Targeting Women Voters, Clinton Dishes on Lewinsky, Chelsea's Dating


From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

CARY, N.C. – Hillary Clinton made an appearance on a web based program today geared toward women, primarily women with children. During her 45 minute discussion, Clinton fielded a variety of questions from the hosts in a talk-show like stetting on what it was like to cope with difficult times in the White House (presumably during the Monica Lewinsky scandal), having a normal family lifestyle and caring for a teenage daughter in the White House.

Clinton was asked by one of the hosts how she managed "painful times" at the White House, no doubt asking a veiled question about the difficult time Clinton faced when the Monica Lewinsky scandal came to light. Although Clinton has answered questions about this in the past, she opened up some about what her friends did to help her get through it. Clinton said she would often receive notes or gag gifts from them that would help cheer her up, and said she had one friend who "would always send me some kind of little something that would make me laugh, like some kind of a stuffed doll that she said, 'use this to beat the table with, or stick pins in it, or whatever you want to do,'" Clinton said to laughter from the crowd. It is unclear if the "stuffed doll" was one of her husband or not.

People have always been fascinated with the Clinton's and what life must have been like in the White House with a teenage daughter. One mother in the audience asked to giggles from the crowd what it was like when Chelsea brought boys over. "You really cannot extrapolate from my experience because Chelsea was a teenager in the White House, which meant the Secret Service went on her dates," said Clinton to laughter. "A lot of her girlfriend's mothers loved it when they double dated because, you know, there's a guy with a gun in the front seat."

She reminisced on the days when she and then former Governor Bill Clinton would manage their busy schedules while having a young daughter. "We spent a lot of time together. We also have this funny thing we would do, we would pick a night a week, mostly Wednesday, except sometimes Bill's schedule and mine wouldn't agree, so we'd pick a night a week where each of us rotated about what we wanted to do," Clinton said, visibly giddy. "Sometimes we'd go to a movie, if there was an appropriate movie, sometimes we'd go hit tennis balls, and one time Chelsea said she'd heard about coconuts and said she'd never seen one, so we went to the store and bought a coconut and took it home. And then Bill and I – and you know between us we have 50 years of education – could not get the coconut open. We were throwing it on the driveway, we were banging it with a hammer. It was so embarrassing."

It was clear to reporters why Clinton agreed to appear on the show: since female voters tend to make up the majority of those who turn out on Election Day, they remain an important base for Clinton to tap into if she hopes to win the North Carolina primary.

The interview was mostly lighthearted and not rife with political banter, but at one point Clinton was asked about the current nomination process and whether or not she plans to go all the way to the convention. "I plan on going all the way through the next contests," she said, dodging the question. Later, when discussing how she displays love for her daughter, Clinton used words that seemed to mimic her campaign theme that talk is cheap. "You can tell them [your children] you love them everyday, but your actions speak louder than words."