On this episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Jennifer Palmieri, the communications director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, talks about her new book, “Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World.” She also shares some advice for the women who will one day be the president of the United States and talks about how much has changed in the media and technology strategies of political campaigns in just two years.
You can read a write-up of the interview here or listen to the whole thing in the audio player above. Below, we’ve also provided a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.
If you like this, be sure to subscribe to Recode Decode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Kara Swisher: Hi, I’m Kara Swisher, executive editor of Recode. You may know me as someone who will be running in 2020 for President of the Kim Kardashian Fan Club, but in my spare time I talk tech, and you’re listening to Recode Decode for the Vox Media podcast network.
Today in the red chair is my good friend Jennifer Palmieri. I have to say that. She is the former White House communications director. She’s also the director of communications for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and is the author of a new book, which I’m thrilled to talk about, “Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World.” Jennifer, welcome to Recode Decode.
Jennifer Palmieri: I’m so excited to be here.
Thank you for coming to San Francisco, all the way to San Francisco. You’re doing a worldwide tour, right?
I’m doing a worldwide tour, but this is the highlight.
Oh, is it?
Of course. Yes.
Used to be Charlie Rose but no longer. We can get into that.
I know it’s so true.
It’s so true.
It’s so true. Yeah.
That is what you are, yes. You are the 21st century Charlie Rose.
Yeah, except with 100 percent less sexual harassment.
Yeah, with better hair and better attitude.
Not as handsy. Anyway. Let’s get into your background, because our listeners may or may not know who you are, but explain your background. You’ve been like the behind-the-scenes power monger for many years now.
Yeah. I worked for President Obama for four years. I worked for President Clinton for eight years, I was there for all eight years of the Clinton White House.
And you did what?
Leon Panetta was my congressman. I was really lucky. So, I went to high school in the Monterey Bay area and interned for him in college. And then when Bill Clinton became elected ...
Where’d you go to college?
American in D.C.
Sure. Went to Georgetown.
Oh, I didn’t know that. And so then when Clinton was elected Leon went and became his budget chair, and then his ...
Chief of staff.
Chief of staff. And I worked with him. So I was really lucky. And I ended up ... My last job at the Clinton White House was as one of the deputy press secretaries.
Right. How’d you get into press secretarying?
That was a funny thing. That was not something ... the press used to terrify me. But I knew ...
What’d you do for ...
I knew the White House really well because I had worked for the chief of staff. And then I had worked in the scheduling office as a deputy scheduler, which is a big operation in a presidential campaign or in a White House. And Mike McCurry was the press secretary. And he asked me if I would come be a deputy press secretary. And I said, “I don’t know anything about the press and they terrify me.” He’s like, “Perfect.”
Yeah. What terrified you? Cause you seem a little terrifying yourself, too.
Some people have said that.
Many people have said that.
It has been said. It’s funny, secret service agents used to say that, “You always look so intense walking around.” President Obama once said to me, “You always have a look on your face like something terrible is about to happen.” I was like, “Well ...”
I had never really engaged with the press. You know, people who work in politics who don’t work with the press are terrified of them because you can get into really big trouble if you screw something up there. But what Mike wanted was somebody who really knew the White House and could get the press office’s business done. And what I found was that I loved the press and I loved working with them. And they were smart and engaging. And they cared about the process. And I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it. And I went from there to be the press secretary for the national party.
The Democratic party.
The Democratic party.
After the Clintons.
After the Clintons. And then I was John Edward’s press secretary in the 2004 ...
Was that the bad election?
That was what the 2004 veterans refer to as the good campaign.
How’d you get hooked up with him?
I didn’t do the ’92 campaign and I really wanted to get in on the ground floor of a long-shot candidate and go tromp through the snows in New Hampshire and Iowa with your candidate. I thought he was good. I had watched him from the sidelines and I met his wife. I went to interview at their home in D.C. and Elizabeth answered the door. And she had a Diet Coke in one hand and a yogurt in the other and she’s like, “Do you want either one of these? Cause they’re all I have in the home. I’m going to lose 40 pounds.”
And I thought, “This woman is never losing 40 pounds,” but still. But I just loved her and we get along great. And she was a big part of why I wanted to do that campaign.
2004 campaign was a good one. It was the 2008 campaign where it all went awry.
Yeah. And you had by then gone?
Yeah, I went to Center for American Progress, which is where I went after the 2004 election. And I helped some on the Edwards ’08 race, particularly Elizabeth, but never joined officially.
And then I became Obama’s deputy communications director in late 2011. And then White House communications director in ’12.
Which is a big job.
It’s a really big job, yeah.
Which you share now with Anthony Scaramucci, almost, right? He was that job.
Yeah, he was it for ...
That’s the 11-day one.
That was the 11-day job.
So talk about that job. Talk about that job, and then I want to get into the book pretty quickly. I want to know how it’s changed, too, because you had a long stint in politics.
In the beginning, it was sort of newspapers and broadcast networks, right?
Right. And it was all about capturing the first few minutes of the network news.
And nightly news. We actually had people who waited at the loading docks at 10 at night to get the first editions of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The print editions, yes. They would cut up the newspapers and have clips like that. I was there at the advent of cable news, right? Because during President Clinton’s time and particularly ...
Fox was created then. And during impeachment, we were providing round-the-clock fodder for cable and that’s where it really took off. And that’s where I feel like the 24-hour news cycle really was created. When I came back with Obama, same dynamics. It’s amazing, I think there’s some things about White Houses that probably have been true since the very beginning. And same dynamics in terms of the interaction with the press. It got even less substance oriented in Obama and more process-y. And I found that stories would burn hot, fast, and out really quickly, so it’s hard to break through to make something matter. So we would be looking for platforms, something like this.
It’s a platform that’s going to matter. We did a great interview with you with President Obama when I was communications director. So you’re dealing with the incoming and trying to figure out as you’re being attacked by an opponent or criticized by the press, is it something that you need? This is like the hardest calculation. Do you have to react?
Do you need to respond to that or do you let it go? And it used to be — even as recently as during Obama — there was a lot of things you could ignore and let go because if you lifted it up or if you responded to them you’re going to draw more attention to the attack or the criticism. And now I think that ... and we would err on holding back and restraining. And now I think you have to respond right away, be cause at a minimum you need to give your supporters and people who are ...
That you’re out there.
Yeah, like, I don’t know, maybe that’s true what he said, I don’t know. So you gotta tell people what they need to know. And there’s very little you can throw me. This is a big myth about the White House, right? President of the United States has a lot of power. The President of the United States has almost zero control.
