Here’s Hillary Clinton Dodging a Question About Running for Office … in the ‘80s

As first lady of Arkansas, Clinton was just as cagey as she is today.

Hillary Clinton is interviewed and photographed in Chicago on March 16, 1992, during the presidential campaign for her husband, Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton served on Wal-Mart's board of directors for six years when her husband was governor of Arkansas, resigning in May 1992 two months after this photo was taken, and now is feeling political heat over her deep ties to Wal-Mart. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
Emma Roller
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Emma Roller
June 26, 2014, 12:06 p.m.

Halfway in­to 2014, many polit­ic­al junkies are already weary of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s re­peated eva­sion of the ques­tion: Will she or won’t she run for pres­id­ent?

Turns out, Clin­ton has been dodging this type of ques­tion for more than 30 years.

The Wash­ing­ton Free Beacon has just re­leased the second batch of what it’s call­ing “The Hil­lary Tapes” — re­cord­ings of a 1983 in­ter­view between journ­al­ist Roy Reed and Clin­ton, who was then the first lady of Arkan­sas. The first in­stall­ment of “The Hil­lary Tapes” in­cluded a clip of Clin­ton talk­ing (some say flip­pantly) about de­fend­ing a rap­ist as his court-ap­poin­ted at­tor­ney.

In the most re­cent re­lease, Reed asks Clin­ton if she has her own as­pir­a­tions for high­er of­fice. It may well be the first time Clin­ton dodged such a ques­tion from a re­port­er:

When Reed asked Hil­lary Clin­ton if she ever thought about run­ning for pub­lic of­fice, she said, “No. But, I don’t think about the fu­ture much.”

“I’ve nev­er had any great game plan, or [thought], ‘Here’s where I’m gonna be in 5 years, 10 years’,” she said. “I’m not mo­tiv­ated that way. So no, I nev­er — I mean, people ask me that all the time.”

The in­ter­view also provides a glimpse in­to the first spec­u­la­tion about a Clin­ton White House:

“How would you feel about liv­ing in Wash­ing­ton?” asked Reed.

“I don’t know,” Hil­lary Clin­ton re­spon­ded. “I like Wash­ing­ton. I think Wash­ing­ton is an in­ter­est­ing city “¦ it’s not a place I’d prefer to live.”

“How about if a job opens up there?” Reed asked.

“It would de­pend on the job,” she replied.

Reed may have even been the first journ­al­ist to pre­dict a Clin­ton would be­come the first fe­male pres­id­ent — Chelsea Clin­ton, that is.

Reed said that he had ex­pec­ted Clin­ton to say she wanted her daugh­ter to be the first wo­man pres­id­ent. 

“It’s a hard thing to plan for,” Clin­ton answered. “A lot of luck, a lot of oth­er things may enter in.”

People likely won’t stop ask­ing Clin­ton if she’s run­ning for pres­id­ent un­til she fi­nally de­clares her can­did­acy, or it’s Novem­ber 8, 2016 — whichever comes first. But with all that prac­tice, it’s no won­der she’s an ex­pert at cir­cum­nav­ig­at­ing those ques­tions.

What We're Following See More »
Bill Murray Crashes White House Briefing Room
6 hours ago

In town to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, Bill Murray casually strolled into the White House Briefing Room this afternoon. A spokesman said he was at the executive mansion for a chat with President Obama, his fellow Chicagoan.

CFPB Decision May Reverberate to Other Agencies
9 hours ago

"A federal appeals court's decision that declared the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau an arm of the White House relies on a novel interpretation of the constitution's separation of powers clause that could have broader effects on how other regulators" like the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Morning Consult Poll: Clinton Decisively Won Debate
10 hours ago

"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."

Twitter Bots Dominated First Debate
11 hours ago

Twitter bots, "automated social media accounts that interact with other users," accounted for a large part of the online discussion during the first presidential debate. Bots made up 22 percent of conversation about Hillary Clinton on the social media platform, and a whopping one third of Twitter conversation about Donald Trump.

Center for Public Integrity to Spin Off Journalism Arm
11 hours ago

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the nonprofit that published the Panama Papers earlier this year, is being spun off from its parent organization, the Center for Public Integrity. According to a statement, "CPI’s Board of Directors has decided that enabling the ICIJ to chart its own course will help both journalistic teams build on the massive impact they have had as one organization."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.