Hillary Clinton Sees Nothing Wrong In Being Ambitious – An Intimate Knowledge of Presidential Role

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire — When asked about the critics who call her ambitious and power-hungry and if she thinks people would have an
easier time with her if elected president, New York Senator Hillary Clinton said, “I don’t take that seriously. I don’t know anyone in the U.S. Senate who hasn’t been motivated. You’re not sitting around eating bonbons and you get a call saying, ‘You’re starting on January 3rd.'”

In the September 17 Newsweek cover, “What Kind of Decider Would She
Be?” (on newsstands Monday, September 10), Senior Writer and Political
Correspondent Jonathan Darman speaks with the Democratic frontrunner in the race for the party nomination about what she has learned over her years in politics and what she has to offer as a leader.

The biggest difference between Clinton today and herself 15 years ago
is that she has a much deeper understanding of what American leadership at home and abroad has to mean for the 21st century. “I am much more
experienced in dealing with my own government and understanding both its
potential and its limitations. I believe that my commitment to issues that I care deeply about is just as strong as it was not only 15 years ago, but 35 years ago. My commitment and understanding of the process that has to be pursued in order to make change in America is just much greater than it
would have been in the past.”

As someone who has watched a president up close, she has an
understanding that no other candidate has. “It is very important for a
president to seek out information from a wide variety of sources. I seek
out people who are not only able to come with some expertise or relevant
experience, but are willing to debate and discuss differences of opinion.”

Clinton adds, “Sometimes it surprises people to see how seriously I seek
out that kind of debate. Obviously, I can’t know every nook and cranny of
what a decision might mean. I want people to try to reach a consensus, but if a consensus is not easily available, I want to know all sides of the issue … I feel very comfortable, once I have decided, taking
responsibility for that decision. It’s not anybody else’s decision once
I’ve made it. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.”

When asked if she believes it is easier for her to trust Republicans
and empathize with them since she has been a senator than it was
beforehand, Clinton says that it goes both ways. “Trent Lott famously said that after I was elected, lighting would strike. [But] he and I worked together. I backed him for what he was trying to do after Katrina because I thought it was the right thing to do, and it was reminiscent painfully of
what we have gone through trying to help New York after 9/11. If you had
said to me eight or nine years ago that I’d be working with Trent or
Lindsey [Graham] or a lot of these folks, I would think you’re probably a
little cross-eyed.”

Clinton says that in order to effect change, one has to work within the system, which is something she had to learn early on during her husband’s
first term as president. “I have a much fuller understanding of the dynamic between the White House and the Congress, no matter who’s the president or who’s the leadership. I would be the first to tell you I was not as aware
of that and as understanding 15 years ago.”

In the cover story, Darman writes that rivals in the race for the
Democratic nod repeatedly have been using this experience against her. Many have tried to define themselves as agents for change while painting Clinton as the status quo. Through the month of August, however, Clinton’s aides drafted new language that could expand the definition of change to include a woman who’d been in Washington, D.C., for 15 years. “You bring change by working within the system,” Clinton finally declared on Labor Day weekend.

“You can’t pretend the system doesn’t exist.”

Looking back over her life and political career, Darman writes that the young Clinton presidential campaign has, to date, been classic Hillary:

disciplined, efficient and loyalty-obsessed. Her closest campaign aides are veterans of her two runs for Senate in New York. In staffing the campaign, these senior loyalists had two criteria: find the best of the best and the brightest and find people who wanted to work for Hillary. “You would
interview people and some people would say, ‘I really want to do a
presidential’,” says a senior adviser who spoke about campaign process only anonymously. “That was the wrong answer. The right answer was ‘I really want to work for her.'”

Darman writes that the real evidence about what kind of president
Clinton would be may lie in the things she isn’t saying — or isn’t saying yet. He writes, “Friends and advisers say that the current Iraq debate obscures a simple truth about Hillary Clinton: 15 years inside The System have made her a fervent believer in the strong, smart management of American power.” A top Clinton aid says, “At this stage of the ’91 campaign, Bill Clinton didn’t know anything about the use of power and only a limited amount about international affairs. She’s tougher than he is.

She’s not going to advertise that during the primary process. But everyone who knows her knows that.”

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