You are at the mercy of the planet and any one thing can happen on any day that upends your entire plan. So you have to understand, communicating for the President of the United States, that you don’t get to control, you don’t get to have a nice little neat message calendar and say each day what the message is going to be, although you go through that process because it’s worthwhile to try. So what I would try to do is, “How can you reveal President Obama’s qualities and priorities by the manner in which he does respond to whatever the crisis is?”
And you have to think in three dimensions.
And it was the first time you all were sort of attacked from places that you didn’t normally get attacked from, from Reddit or elsewhere.
Right. It’s a big world and everybody has a platform. And you have to realize that nothing stays isolated. So it was during Obama like in 2014 where we started realizing the power of Facebook in news.
We’re going to get into that.
Because, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, not something that should be on the minds of everyday Americans. And when we would be doing research we would find we would hear about it. We’d hear people expressing concern about that or Ebola. And what we found was it was through Facebook that things that used to stay isolated to cable news, we would say, “Go pass it to cable. That’s just something CNN is focused on. Real people don’t care about it.” And then you found it’s starting to get into people’s News Feeds and then it went everywhere. Weirdly, something like Facebook made cable news matter more.
So you then moved to the Clinton campaign. And that’s where all the wheels fell off the bus.
That is, yes. Donald Trump in the 2016 election is the disruption that came to politics to prove to us it is entirely broken. That is my meta-conclusion.
Which you talk about in the book.
I’m going to get to the book in the next section, but I wanted to sort of talk about this. Why did you go to the Hillary Clinton campaign? You were there in the nice Obama White House.
Right, I know.
Serving out a lovely term.
I know ...
Some lunches were about to happen. You were about to be able to have lunch and dinner.
They went to the Arctic. And I would watch with such envy all of the cool things Obama was doing in his last year.
But, what I thought was ...
You could have gone to the Arctic instead.
You could have gone to the Arctic.
Instead, you went to Hillary Clinton ...
I know, it was such an amazing trip.
Why did you go?
Oh, my God. Yeah. Instead, I think that was the weekend I think I actually ended up in the hospital, the weekend he went to the Arctic. But I thought that it was going to be a really hard campaign. And I had a lot of experience. I had a lot of experience with crises. I knew the Clintons well. I never worked directly for Hillary but I knew her pretty well. And I thought it was going to be hard to elect her because it’s a third term for Democrats, the economy’s still not doing well, real big income inequality, wage gaps. And there’s all this stuff that hangs around Hillary Clinton that makes it harder for her than when she said not to do something, than it is for anybody else. So I thought that that was a good use of me. And President Obama supported it. So, I didn’t think it was going to be super fun but I thought it was going to be an important thing to do.
So when you went into it you thought, “Okay, it’s going to be hard because she’s ...” And there’s a thing you talk about in the book.
Where you talk about “there’s something about her I don’t like.”
Yeah, TSAHIJDL, there’s something about her I just don’t like.
Right. Were you aware of that, as heavy as that was?
No. Like I said, I knew that there was stuff that hangs around her that makes it hard for her. But I thought that was because she’d been in politics for 25 years and she gets attacked by the Republicans all the time, and that leaves a mark. In politics, you either get killed off or you get like knocked around a little bit. She got knocked around a little bit.
But I didn’t think as I do now that the sort of what I’d see as irrational, sort of the gut reaction. People who really hate her are people that just have some doubts, I think that comes from her being a woman that’s always been stepping out of the role that we’ve traditionally thought women should hold. It would manifest itself in people having those kinds of reactions like, “Well, why does she want to do this? Why does she want the job?” People believed she could do the job, that’s progress, right? In 2008 that was the question. 2008 people weren’t sure ...
Everyone felt she was competent, intelligent.
And could be Commander in Chief.
But there’s still, there’s something about her I just don’t like. And I went back and watched videos from the ’92 campaign and people who had interviewed her. ABC did this one show where they talked to men and women on the street, “What do you think about Clinton’s wife?” “You know, there’s something about her I just don’t like.” I mean literally, that’s literally what they said. “There’s something about her I just don’t trust.”
This was in the Spring of 2016. I felt totally liberated. I was like, “I am not solving this problem.” This problem is not on the level. This has nothing to do with the woman that is Hillary Rodham Clinton. This is from when she was a college student, even, because she gave a commencement address at Wellesley.
Yeah. It was really challenging, and she ended up on the cover of Time magazine or Life magazine. Then she’s like Bill Clinton’s wife, didn’t change her name, made more money than him, didn’t stay home and bake cookies, all that. And so, she’s just always stepping out of that role. And it doesn’t mean that people want to hold her back or want to hold women back, it’s just that’s how ... we just don’t know how to think about it. And that’s what I think, we just don’t have a model for how we think about women in these kinds of roles and that’s where you end up. You hear it now. I hear about Kirsten Gillibrand. I don’t know, there’s something about her. Kara Swisher.
I don’t know.
No, they don’t do that with me, they do something else. “Isn’t she a bitch?”
Actually, they say, “I do know what it is.” I do know what it is. We’re going right to “bitch” right there. That’s what they usually go to. And some of them are like, “I kind of like it.” And others, not so much. It’s better to be fully defined because then they know what they like or don’t like. They either like a badass woman or they don’t. Then that’s that.
So they can choose.
So when you were working on this campaign ... And I want to talk about this because I’m going to get to the development of the book because we talked about it being called something else. We’ll get to that in a minute. So, you worked on the campaign, did you expect Donald Trump to upend it the way it did? And what are some of the things you should have anticipated? You focus on tech because a lot of it was about tech. It was about emails.
Whoever thought emails would be this important?
Oh yeah, but emails, I think emails was just the proxy issue for her, for a woman with ambition.
If it wasn’t emails it was going to be something else. I felt that, and you could see pretty early on, by the time we got to the fall ... The Clintons, I actually would credit them, Bill and Hillary Clinton both sort of saw this earlier than you would be surprised to know.
The vast right-wing conspiracy, which she was right about.
Yeah, she was right about that. She was right about that. She was right about that but she was also right ... In the fall of 2015 we had debate prep, this is for the primary. And both of the Clintons were very uneasy. They felt like there’s this despair and detachment in voters and that they had not seen before. I thought they were wrong initially. I thought because they didn’t live through the 2010 midterms, since she was Secretary of State you’re sort of isolated from politics. And they’re like, “No, we’ve never seen something like this where people seem, where there’s like a lack of hope.” And they were really concerned. I knew by the fall of 2015, you understood this is something different. Trump was on the rise. Every day ...
