Hillary Clinton danced – a little – during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday in New York, but it was her message and focus on women that Clinton’s presidential campaign hoped would show a softer, more candid side of the politician.
Looking to bounce back from a politically tough summer, Clinton sat down with the charismatic television host before a live audience in Rockefeller Center at dusk. The interview was part substance, part fun, all meant to cast Clinton as spontaneous and likeable.
Clinton told the largely female audience that “it is just a reality that (women) are held to a higher, different double standard” and implored the young women in the audience to “just forge ahead” when met with adversity because of their gender.
“I don’t want any young woman to take for granted how far we have come and how much further we have to go,” Clinton said, before telling a story about how she applied for a credit card in the late 1970s and was told she would have to use her husbands.
With a laugh, she added, “I was making more money than he was.”
DeGeneres was not a hostile interviewer.
“You are the smartest, most qualified person for this job,” DeGeneres said of the presidency.
The former secretary of state danced on stage with the show’s DJ, took questions from the show’s 5-year-old presidential expert and hammed it up celebrities Pink and Amy Schumer.
Aides feel that getting Clinton in front of large TV audiences, where she can show her softer side, will benefit her campaign and make her more relatable.
During the interview, Clinton spoke about her love of Tabasco sauce, the fact she hasn’t driven a car since 1996 (“I used to love to drive a car”) and when she inquired as a girl in junior high about becoming an astronaut (At that time they weren’t taking girls).”
But the interview was not entirely without politics.
DeGeneres teed up a question about her exclusive use of a private email system as secretary of state by simply asking, “What?”
“Well, I want people to understand this, so I am glad you asked,” Clinton said. “I used a personal email account, I was allowed by the State Department. But I should have used two different accounts. I made a mistake and I am sorry for all the confusion that has ensued. I take responsibly for that.”
The answer was not new from Clinton, who apologized for the “confusion” in an interview with MNSBC earlier this month. But it is a departure from what she told ABC News earlier on Tuesday, when she apologized outright for the email server.
“I’m sorry about that,” Clinton said in an at-times emotional interview on ABC News’ “World News Tonight with David Muir,” acknowledging that she should have used separate accounts for work and personal business. “I take responsibility and I am trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.”
Clinton also hit Republicans to applause at the event, telling DeGeneres that she finds the constant attacks on her “sort of sad.”
“The last debate, it just showed they were out of touch and out of date,” Clinton said, noting that the Republicans “say things and they make charges” but “never put any real backing behind” their policies.
Clinton also spoke about her almost 1-year-old granddaughter Charlotte, telling the audience that she “stopped by just to see her so that I could catch a glimpse” before the taping.
Clinton was also self-deprecating, joking that while she sings to her granddaughter, she isn’t any good.
“He actually has a good voice,” Clinton said of her husband Bill Clinton’s voice, “so it’s not as painful” for the baby.