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The Hillary Clinton Interview: 21 Revealing Quotes

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Hillary Clinton sat down with ABC's Diane Sawyer for an exclusive, wide-ranging interview, coinciding with the release of her new memoir, "Hard Choices." In it, Clinton weighed in on everything from her 2016 timetable to Benghazi to her hobbies after life as President Obama's secretary of state.

Here are some of the highlights from their conversation:

1. Why She Lost in 2008

"I think because I really didn't have a good strategy for my campaign. I didn't plan it the right way. ... As a candidate who was already so well known ... I don't think I ever said, 'Yes, you may have known me for eight years, but I don't take anything for granted. I have to earn your support."

2. Being a Woman in the Spotlight

"Because when you're in the spotlight as a woman, you know you're being judged constantly. I mean, it is just never-ending. And you get a little worried about, 'Okay, you know, people over on this side are loving what I'm wearing, looking like, saying.' And people over on this side aren't. Your natural tendency is how do you bring people together so that you can better communicate. I'm done with that. I mean, I'm just done."

3. When She'll Decide On 2016

"I'm going to decide when it feels right for me to decide. ... certainly not before then [the end of 2014]. I just want to kind of get through this year, travel around the country, sign books, help in the midterm elections in the fall, and then take a deep breath and kind of go through my pluses and minuses about what I will, and will not, be thinking about as I make the decision."

4. Is the Democratic Party Frozen in Place Until She Makes Up Her Mind?

"People can do whatever they choose to do on whatever timetable they decide. ... No, I mean Bill Clinton started running for president officially in, like, September or October of 1991. So, no, I just don't think that's, you know, a real concern."

5. Sexism And Gender In The 2008 Campaign

"I was not as effective calling it out during that campaign either because there is a double standard, we live with a double standard ... And I think part of what I did not do was to be more clear in saying, 'Look, this is a problem in our country. And people oughtta think about their own daughters, their own sisters, their own mothers when they make comments about women in public life, whether they're in politics or the media or anywhere else.'"

6. Wealth And Speaking Fees

"We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt ... We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education. You know, it was not easy. ... Bill has worked really hard -- and it's been amazing to me -- he's worked very hard. First of all, we had to pay off all our debts. He had to make double the money because of obviously taxes and then pay off the debts and get us houses and take care of family members. ... I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than getting connected with any one group or company as so many people who leave public life do."

7. Security In Benghazi

"As the independent board that investigated every aspect of this, including all the cables, concluded, there was a lack of appreciation and response to the level of threat. ... That was never brought to me ... What I did was give very direct instructions that the people who have the expertise and experience in security. ... That is personal though, Diane. And, I mean, I'm not equipped to sit and look at blueprints, to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be. That's why we hire people who have that expertise. ... But that doesn't mean I wasn't saying all the time, "We've gotta make sure we secure this spot and that spot."

8. Threat To America

"We have to be very thoughtful as the United States of America where we send people, why we send them, what we expect from them, and how we do the best to protect them. We cannot eliminate every threat, every danger."

9. On Her Famous Quote to Congress About What Prompted The Attack--'What Difference Does It Make?'

"Well, in the moment, it did not. In the moment, what we had to be focused on was saving American lives. ... the point of what I said at the time [when Clinton said as much while testifying before Congress] was, 'You know, if you're gonna stay fixated on things like talking points, or fixated on whether or not everybody was affected or not by the video, you're missing the larger picture.'"

10. Politicizing Benghazi

"I will continue to provide any information I have. There is reams of it out there. But what I do not appreciate is politicizing this at the expense of four dead Americans. That's not what we used to do in this country. When 258 Americans were killed in Beirut in two separate attacks, people mourned. People were shocked. Decisions were made. Bring them out. You know, strengthen the embassy."

11. Why Benghazi Scrutiny Is 'More Of A Reason To Run' in 2016

"Actually, it's more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball. We ought to be in the majors. And I view this as, really, apart from, even a diversion from the hard work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world."

12. 'No Lingering Effects' from 'Serious' Concussion

"It was, I think, a serious concussion ... Because of the force of the fall, I had double vision for a short period of time and I had some dizziness. ... No lingering effects."

13. Response to Karl Rove, Who Suggested She Might Have Brain Damage

"I know he was called Bush's brains in one of the books written about him. And I wish him well."

14. Watching The Raid That Killed Bin Laden

"My heart was in my throat because we were watching on the video screen what was happening. And we saw one of the helicopters' tail clipped the wall as it tried to get into the compound. ... I take very seriously the obligations of secrecy ... because he understood. And, when President Obama called to tell him, I think the president started by saying something, like, 'Well, I assume Hillary told you.' He goes, 'Told me what?'"

15. Nuclear Talks With Iran

"... tough sanctions on Iran that got them to the negotiating table. Now, whether we get an agreement or not ... I think it's going to be very difficult, but it's a lot better than what we inherited where there was no international consensus and Iran was just, you know, pursuing its nuclear ambitions including building underground facilities."

16. Will Vladimir Putin Give Crimea Back to Ukraine?

"Putin really has a winner-take-all, zero-sum-game approach to international relations. ... I think that depends on whether he's made to pay a price for [Crimea] ... I don't think we are in a position to advocate making him [return Crimea to Ukraine] with military actions. But I am a strong supporter of tough sanctions that create an economic cost for Russia and for him personally, and his cronies."

17. Response to Putin's Recent Comments About Her

After Clinton compared Russia's territorial advances to Nazi Germany's expansionism, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a French news outlet that "It's better not to argue with women" but that "Ms. Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements."

"When people push boundaries too far, it's not because they are strong but because they are weak," Putin added. "But maybe weakness is not the quality for a woman."

Clinton's response, to ABC's Diane Sawyer: "Well, I saw that, and he's not the first male leader who's made a sexist comment like that. He and I frankly disagree, and we have done so publicly."

18. Her 2008 Post-Primary Meeting With Obama

"It was like an awkward first date. Now, obviously I had known him for several years. But the campaign was so intense. And our staffs and our supporters were really at odds with each other. I don't think we ever felt that way about each other."

19. 'Dancing With the Stars' Fandom

"I did watch it faithfully this season, and I really like both Max and Derek, but I was very happy that Max finally won," Clinton said. "I don't know what the man would have done with himself had he not. I was really worried."

20. Her 'Perfect Day'

"A perfect day is to end it with my family, go for a long walk probably with our dogs. Go out to dinner with friends, see a good movie, sleep late the next morning. I mean, that's a perfect day."

21. One Of Her 'Favorite Things'

"I love to swim, [it's] one of my absolutely favorite things to do ... is not one of my strong suits ... I am gonna try to get better."

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