Sanders had started.
Sanders was doing well, was building momentum all through the summer. And it felt to me like this was a reckoning and that we had had two decades of extraordinary change. We’d had two wars and 9-11 and the digital revolution and huge changes in the economy, big demographic changes. And there had been all the fissures that were underneath the surface. These frustrations just rolled to the top.
And everybody wanted their business dealt with, from Black Lives Matter activists, maybe their parents had been involved in the civil rights movement. They were focused on getting the right to vote, but their children are like, “We want slavery dealt with.” Our country, for a lot of us, it was founded on a lie and I want that recognized and dealt with. Women, even in the campaign, women who had been victims of assault from decades before, that they wanted that recognized. And Dreamers who wanted to feel like they were part of America. And a coal miner in Kentucky who lived his life according to one plan and all of a sudden those jobs are gone, there’s no answer for him. Everybody wanted something better for America. And it felt like everybody, that this frustration came to the surface and then tech gave everybody the platform from which those got to be heard.
And that was just a mind-blowing, combustible situation.
Right. So could you have foreseen that as a campaign or just not? You just sort of conduct your traditional campaign.
I understood we were going to be rocking and rolling. And it was going to be unpredictable. I understood I was not going to be able to control the message. You just were going to need to be able to deal with whatever came at you. But I didn’t anticipate as deeply the frustration. I thought that we’d seen the height of that in ’10, in the midterms in 2010, backlash to Obamacare, the recession. And I felt that things were going better now. And there was a moment in early September where I thought we were going to lose. 2016.
There were plenty of times during the primary where I thought we were going to lose.
Right. So what was the thing in September? Was it Comey?
No, this is a happy Comey-free zone, the campaign, brief Comey-free zone. We’d had a terrible August, that’s when Hillary got pneumonia, the whole deal with the 9-11 ceremony.
And Trump was just getting better and more disciplined. This is when Bannon had joined the campaign, and they knew what they were going to do, and they were executing pretty well.
And I thought, “Why are we going to be the ones to stop them?” He just blew 15 candidates out of the water on the Republican side. Just blew them out of the water. And this is part of the mistakes that I own in the book is that he had taken a model of politics, which is you don’t really worry about the people you have to convince, you just try to increase ...
Turn up your base.
... turn up your base and increase the intensity of your own support. And he pursued that to a very perverse outcome.
And so, no normal rules of politics applied to him because he didn’t care that he offended people who weren’t already for him.
All right. We’re here with Jennifer Palmieri, we’re talking about her book, Dear Mr. President ... “Dear Madam President.” I’m sorry, not Mr. President, we’ve had enough of those. I’m sorry about that, see, I’m even sexist. I can’t stand it. I’m just an idiot. “Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World,” just not one woman but the same one woman, whoever she may be.
It is. I wanted every girl, woman who reads it to think whatever that, that’s possible for them. Not necessarily that everybody’s going to be president but ...
That’s just what everyone thought Hillary was going to be.
It was everything that Hillary was going to be and she’s not, but she proved it was possible.
She got more votes than him, a lot.
And she did it using an old model, and now we can use a new model.
Okay, we’re going to talk about that and what’s in the book when we get back.
After a word from our sponsors.
We’re here with Jennifer Palmieri. She was the communications director for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, 2016 presidential campaign. She worked for President Obama as White House communications director. She’s been around the D.C. block quite a bit, but she has a new book out called “Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World.” Jennifer, you were going to call it something else. When we had lunch at South By Southwest and you were in a bad mood after the election, right?
You were. You were in a bad place.
I was going to call it “Crying at Work.” That was one of the backup titles.
I don’t know. I forget. You had one that was real mean. It was like, “Fuck you, Trump,” or something like that.
“Not My President.”
Not my president.
“Not My President.”
What did I say?
You said no. That was the first idea. The first idea was “Not My President.”
Have it be an anti-Trump. The second idea was “Crying at Work,” which was to show that we have followed a model for centuries and centuries linked to building the workplace for men. And yeah, we’re going to cry at work. But then we had lunch at the great BBQ, chicken BBQ place. And I was anxious about doing this because I was anxious about putting myself out there. And if I was going to get attacked and people won’t like it and maybe Hillary won’t like it. And you said, “If you’re going to do this, don’t hold back.”
Yeah, so you wanted to spin it positively. You wanted to have a positive spin on it.
Yeah, I want it to be forward-looking and have something ... You know, after everything that we all went through.
I mean, Hillary, us, the sort of country at large, a really corrosive environment, say, “Okay, this happened.” And you see positive things are happening and like, “What are these lessons that we can draw from it?”
Sure. So one of the things I thought you also could have called it was, “We Can’t Have Nice Things.” That was your saying, right?
No. It was attributed to me.
Yes. Explain it, “You Can’t Have Nice Things.”
It wasn’t my saying. But the thing is that it just felt that way during the Clinton campaign.
Whenever you get a plus you’d get a boatload of crap dumped on you at the same time. Yeah, you won Iowa caucuses, but barely.
There were no clean hits. And that’s sort of our lot, was to plow through a really ugly, difficult campaign. Whatever you do, you’re going to be criticized for not doing the other thing.
Right, exactly. You turned it into “Dear Madam President.”
So explain what you were going for here, because I think part of it’s therapy for you too, right?
Yeah. I wrote this book in two-and-a-half months.
Right. You went off to a lodge, right? A fishing lodge or something.
Yeah. My husband and I live on the Chesapeake Bay and we also have a little house in the mountains in New Jersey because there are such things. And I did it in those two places, but I was really determined that something positive could come from this experience.
And also I saw something amazing happening in the country, which was women responding the way they did after Trump won. Because it could have crushed all of our souls who weren’t for him. And you could have thought, “Well, I guess that’s who wins in America.”
That’s what happens America.
What did you feel like right after? I mean, everyone’s asked you this.
Well, I didn’t want to give up, initially.
Right, no. You had that fight with Kellyanne Conway, which I thought was epic. What did you tell her? You just essentially called her ...
I told her that they ran a campaign that gave white supremacists a platform.
And she said, “Are you going to look me in the face and say that I ran a campaign that did that?” I said, “Yes.”
“Yes, I am. Yes.”
And as it turned out ...
“You did.” And as it turned out ...
So here you were trying to get through that or understand it.
Was trying to understand like ...
One, you were negative. Were you surprised by the outcome? You just didn’t think it could possibly happen.
