Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a conference in Maryland Tuesday that she's still not sure whether or not she'll run for president. She did, however, have some advice for voters.
"Don't ever vote for someone who proudly says he or she will never compromise," Clinton told the audience at a conference on mental health and addiction, sponsored by the National Council for Behavioral Health, during a question-and-answer session.
"That's the way they are in Iran, and that's the way Putin increasingly is in Russia," Clinton said, when discussing how debates over issues like income inequality stall in Washington.
"Unless a certain group of people have all the truth... you've got to compromise," she said.
- Hillary Clinton to raise money for Chelsea's mother-in-law
- Clinton groups' big business ties could complicate a 2016 Hillary bid
"Secondly," Clinton said with respect to politicians unwilling to compromise, "don't give them any money... Find someone in your party who's sensible."
Compromising has become more difficult on Capitol Hill, she said, because lawmakers spend so much time fundraising outside of Washington.
"It's very difficult for our current political leaders, particularly members of Congress, to get to know each other," she said. "I think that the mad chase for dollars in the political campaign, our fundraising necessities... really keep people out of Washington... They don't ever connect the way they used to."
Clinton spoke about her own political battles, including her struggle to lead health care reform efforts as first lady in the early 1990s. She noted that before she took on health care at the White House, she had led education reform efforts as first lady of Arkansas. However, she said the fight over health care reform was coarser.
"Who knew Washington was so much more conservative when it came to women doing things like this... than Arkansas," she said. "We had a very controversial education reform, but it was never personalized."
After President Bill Clinton appointed her to lead the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in 1993, Clinton said that then-Gov. Mario Cuomo, D-N.Y., joked to her, "I can't tell if your husband really likes you or really hates you."
While health care reform was "controversial from the very beginning," Clinton said "it was a labor of love from my part."
She noted that her unsuccessful efforts laid the groundwork for the passage of the Children's Health Insurance Program. Just as politicians came around to health care reform efforts in the 1990s, Clinton said she hopes more governors will now decide to embrace the expanded version of Medicaid.
Rejecting the changes to Medicaid, enacted under the Affordable Care Act, is a "strictly political, partisan decision," Clinton said. "I think there will be minds changed over time."
In her prepared remarks to the conference, Clinton spoke about other policies she supports, such as ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work, raising the minimum wage, giving parents "flexibility on the job" and paid family leave.
During the Q&A, Clinton was asked to name her guilty pleasure. After pausing for a moment, she joked, "I'm just trying to think of the G-rated ones," and then said her guilty pleasure is chocolate. "I hate to be so predictable," she added.
Someone asked what role Congress should have in naming her grandchild, setting Clinton up to joke, "Given what's going on, the poor child would never get a name."