Speed Read

09.23.13

7 Juiciest Bits from Hillary Clinton’s New York Profile

She doesn’t drop her 2016 decision, but there’s plenty of juicy bits in New York magazine’s sprawling Hillary Clinton profile. From her time at the State Department to what she and Bill are up to now (‘stupid movies’ are involved), Caroline Linton speed reads Hillary’s first interview since leaving the cabinet.

So, Hillary Clinton: will she or won’t she run? The former secretary of State sat down with New York magazine and while she didn’t disclose her plans to run for president in 2016 (and it doesn’t seem like she’s going to tell us anytime soon), there’s plenty worth reading. The Daily Beast breaks down the juiciest bits.

1. She’s “pragmatic and realistic” about a 2016 run.

Let’s get the money quote squared away with first. Clinton told interviewer Joe Hagan that she’s thought about running in 2016, but she’s “pragmatic and realistic” about a future run. Melanne Verveer, who served Clinton when she was first lady and was an ambassador-at-large for women’s issues in the State Department, said that Clinton “doesn’t repeat her mistakes.”

“I’m not in any big hurry,” Clinton said later in the interview. “I think it’s a serious decision, not to be made lightly, but it’s also not one that has to be made soon.” 

2. There was “no drama” between the White House and the State Department during her time there.

From House of Cards to Scandal, we’ve all come to expect a certain type of personal-political drama to be playing out in Washington. But with apologies to future television writers, there was “no drama” between Clinton and President Obama’s staff at the White House, according to New York. “The relationship between the State Department and the White House and the State Department and the Defense Department was probably the best it’s ever been in 50 years,” said Tom Nides, the COO of Morgan Stanley who came on as deputy secretary of State. Nides, who had contributed to Democratic campaigns, said he had “heard all these stories about the Clinton world and what that all meant,” but “all of that stuff did not exist at the State Department for the last four years.”

3. Hillary mentioned Bill so infrequently that one staffer said they would wonder “who’s Bill?” when his name came up.

Remember way back in 2008, when Bill Clinton was everywhere on the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton? He was such a lumbering presence that Hillary’s campaign was labeled as being “the Clintons” running for a third term. But Bill was nowhere to be found during her time at the State Department—both literally and also never a factor in any decisions. Nides said he could “probably count on one hand” the times that “she came to a meeting and invoked his name or suggested something Bill had said.” “It’s kind of jarring when she says ‘Bill,’” one staffer said. “Well, who’s Bill? And then you realize she’s talking about her husband. It happened so infrequently that you were kind of like, Oh, the president.

4. Right now, Bill and Hillary Clinton are taking part in “just ordinary, everyday pleasures.”

For the first time in decades (seriously), neither of the Clintons holds a public office. So what, exactly, are two of the most powerful, celebrated, talked-about minds of a generation doing? “We get to be at home together a lot more now than we used to in the last few years,” Hillary said. “We have a great time; we laugh at our dogs; we watch stupid movies; we take long walks; we go for a swim. You know, just ordinary, everyday pleasures.” This sounds like something that needs to be seen to be believed—maybe a reality show will be in their future. New York even quotes Clinton as saying they’re “trying to have the best time we can have doin’ what we’re doin’.” Dropping g’s sounds kind of Palin-esque, no? But, seriously, what are the Clintons talking about?

5. WTF is "Ready for Hillary" then?

If you love Hillary Clinton, maybe you should rethink those Ready for Hillary bumper stickers or Facebook likes. The super PAC was founded by one of Clinton’s 2008 aides, Adam Parkhomenko, and although many thought it to be harvesting Clinton’s “energy” and a testing-the-waters kind of thing, insiders say it was a “rogue” operation with questionable merits. “There is nothing they are doing that couldn’t have waited a year,” one insider said. “Not a single fucking thing.”

6. So about Huma …

Clinton insisted on bringing the very best of her staffers to the State Department, and that included Huma Abedin. Abedin, who has worked with Clinton since 1996 (when Abedin was a 20-year-old intern!), is married to New York’s serial sexter, Anthony Weiner. In the middle of Weiner’s first sexting scandal, Abedin left from her full-time job at the State Department for a consulting contract with Teneo Holdings, a consulting firm and investment bank run by Bill Clinton’s longtime confidante Doug Band. “Business as usual” in Clintonworld. But the high-profile Abedin has become a liability, with Republicans investigating this connection, and, of course, Weiner’s mayoral campaign went down in flames after his latest sexting scandal—an unfortunate reminder of Bill Clinton’s sex scandals. “Huma has a choice to make,” said one aide. “Does she go with Anthony, or does she go with Hillary?”

7. The future of Clintonworld now lies with Chelsea.

Of course, there’s a third person in the Clinton family: Chelsea, whose name has been added to the name of the foundation, making it the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Chelsea had tried out a number of careers before turning to the family business, first as a consultant at McKinsey & Co., then a hedge fund and a stint NBC. But not everyone at the foundation was happy about Chelsea’s sudden appearance and her decision to bring in an old McKinsey associate as CEO—and Bill eventually stepped out and defended his comrades, a move that hinted there might have been conflict between the three Clintons. “This is an operation that runs on its proximity to people,” one staffer said. “Now it’s three people. How does that work?”

But Hillary says Chelsea’s entrance is simply in her daughter’s DNA (a move that seemed especially true after Chelsea’s Daily Show appearance on Thursday night). Hillary said Chelsea, the family’s now-gatekeeper, “comes by it” at the foundation “naturally.” Ever the proud parents, Hillary said Chelsea is “an incredibly able—obviously I’m biased—but extremely well-organized, results-oriented person, so rather than joining a lot of other groups, on which she could pursue her interests, she thought, I want to be part of continuing to build something I have worked on off and on over the years, and I really believe in it. I was thrilled to hear that."