I felt that the harder it got, I just felt like there was some karmic insurance in the world that the worse he was, the harder it got, of course, she was going to win because you couldn’t possibly put her, us, the country through all this ugliness to make Donald Trump president. Every moment that I spent on that campaign can’t be a small role that I was playing in my part to make Donald Trump president of the United States, but that is what happened.
So what are you going to do with that?
So I thought a lot about what’s underneath all this. What can we learn about the obstacles that Hillary faced that were not about her own mistakes, but I think were destined for the first woman to encounter? And from that, can you imagine a new way?
I had a moment sitting on the tarmac in Florida in October of 2016 where I thought, it just occurred to me in a flash, “We made her the female facsimile of the qualities we look for in a male president.” And it was a gut punch, because I felt like we robbed her of her own humanity. No wonder people think she isn’t authentic. And it’s a fundamental flaw in the design. What are we doing? But there is no other way to think about it. I think the first woman had to do that. She had to prove she could do the job that way.
Right. Could you read a little section? That part that I showed you, the idea ... but this was your way of figuring out what that meant and then where to go from here.
Yeah, that like, what’s underneath that and what are the lessons that we can ... I think it’s even just bigger than what are lessons because we’re pushing against all of human history because these are ...
One, look pretty. Two, don’t be difficult.
It’s like no, there’s not a five-point checklist about how women overcome these obstacles. But looking at them, understanding them, and then you see everywhere, for #metoo, all the women running for office, to the women’s marches, to the Parkland marches, people are reacting in a way that they are believing in their own power to make a difference and they haven’t before.
And that’s like what I’m trying to capture and say: Here are some things that we encounter, but here are things now that have worked for me and how we should think differently. Stop having two conversations in your head. One where it’s like, “I really think this as a woman. I really think this.” But, “Let me filter that through with what society tells me I can defend and then I will speak.” It’s like, get rid of that second conversation in your head.
Right, and just say what you want to say.
Just say it.
All right. Read a part from it. There was a part that you had ...
Okay. So this is after the terrible part. This is after we’ve lost. This is waking up on Wednesday, November 9th. And saying that ...
It’s interesting. Where are you? How do you feel?
I’m at the ... waking up on Wednesday, November 9th, the Peninsula Hotel in New York.
“I want to tell you what the day after felt like. It felt like a movie scene you would never see. The scene where you don’t defuse the bomb just in time. The scene where the world explodes. It’s seven a.m. on Wednesday, November 9th. I wake up in my room at the Peninsula New York Hotel, having gone to sleep two hours before. What follows? Silence. A suffocating silence. Like I have been hurled into a black hole, disconnected from the rest of the world. It doesn’t even seem possible to me that I could still speak with the other campaign staff. I imagine that if I picked up my phone to call one of them it wouldn’t work. I imagine each of them also tumbling in space, in isolation, no gravity, no orientation.
“This much I can process. I feel fear, free-floating fear. It’s not attached to anything specific yet, just fear. Also, this, a yearning. Not a hope, because I can feel no hope on this day, but a yearning that this new world America is entering wouldn’t be as bad as we predicted. In failure, we failed. It was on us to save America and we let her blow up. I recall President Obama pointing at me in jest just 36 hours earlier as he left the Philadelphia rally on Monday night saying, ‘Do not mess this up.’
“‘We got it, we got it,’ I replied. A different universe. A different lifetime. One I desperately want to get back to. One in which I understood how the world operated, where certain things were set in stone.”
Oh man, Jennifer. What a happy ... hugs. Though it gets better, right?
It gets better, because what we find is ... I want to express it, it feels that way like a different universe for people.
Yeah. Oh yeah. I think a lot of people felt that way. I thought he’d win, I’ll be honest with you, I thought he’d win.
I did say it to a lot of people, yeah. I took him quite seriously. If he was somewhat appealing to a liberal being from San Francisco, I got wow.
He’s like calling out all the bullshit.
Yeah. I mean, crazy. I didn’t think he’d be this level of inaccurate.
Inaccurate and crazy. Inaccurate bothers me more.
Okay, yeah, but I could ... I mean, every day I saw something.
But then we all decide, all the women who have reacted the way they have, have decided that it’s uneasy because you’ve lost your bearings.
And there’s a lot of comfort and I miss that. I miss believing that I know how things are going to turn out, but there’s a new opportunity here.
So I say, “I think a lot of women feel that way. And initially if you’re in the uncertain post-November 9th world with unease, we had lived our lives playing by a certain set of rules and they had failed us. We didn’t know what to make of it at first. Could it be that women are only meant to go so far in the world? No, that can’t be it. Women haven’t plateaued, it’s the rules we were playing by that were outdated. Learning to appreciate that with this uncertainty comes an empowering sense of new possibility. I look around at all that women are doing in America today and I am inspired.”
Well, that’s better.
So what has to change? From your perspective in writing this book ...
I think the most important thing is women to change what’s in their own minds. And I have a chapter here that’s called Nod Less and Cry More. During the Clinton campaign, we got a lot of bad news, right? And whenever I hear someone come give me some more bad news I’d brief myself, I would listen to what they say, I would nod because women don’t ever ... they don’t show emotion. If bad news is being delivered, others in the room will like always look to see how the woman handles it, right? Is she tough enough?
The anecdote that I open that chapter with is Huma Abedin coming to me on election night asking me like what the latest is. And she said, “Well, what are you saying to me?” “I’m saying there’s a good chance that Donald Trump could be president of the United States.” And she just nods, that’s her reaction because that’s all we know.
And what we can’t ever do in the workplace is show any kind of emotion. You can’t ever cry. You can’t ever cry because you’re angry or frustrated or moved. Women are sort of drawn to reject one and do the other, to not cry and to nod. And I think those are the ways we have inhibited ourselves that we have to stop doing now, there just has to be a different way. I don’t think anybody looks at the way the world is today in America and says, “It’s all going great. We have all the tools that we need.”
Women hold themselves back because they think their voice doesn’t matter, they don’t think that their perspective matters. I’m here to tell you that you aren’t just robbing yourself when you do that: When you hold back, you’re robbing all of us. This is a lesson I learned from President Obama. He wanted all the women in the oval office when you would meet with him to speak up, not because he was nice or wanted women to feel empowered — although he did — but because he wanted to know what you thought. He needed to know. And I think women need to understand that. If you don’t look like everybody else in the room, your perspective matters more, not less.
Right, absolutely. That’s a really interesting thing because I think one of the things people want to get away from is seeming emotional or seeming ...
Yeah, but ...
I was arguing with someone at Facebook about something and they’re like, “Don’t be emotional because it hurts your credibility.”
Oh, can we swear on your podcast? Because you know what? Fuck you.
