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‘The View’ Presses Hillary Clinton: Why Focus on ‘The Past’?

Hillary Clinton defends her decision to relitigate the 2016 campaign on ‘The View’ Wednesday morning.

When Hillary Clinton decided to bring her What Happened media tour to The View on Wednesday morning, she knew she was walking into friendly territory. The hosts—especially fervent supporter Joy Behar—welcomed her with open arms and warm hugs as one of her old campaign theme songs, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” blared in the background.

The first question from moderator Whoopi Goldberg was, “Why did you decide to relive all of this in the book?” It was a theme that kept resurfacing over the course of four segments that spanned nearly 40 minutes of airtime. Why expend so much energy looking backwards as the Democratic Party is trying to move forward to 2018 and 2020?

“That’s a really good question,” Clinton said with a laugh, explaining that after the election she was “devastated” and the question people in her life kept asking her was, “What happened?” She decided to “give this my best effort to figure it out, to be as open, candid, self reflective as possible.”

Clinton also got the chance to respond to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who called the book “sad” from her podium on Tuesday. “I honestly don't pay much attention to what she says,” Clinton said, to applause from the audience, noting that you often can’t trust the information coming from the Trump administration.

But the questions started getting tougher as the interview went on, especially when right-leaning host Jedediah Bila brought up Democrats who feel that Clinton’s book “puts us in the past” when they need to figure out how to “move forward.”

“It's not just about the past,” Clinton insisted, pointing to ongoing issues that affect our democracy like “Russia, suppression of voters, particularly African-American and young voters, and sexism and misogyny, which are endemic in our system, and we ought to start talking about it.”

Later, Bila accused Clinton of having “some tone-deafness” about why she lost the election, especially when it came to the “frustration” of some voters around the country about things like rising Obamacare costs and President Obama’s refusal to say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“I realize for some people those were real issues,” Clinton said, before explaining that she would have loved to have a real “debate” about the issues with her opponent. “I don't think we got it,” she said. “We got a reality TV show campaign.”

Pressed by host Sunny Hostin about her criticism of Bernie Sanders in the book, she said she was “surprised” by how “personal” his campaign’s attacks on her got during the primary because they had made a private arrangement steer clear of those tactics. In the next breath, she reminded viewers that Sanders is “not a Democrat,” an assessment she said is “not a slam” because he says as much about himself.

Hostin also had an uncomfortable question for Clinton late in the show about her relationship with Bill Clinton, something she writes about candidly in the book. “The Republican Party bills itself as the party of family values. However, many republicans have been very critical of you staying in your marriage, they say that it is a marriage of political convenience,” she said. “What is your response? Why did you stay in your marriage?”

“People say, ‘Oh, they have an arrangement.’ Yeah, it's called a marriage,” Clinton replied. “There have been a lot more happy days than sad or angry says. And I am very proud and grateful that I am married to my best friend, that he has been my biggest source of encouragement and support over all the years—many more than some of you have been alive—that we have been together.”