Americans have "some hard choices ahead," Hillary Clinton said Tuesday, paying an homage to the namesake of her newly released memoir, "Hard Choices."
"Way back in 2008 I ran for president," the former secretary of state said in remarks to the United Fresh Produce Association and Food Marketing Institute in her hometown Chicago. "It didn't work out quite the way I had hoped. I was pretty disappointed and also really tired," she continued, recalling the moment she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, decided to "turn around and support then-Sen. Obama."
Clinton, oft considered the early frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, said she was "delighted and relieved" when Mr. Obama won his bid for the White House. But when he approached her with the opportunity to become secretary of state, she recollected, "I said no, and I said no again," citing her loyalty to representing New Yorkers in Congress.
"But thinking about it," she said, she concluded her next few years would be best spent bolstering the United States' global standing. And in the months since relinquishing her secretary title, Clinton said, she's become acutely distraught about the country's partisan bickering.
"Our infighting, our gridlock, doesn't reflect well on us," she said. "I know we have some hard choices ahead of us... We can do better. America can always do better."
Her appearance in the Windy City capped the first day of a media blitz aimed at promoting her book, officially released Tuesday. During an interview with ABC News, Clinton admitted she expects the memoir to stir up some uncomfortable questions, including those about the affair her husband had during his presidency with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Still, she clarified: That doesn't mean she's going to answer them.
"I would wish her well," Clinton said of Lewinsky, whose relationship with her husband nearly derailed his tenure in the Oval Office. Nodding to a recent Vanity Fair article in which Lewinsky opened up about the scandal and its tarnishing aftermath, Clinton ruminated: "She is, in my view, an American who gets to express herself however she chooses. But that's not something that I spend a lot of time thinking about."
Clinton during her media tour also sought to rein in the unraveling aftermath of a comment she made suggesting she and Bill were "dead broke" when they left the White house. Republicans unsurprisingly seized on the quote, scrambling to point out the $100,000 per week summer home the Clintons rent in the Hamptons, and their two "mansions" worth several million dollars.
"Let me just clarify ... I fully appreciate how hard life is so for many Americans today," Clinton said Tuesday. "It's an issue I've worked on and cared about my entire adult life.
"...Bill and I were obviously blessed," she went on. "We worked hard for everything we got in our lives and we have continued to work hard, and we've been blessed in the last 14 years But I want to use the talents and resources I have to make sure other people get the same chances."