And then I said, “I’m making a reasonable point and I’m saying it with passion, that’s not emotional. I get what you’re trying to minimize maybe.” It was a really interesting encounter.
Yes, but it is ...
So what? It matters.
It matters. And the workplace ... It was not built with women in mind.
We spent centuries making it a comfortable place for them to succeed.
And I actually do believe that men don’t like it either, many men have the same reactions, too, as women do. I have two sons and they get jammed into an emotional ... they have the ability to have emotions from A to B. That’s it, mad or happy. And that’s all they can do, or quiet or something, but it’s a very small level of emotions. And when they want to cry or they want to be emotional in any way they are barred from it, which I think is even worse in a lot of ways.
Yeah. We wall off a lot of ourselves. And I think if something moves you to tears it means it’s really important to you, I don’t see why you should not be hell-bent.
So what are these other things you want these women who are going to rule the world to do? In the next section, I think, when I get into #MeToo and Facebook.
Yeah. I think the other big realization is — and there’s more of a dawning of this — is how the future is female, the past was too, it’s just nobody thought it was important to write it all down. And this is another realization we had during Hillary, which was she didn’t think her story mattered. She didn’t think she had an interesting story to tell. She didn’t think her own life story mattered. She’s like, “President Obama’s story life has meaning for the American people, so did my husband’s, but mine didn’t.” And I think that’s because we like our presidents’ lives to tell the story of America and the American Dream. And that just hasn’t existed for women.
That’s a really good point.
Barack Hussein Obama, and he’s a black man, that’s a big step for America, but he told us a story about America that we liked. We’re not red America, we’re not the blue America, we were the United States of America. His election represented the fulfillment of a promise in America and we were really proud of it. Bill Clinton pulled himself up by his bootstraps and was a young, exciting governor.
Yeah, technocrat. That’s an American Dream story that we love. But with Hillary, I think this is what happens with the people who are making history and that’s what I want people to just reorient your thinking. Understand that it is a ... I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal to elect a woman president or even that hard. But if you step back and look at this from human history, it’s a radical idea for a woman to be in charge.
In America, we haven’t even had the right to vote for 100 years. So, women in the workplace, women in politics, is all very new. Think of all of our founding documents. Every law that’s enacted in a state, our plays, our movies, our literature, it’s this whole canon of what we think of as the American story is white men.
And it doesn’t mean that white men are all trying to hold women back, but that is all it is. So when you think you don’t fit in and you’re frustrated because you see the second women’s march that happened this March. There was a huge turnout and a lot of people were frustrated because they didn’t see a lot of coverage of it in the press. Stop looking. They aren’t going to cover it. Go be like Kara Swisher and make your own thing. Go make your own podcast. Start your own thing, tell your own story. It is not built for you.
What holds women back? Do you think Hillary Clinton is the last of her version?
Yeah, I do.
Cause there were these tough women who pushed through things, I’m thinking Madeleine Albright. There’s a whole pack of them who really pushed through and got to the top, but it was at great personal cost.
Their reputational cost. You can see the scars, pretty much. And Hillary Clinton’s pretty much the lightning rod for all of them, it feels like it.
Yeah, it was like everything was compressed into her, and it’s something that ...
Right. She had her own difficulties, but they were definitely overemphasized with her more.
Yeah, I think that she has plenty of flaws, she made mistakes. I just think any man would have overcome those mistakes. Any man would have overcome.
What does a woman president look like? Does it have to be a Republican, for example?
I don’t think it’s that. I don’t think it’s formulated like that. I also think that in the midst of ... I believe we’re going to look back at this time for women as pretty revolutionary, where we understood, we can do any job as well as men, we just don’t want to anymore. We’re going to do it our way.
And I think amidst that you have a revolution happening in politics. It could be that I think there’s a number of Democratic women that I think could become the president of the United States. I think Kirsten Gillibrand could become president of the United States. I think Kamala Harris could. I think Elizabeth Warren could. I also think that somebody could rise up that, say, I haven’t seen this person but say there was a Parkland student or a Parkland teacher who was over 35 and could run for president. I could see someone like that doing it. And what does it even mean to be a Republican anymore? All of this is realigning in a really dramatic way.
So in a weird way you’re saying that Donald Trump is a good thing.
I’m saying there are ...
Like the clap.
I’m saying that there are some impacts of his election that are positive.
Which is that it’s making people radicalized in some way.
Yeah, it just makes people realize that we have to think of a new ...
Set of rules.
We have to think of it in a new way, yeah. It proved that all those doubts — particularly, I think, that women have in the back of their mind that, “Well, why is this workplace so hard? Or maybe I shouldn’t have to ...” You say an idea, nobody reacts, three minutes later a guy says the same idea and everyone thinks it’s genius. You aren’t imagining these things, they do still exist. But, I think the most powerful thing you can do is decide in your own mind that your perspective matters. And that’s going to affect everything you do and how you engage work. And that changes your universe.
Often I think I find women, not me, where they’re like, “Oh, it’s just me. I imagined that.” And I think in a lot of ways it comes from Donald Trump says, “Oh no, you’re right. It’s like that.”
And he’s just saying it out loud. “It’s like that.” You know what I mean?
He doesn’t even hide it. He’s transparently appalling.
And expose the world.
But he says it and proud, even. And so most people tend to hide, “Oh no, no, you’re being listened to.” But really not.
Right. You’re really not.
Which is interesting.
You see all these ways in which you’re really not and you try to fit in. And it worked fine for me most of my career. It worked fine up to a point.
And that ain’t working anymore.
That ain’t working. We’re going to talk about what will work and some other issues, like I’d love to get your take on Facebook right now this week and other things.
We’re here with Jennifer Palmieri, the author of a new book “Dear Madam President.”
We’re here with Jennifer Palmieri, the author of “Dear Madam President.” This is an open letter.
It’s an open letter.
So what else does a lady president have to be?
Embrace your battle scars.
This is the other thing I’m a big believer in.
Yeah. Such as? Show them off?
Show them off.
Yeah. Embrace your battle scars. If you show people what you’ve been through, it tells people what they can survive. And I say that in my own life, it’s like I want my face to tell you something about the life that I have lived.
And so, I remember in the Clinton White House, the Bill Clinton White House — not that I need to specify because I know there’s not a Hillary one.
But I started getting these wrinkles in between my eyebrows.
Yeah. The Botox wrinkles.
Yeah, the Botox wrinkles. I thought they were really cool cause I thought it showed that I’d lived through stressful times and I had gained maturity and wisdom.
Made your intense look a little too long.
