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Clinton's paid speaking tour ends with a call for bipartisanship

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses around 3,000 summer camp and out of school time professionals at the American Camp Association and Tri State CAMP conference Thursday, March 19, 2015, in Atlantic City, N.J.

Mel Evans, AP

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- "We really need camps for adults," Hillary Clinton said, citing a "fun deficit" in America. "You can have the red cabin, the blue cabin, have to come together and actually listen to each other."

It was a light moment during the presidential hopeful's appearance here Thursday, tailored to her audience: hundreds of camp professionals gathered for the American Camp Association's annual tri-state area convention. She reminisced about the kind of bipartisanship that seems to elude Washington today.

"It used to be in Washington you could not escape your adversaries on the political other side because you were always together," she said on stage to Jay Jacobs, a camp owner and fellow prominent Democrat from New York, as she recalled her own time as a senator. "I realized that I might be opposed to somebody's bill today and then working with that person tomorrow."

Clinton, who recently took to Twitter to express her frustration about Republicans on Capitol Hill, from the letter written by GOP senators to Iran to the recent budget proposal, called for more "relationship building" between elected officials.

"I've said many times that people who claim proudly never to compromise should not be in the Congress of the United States because I don't think I or anybody have all the answers," she said. "I think we can actually learn things from each other, novel idea."

Her appearance Thursday raised eyebrows when it was first announced by the ACA last year, because of the high fees that the former Secretary of State's speeches can command. The fee for this speech was not disclosed but, for the first time, the ACA sold tickets for front-row, "premiere seating" at the event.

Clinton also used this speech to talk about the importance of early education and preserving the environment, both aspects of the summer camp experience. Though she never went to "sleep away" camp herself, Clinton described what she had learned from her daughter Chelsea's experiences.

"They're often safe havens in the storms that blow across everyone's life," she said, "places where people can get back to basics and remember or learn for the first time what's really important."

She added: "Our families today come in all sizes and shapes but I believe not only here in our country but around the world most people want the same things: a good job, safety and security, the chance to build a better life for themselves and their kids."

Clinton stayed away from discussing her private emails, foreign donations to her family's foundation or her potential bid for the presidency. But now that her now-infamously high-priced speaking engagements have seemingly come to an end, a formal announcement is expected in the coming weeks.