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Hillary Clinton Visits 'Jimmy Kimmel Live,' Sees Ghost of Pantsuits Past

Clinton keeps the conversation light and declines to take shots at her political opponents.

ABC/Randy Holmes

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton was greeted by a back-of-the-closet apparition Thursday, as she appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” while traveling through California on a fund-raising trip.

The comedian’s foil, Guillermo, donned a monochrome green pantsuit in Clinton’s honor — a jab at the candidate’s signature style of yesteryear. She took the gag in stride, complimenting Guillermo on his appearance: “That’s a good look.”

Clinton maintained a jovial, measured demeanor — and resisted multiple opportunities to have fun at her political opponents’ expense.

Kimmel offered Clinton plenty of room to savage her rivals. How could Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson — a man who has said evolution is a theory inspired by Satan — lead Clinton by 10 percentage points in the latest Quinnipiac University poll? What do you think of Jeb Bush’s latest slogan, “Jeb can fix it”? Do you feel sorry for the guy?

Clinton didn’t take the bait. She described Bush as “an accomplished man,” and noted that campaign strategies often shift.

“Running for president is really hard and some days are better than other days,” Clinton said of Bush, whose standing in the polls has slumped following an anemic debate performance. “I know that from personal experience.”

On Carson’s unusual pronouncements, Clinton merely offered this assessment:

“It really does matter what you say when you are president,” Clinton said. “And it should matter what you say when you’re running for president because people all over the world, especially leaders, friends and foes alike, pay attention.”

Clinton even avoided taking a shot at the most provocative of the Republican presidential aspirants, billionaire Donald Trump, who in July described her as “the worst Secretary of State” in U.S. history.

“I criticize his positions, because I disagree so strongly with what he’s said about immigration,” said Clinton. “But I try not to get into the personal stuff that we hear a lot from the Republicans. I don’t think we need to do that.”

The late-show appearance is part of an ongoing effort by Clinton’s strategists to showcase the candidate’s wit and heart, to counter impressions of the former Secretary of State as cautious and distant, the New York Times reported. (In a recent display of self-deprecating humor, Clinton declared herself a robot.)

Clinton continues to struggle with her favorability ratings, despite a strong debate performance; she survived an hours-long grilling by a House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks. The latest Gallup poll shows that she lags behind several Republican presidential candidates, with a negative rating that is exceeded only by Trump.

A Super PAC supporting Clinton’s candidacy has mounted a $1 million project to soften the front-runner’s image, according to the Washington Post. The effort, dubbed “Let’s Talk Hillary,” features people talking about their friendships with Clinton.

Meanwhile, the candidate has been taking advantage of late-night TV opportunities that cast her in a more playful light, such as her cameo earlier this month in a “Saturday Night Live” skit, in which she posed as Val the bartender consoling a distraught ersatz Hillary (played by actress Kate McKinnon).

Last month, Clinton appeared in a skit alongside “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, in which the comedian posed as Trump offering the former first lady a bit of unsolicited debate advice.

Offscreen, Clinton held a series of star-studded fundraisers in Los Angeles. Pop star Christina Aguilera hosted an event at the Beverly Hills home of her fiancé, where the candidate reportedly raised $1 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The attendees reportedly included actress Katie Holmes, Muse singer Matthew Bellamy and music industry luminary Irving Azoff.

California has been a fertile source of fundraising for Clinton. Donors have contributed more money to the Democratic presidential candidate than any other state — $13.5 million so far this election cycle.

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