Yeah. A healthy intense. The intense look, as you noted, has not gone away. And then I remember going to a spa and there was like a brochure that talked about your 11s and how to get rid of them. And I was like, “Oh man, my wrinkles have a name? And I’m supposed to get rid of them? I thought they were really cool.” And I just decided ...
I’m keeping my 11s.
I’m keeping my 11s.
I may go to 12, who knows.
I have gone to quadruple digits.
111. I’m going to 111.
Yeah, since the Clinton campaign. Yeah.
This is the Trump wrinkle.
In the book, I relayed, my sister passed away last year and I relayed the last day I spent with her was my 50th birthday, it was a week after the election.
I know, it was rough. But what I found was, what I want people to know who have family with terminal illness, like everyone does, there’s a lot of joy that you can experience with that person that you never would have otherwise. And there’s a lot of blessings that come with that experience. I don’t want people to be so scared of it. It was a really emotional day and I took a selfie of myself at the Dallas airport afterwards. It’s my 50th birthday, last day I spent with Dana, Hillary had just lost. And I looked at my face and you could see the wear and tear it had taken on me, but I want that to show.
Right. So show off who you are.
Yeah. I’ve always found older women’s faces to be a comfort to me because it shows you, there was something before this moment, there will be something after.
That’s very wise.
You look at them and you can tell that they’ve lived a life that had a lot of experiences and they came through it on the other end. And I think in our presidents’ faces you see it so much.
It’s like a national pastime to marvel at how the job ages them.
Yeah, you saw.
The guy who ran for President in ’08 looks like Barack Obama’s son.
But that’s how much. But I think you show the care and love and frustration that you ...
That it takes to do the job.
What else does a woman president have to be going forward? What do they have to be? Digitally savvy, obviously.
Yeah. I think you ...
You have to be careful with emails.
You have to engage in the world and you have to be willing to reveal everything of yourself. And I don’t mean like put out all your taxes, although you’ll have to do that too. And we’ve talked about this, Kara, like you have to understand who you are, not hold back, have the courage of your convictions, and be willing to reveal that to everyone. And I think you have to ... every day I feel like the mainstream legacy media just matters less and less. Things like the Washington Post and the New York Times, they still matter, they still have a big impact.
Right. And they’re doing a lot of investigations.
Well, they’re doing the best work of their existence, of their careers, particularly I think the Washington Post is outstanding. And I think more investigative journalism is needed and we could still have more of that. But when I think of the daily churn of political coverage, whether it’s on television or in the newspapers, that still has a big influence on how people perceive you. We certainly experienced that even though partly because it gets on people’s Facebook feeds and it still has an impact, but I think if you’re running for president I would seek out so many other opportunities where you can actually have a conversation ...
Or just speak for yourself. Look at Trump. Whatever you think of him, he’s fantastic, sure. Highly inaccurate.
Yeah, but do it yourself, but do it everywhere.
Do it in podcasts like this. Things that really get to reveal who you are to people, I think that’s your most powerful anecdote to when he’s going to do that.
Do you think politicians are ready to do that? Do you think the politicians are comfortable? Because I still find it difficult doing politicians.
And I’m like, what universe do you think you’re living in now?
Did you not see what happened?
This is like the people I give advice to, that is what I say, but I still am frustrated mostly with television coverage, less so with papers. But there’s still too much focus on the game.
The moment. Of politics in the moment and yelling at President Trump last week. “Have there been any discussions of pardons?” Well, he’s not going to answer that question. And also that doesn’t really tell us anything.
That’s not that ...
No, it’s a moment to moment. I call it the one and done thing.
They just sort of go through ... They don’t want to have substantive discussions.
And it’s exhausting and it’s people running in circles. Trump does not interest me. I know who he is. My only question is, what are we going to do about it? But I think if you’re a Democrat candidate who’s thinking about running for president in 2020, you should be out talking to actual people in platforms like this that are lasting and have some kind of shelf life and actually get to reveal who you are.
And not get caught up in the day to day.
And not get caught up ...
Cause he’s really good at that, that’s his forte.
I think that’s the issue, is the press gets sucked up into it, too. He says something crazy and outrageous and ...
And I get it, he’s president of the United States, you have to cover what he does.
More than that, I think it’s interesting to people. It is kooky.
It is a reality show.
I don’t find it interesting at all anymore.
Well, I think it’s like candy. It’s sort of like addictive. It’s addictive, that’s what it is.
What do they say? “Oh my God, there’s so much news today.” And I think, “Not really.”
No. There’s a lot of like ...
There’s a lot of activity.
Activity, right. But it’s not good activity.
But it’s not news. And I think America, when it replaces a president, it likes its opposites, it likes its mirror image. And I think that person could be a woman, could be a man, but I think that is a person who is more thoughtful, sure of who they are and is inclined to bring people together.
So we gotta bring Gandhi back from the dead to be the next president. Gandhi. Let’s see Mandela.
Well yeah. It was interesting, Barack Obama really knew who he was when he ran for president. A lot of people who run for president, they do that.
That’s another thing I think you have to. I think women do know, not know themselves as well as men are certain of.
I think that’s right.
One of my friends, Dan Pfeiffer, he thought a reason why Obama knew himself so well was because Obama had written a book before he ran for president.
A couple of them. “Dreams From My Father” is very introspective. And really, he also has remarkable perception of other people. And it’s that kind of awareness and empathy that I think you need. But man, your soul is going to be stripped bare.
So you have to be able to do it. I’m going to ask you an unusual question. What do you think Trump does well, as a communications director? If you’re looking, if you didn’t ...
Oh, super clear, obviously, drives the news cycle like nobody’s business, engages directly. And also he calls BS on some conventions that honestly I think needed to hear that. This is something that I feel I contributed to, is that if you treat politics like a game — parlor sport, parlor game, I guess we don’t have sports in parlors — people are going to be liable to believe that it is and it doesn’t matter to them to ...
Which it has been for a long time.
It has been for a long time, but it just keeps getting worse.
So where’s the next version of politics coming? What is the next version?
I think we’re seeing it. It’s people taking to the streets.
People taking to the streets, thinking it’s their obligation.
Like the Parkland kids.
And that it’s within their power, like the Parkland kids.
How do you look at them? Boy are they running circles around, the right way.
Yeah, it’s ridiculous.
It’s like they just call ...
All the old.
I was like, “Don’t go down that hole, son.” Charlie Daniels, I was like, “No, don’t go down that hole. They’ll get you.” Don’t venture in there with the word “son” to these people, they’re so good. And then he did it, I’m like, “Oh, well.”
