good at taking selfies.
    "That's what people ask for," she responded. "If I'm going to try to get to everybody, I have to be good at it."
    Clinton is not the first candidate to offer criticism of the trend of ropeline selfies. Jeb Bush last month called selfies "the 11th Amendment of the Bill of Rights."
    "I don't know, look, it wasn't that long ago that people wanted signatures on things, and now, forget that, 'I want my damn selfie. I'm not leaving until I get it,' So we spend a lot of quality time doing that," Bush said, tongue firmly in cheek.

    Clinton: I'm a firewall between Republicans and the White House

    In the interview with Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, casts herself as "a firewall" between Republicans and the White House.
    "It certainly enhances the sense of responsibility I feel to try to make my case as effectively as possible," Clinton said when asked about the Republican field and some of the rhetoric on the opposing side. "It's so contrary to what I think politics should be about, and the kind of people who should run for the most important job in the world. So I try not to be distracted by it or be knocked off course by it. But I do feel extra pressure when I hear some of what they say."
    Clinton added, "I have to win to be a firewall against that extreme partisanship and that real rejection of compromise."
    Since the calendar turned to 2016, Clinton has upped her focus on Republican candidates, casting herself as the most electable Democrat to keep the White House out of Republican hands. She routinely knocks them as out of touch with reality and questions their platforms.
    "Honestly, I have to ask you, who do they talk to when they come to Iowa," she said in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Monday. "I mean, I see them with people and I'm wondering if it's like the same group of actors, they just move from event to event to event, because honestly I don't know who they are talking to."
    Asked about Donald Trump in the interview with Esquire, Clinton said while his rhetoric is "fact free," it isn't "cost free."
    "When he says something, he's not just talking to whoever those people are who come to his rallies," she said. "He's talking to the whole world, and what he's saying plays right into the hands of a group like ISIS."