And they’re so good.
Don’t go near Snapchat, dude, that’s all I have to say.
Yeah, I think they’re a generation that’s used to telling their story.
Right? Which is a thing most women aren’t used to doing, so that’s a big deal. And they’re pretty fearless, and they have the courage of their convictions. So they make me optimistic.
I feel great about them.
It’s such a relief. I did not participate in the women’s march in January of 2017.
Were you still in mourning?
I had kind of a different reaction. I did not actually cry about this election, the 2016 election, until we won the New Jersey governor’s race in 2017, because then I felt relief. Like we’re not going to dissolve into a fiery pit of racial hatred, although we still could, but I don’t think we will.
I stepped back because I was like, “I want to see.” I’d done everything I could and I’m kind of a control freak. And I always think that if I do one more thing it’s going to make a difference, but I wanted to step back and say, “Hey, let’s see. All right, America, what are you going to do? How are you going to handle this with Trump?”
So I laid back and watched. Purposely took my hands off the wheel.
Jesus take the wheel.
Jesus take the wheel. And it was pretty remarkable.
Yeah. Was it touch and go with Roy Moore? Were you sort of like ...
I was worried about that. I thought that ... That was another big moment, when we won Alabama. Yeah, that this is something ...
That’s a good different.
And now I’m like, “Beto O’Rourke is going to win in Texas.” He’s running for the Senate up against Ted Cruz. He’s way behind in the polls but he’s going town to town. He’s not taking any PAC money, doesn’t take any corporate money. It’s all low to the ground. It’s all grassroots. It’s like, that is the kind of candidate that’s going to win.
Yeah. So you have worked for the Democratic party your whole life, how do you assess the Democratic party? Because half of it is their finger-pointing and arguing.
Yeah, that’s like what we do. One of the things that makes me so crazy in politics is they’re like, “Well, we need to be more like the Republicans ’cause the Republicans all just say one thing and they just repeat it.” It’s like, “You guys, what evidence do you need? We are not like them.”
We are never going to do that, ever.
And I don’t want to do that.
Never fall in line. We are never going to fall in line. You know why? Because we really care about results and so we’re going to argue about how we get there. So, everybody wants everybody to have healthcare but we all have different ideas how we do it and we think it’s really important so we’re going to fight. That’s just how it’s going to be. But I still think that there’s agreement in the Democratic party about what direction the country should go.
And then the Republican party, my God.
I worry about them because there should be a healthy opposition and right now I don’t know that the Republican party as we have thought about it is going to survive, but I feel like they tolerated some measure of race-beating in their party.
Lee Atwater, I remember.
Yeah, I mean for decades.
Decades. It’s not Trump, it’s not just Trump.
No. Does Donald Trump hijack your party? Yes. And you’ve been pursuing economic policies that are totally bankrupt that help no one except rich people. Yes, Donald Trump hijacks your party. He comes in and does that. It’s like the people who want to engage in the world and the people who are looking to shut the world out through trade policies and immigration policies, that’s how these parties seem to be realigning.
I don’t know how they’re going to survive.
So how do you feel about 2020? I did just interview Anthony Scaramucci here.
Right. What are my ...
Yeah, he said Trump was going to win in 2020.
Well, I think it’s really possible.
I think he’s not. He could run the table again and get just the right amount of votes.
Or people get tired of the show.
His negative from my perspective is people get tired of the show, like they did his show.
I watched a show for years and then I got tired, one day.
It’s just, I’m done, it’s enough of you. And he’s playing it like a TV show, which is why ...
Yeah. People get tired of it. I think that they’re going to be exhausted and want something that they can bring people together.
Well, or you remember the end of the movie “The Truman Show”?
When he walks off and says, “Goodbye, goodnight.”
And then everyone ... the thing goes in and someone goes, “Well, what’s on next?” And that’s what I felt like. What’s on next? You know what I mean?
After you wrote this are you positive now or what is your ...
I am. I do.
You’re doing a whole bunch of consulting, right?
I do. I work for the Center for American Progress.
And also the Emerson Collective.
Which is Laurene Powell Jobs.
Organization. Does really incredible work, work in immigration, education, social justice, criminal justice. So I think it’s a scary time, it’s not a time I ever expected to be living through. It’s like every day you see something that disturbs you, but I see more things that make me feel like America is rising to the moment here. I mean, we had the terrible shooting in Sacramento, devastating.
But we see it. And we see it.
You see that, and white families whose children aren’t subjected to that kind of prejudice from law enforcement now are feeling more deeply what it feels like to be scared that when your kid walks out the door they’re not going to walk back in because they went to school. These are really devastatingly sad ways that we are connecting and learning from each other, but I feel like we are.
I want to end on Facebook because it’s been in the news this week, and I know you have some opinions about the Facebook. What do you think they did?
I think they, like a lot of people, had a lack of imagination about how haywire things could go. I think the same was true about for them with Russia, for the Obama administration with Russia. I would say like in the Clinton campaign we were ... it felt like something really funny was going on.
Hillary talked about it afterwards in my interview with her last year. And now of course a lot of what she said has come to pass.
Yes. I sounded like a crazy person during the campaign saying, “I think this is the Russians and they’re doing it purposefully.”
Right. You know, it’s the part of “Homeland” that’s ...
“It’s the Russians.”
It’s the Russians. And I think that Facebook had a failure of imagination about how haywire it could go and a lack of imagination now about how you solve that. It’s the most powerful communications platform the universe has ever seen. They seem to be sort of hamstrung by that, scared of that, not wanting to acknowledge that. But don’t have an idea how to fix that.
What would you do besides fixing the situation?
So this is the great thing.
I have no idea.
So I get to be one of those people who do that to me all the time.
Like, “Oh, I don’t know what they’re doing on the Clinton campaign. If I were there I would have figured it out by now.” Or, “It’s crazy that they haven’t figured it out.”
Okay, what’s the one thing you would have done different?
Oh, on the Clinton campaign?
New hair color? What?
For Hillary. I would have ...
Brunette. I would have listened to her more. I do relay that on my first day she sort of laid out, just like vomited up what it had been like to be her for the last 25 years. And everything, she’s just sort of bewildered by it all. Times the press liked her, times they hated her, times the public liked her, times they didn’t. She just wanted to lay it all out but she’s like, “We’re going to try to start new with the press and other forms of communicating. And I want you to never censor yourself or hold back, you should always tell me what you think and what you think I need to do. But I might say no a lot because I’ve been me for a long time and I kind of know how people react to me.”
And it was a little sad because she was like, “I think I’m a simple and serious person. I don’t understand why I provoke such rage in people.” And so, I feel like she was the least surprised that it turned out the way it did. And if we had understood, listened to her more about like, “I’m worried about this or that, or how that’s going to be received.” She might have ... and any one change could have made a big difference because we lost by so little.
Yeah. Why didn’t she turn around when he was behind her?
Because, I totally disagree with her on this point, because she now says, “I should have turned around and said, ‘Hey, you creep, back up.’” If she had done that ... because remember, that was the debate where Donald Trump brought the women who had accused Bill Clinton of a lot of bad behavior. If she had done that, the entire coverage ... because remember, that was the old universe we were living in, the coverage would all have been Clinton rattled. Hillary Clinton rattled by Donald Trump.
He’s been holding this trump card, so to speak, that he’s going to come after her on being an enabler, and he’s going to come after her on having attacked women ... all, which is totally false by the way, which is among the reasons his ploy didn’t work because the facts didn’t verify it out. But it would say he won, he got under her skin, he rattled her.
If she had turned around and said, “What are you doing, you creepy dude?”
I just think in the old world, I think that’s what would have happened. And I talked to her before she had to go out onstage after this had happened. And I said ... He had done this press conference and then sought to seat these women in the front row, so all this craziness. I was like, “Remember, this was designed to do one thing.”
Yeah, get under your skin.
So why not get rattled? You’re just talking about crying in public.
She said ... Yeah, I got that.
Yeah, but the great news is he didn’t do it.
And she’s like, “Nope, he didn’t.”
Although on taking your advice ...
But in that world if she did it then I just don’t think it would have worked. Now I think it would. That’s not how the press would have received it then. It would have been like, “Wow, he really got under her skin.” And we would have spent the next three weeks dealing with that. But I think now, yeah. Now, I would ...
Turn around and ...
Pull a Trump on him.
Don’t listen to the second conversation that happens in your head where you’re trying to decide whether or not you can justify what you believe. Say what you believe.
Just, “What are you doing?”
“What are you doing?” I did an interview about ... People ask me about crying at work and they’re like, “What are you going to say to some people that say, ‘Well it’s just not professional’”? I say it as ...
Would you like to weep right now?
Yeah, no. I care a lot about you, Kara, I might just mist up a little bit.
No, I don’t think I can get you to cry. So last question, what are you doing next? So you wrote this book, it’s doing really well.
It’s doing well. Oh my God, I was such a stress case last week about it.
The first couple days, which I guess is normal. What I love is that women like it and say they want to give it to their daughters or that their daughter has like stolen it from them and it’s in their 14-year-old daughter’s bedroom, she can’t find it cause her daughter won’t give it up. It seems to be the right moment for something like this.
But you want to reach the dudes, too.
I have Republican book agents.
They are also Jim Comey’s book agents.
They’re really smart guys, these guys that ...
Seen that one yet, your favorite.
Matt Lattimore and Keith ...
Now is he your hero now or not, or never?
He just got caught up in something that got out of control, too.
I don’t think any of this is an accident that 2016 is the year where all this craziness happened. I think that Jim Comey was more interested in protecting his own reputation than he would like to admit. And I think that influenced how he ...
It’ll be interesting to see what he says in the book.
Yeah, I know he doesn’t agree with that. He thinks that he was protecting the integrity of the FBI, but he went above and beyond the way he handled this situation on a number of occasions in unprecedented ways that had huge impacts with us. And I just think that ... Yeah, it was a problem.
But the guys, my Republican friends, read the book and they said, “Wow, I never saw it that way. I never saw it that way for what happened to Hillary. I never saw it that way for how women experienced things.” And a lot of guys I’ve talked to want to make sure that their sons read it too, so you just have a different perspective. And like you said, some of these inhibitions ... I mean, think of the little girl, Yolanda King, MLK’s granddaughter, that spoke at the Parkland march. She’s so fearless and joyful, like all little girls are.
They’re all super confident and then we learned to not be that way.
Little boys do, too.
She’s staying that way.
Yeah, stay that way, don’t learn it.
That’s what you hope comes out of it.
Yeah, so what are you going to do?
I don’t know.
What’s your next chapter? You going to do another presidential campaign?
I want to be one of the people who sits on the sidelines and judges everybody.
So cable, a cable pundit.
Yeah, I don’t think I’ll do that either. But I love writing. I really do.
I love it. I was surprised to find that I ...
So you consult and ...
Yeah, I like sitting in a room by myself and being like, “I think this. Hit send.”
It’s amazing. It’s called the internet. Don’t you like it?
But after working in ...
I know, you have to be careful.
Yeah, I have to be careful.
I think that Kellyanne Conway moment was a big one for you.
That was ...
And I cried all the way through that, my voice was shaking and I was crying.
Yeah, I watched it before this interview. I could see your mind going, “You know what? Fuck it.”
“I’ve had enough. That is this far and no further.” You could see it all going through ...
And you went for it and I was like, “Yes. Do not regret doing that.”
Do not regret it. And then the next week I met with a guy and he was like, “Oh, I saw what happened to her, that’s bad. That’s too bad that kind of thing isn’t good for anybody. I guess it was too soon for you.”
I was like, “Fuck you. It was not too soon for me. I’m glad I said it. It was totally true.”
So, how should we remember Hillary Clinton?
Man, she was the woman who had the will and courage to go down this really difficult path even though she knew it was going to be hard, because she thought it was the right thing to do. And I think that she’s the woman that showed us, did it the way it’s always been done and I think showed us that we can embrace a new way. And I just hope the next ... The woman that does get elected is going to owe her a debt of gratitude. And I wanted ...
She reminds me of Eleanor Roosevelt in a lot of ways.
She got killed during times.
She got killed.
And now is seen as a great icon.
Yeah. I don’t think we have to dwell on it to say ...
Except if you’re Fox News, they love to write about that.
Except Fox News. But let’s examine what happened there, because it was a big deal.
Let me ask you one more question, people saying that she shouldn’t talk. Do you think she ...
Oh it’s so ridiculous. Then stop asking her questions.
Okay, if you don’t think she should talk.
Also do you say that Mitt Romney shouldn’t talk? Do you think that John Kerry shouldn’t talk?
I don’t hear this said of other ... it’s so transparent to me what that’s about, there’s something about her they just don’t like. It amazes me that it’s still an issue.
Well I’m thrilled you’re talking, Jennifer.
Thank you, Kara.
Thank you so much. Wasn’t that a good end?
Anyway, it was great talking to you. Thanks for coming on the show.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.