Transcript: Interview With Hillary Clinton

Clinton: I love New York. I mean, I'm … I'm like the adopted child. I just love New York. And so I felt like this was, you know, the best place I could serve and there was a lot to be done and we were going to have a democratic President and a Democratic Congress and that's what I would be doing. And it was, um … you know, about, I don't know, five, six days after the election, um … and my husband and I were out for walk actually in a sort of preserve near where we live in New York. And he had his cell phone in his pocket, I didn't have anything on me. And all of the sudden it started ringing in the middle of this big, uh … nature preserve. And, uh … instead of turning it off, he answered it, and it was President Elect Obama, uh … wanting to talk to him about some people he was considering for, uh … positions. And he said, you know, and I'd like to, you know, also talk to Hillary at some point. Fine, you know, we know a lot of people. So obviously somebody's calling to say, check with this person or what do you think about that person?

CM: So you didn't, at that point, think it meant talk to talk to… talk to you?

Clinton: No. No. I didn't. And then they began these little, you know, tidbits in the paper and, uh … my press, uh … people began to say to me, oh, I think … I said, that is absurd and ridiculous. I mean, these rumors, it's like I'm going to quit and run for Governor. I … I've been so used to this kind of talk all my life, so forget it. Then, uh … when I did talk to the press, and he said he wanted me to come to Chicago, because he wanted to talk to me. And …

CM: So tell me about that phone call. He calls and he says; Hillary …

Clinton: Well, he … he called and … and, uh … he said, uh … you know, I … I really would like to talk to you about some things. And, uh … I'd like you to come to Chicago to … to meet with me. Even then I honestly did not believe it was about me. I did not. I mean, maybe I was in denial, but I did not believe it. And I wasn't really, in any way, at that moment interested in it being about me either.

So it was kind of a … a double, you know, denial. But when I went there and met with him and he began to talk to me, my … my first reaction was, you know, really, there are other people and I … I am happy to be back in the Senate. And the campaign was, you know, enormously exhausting. (Laughs). I think, you know, there's a lot of other ways I could help you. But he's a very persistent, um … and persuasive man. And I did begin to look at it seriously then, and um … I talked to a lot of people.

CM: Now, did he say State Department right away?

Clinton: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. He said, I want you to, uh … be my Secretary of State. And I said, oh, no you don't. (Laughs).

CM: No, did you really say that?

Clinton: I really did. (Laughs). I said, oh, please, there are so many other people who could do this, and do it really well and … and, yeah, I … I had this kind of image in my head, I'd be back in the Senate, I'd get to spend time in my house, I'd visit my friends in the city and upstate, and go back and work on healthcare and all the things that were going to happen.

So I was very taken back and … and somewhat resistant, um … to the idea, because it just seemed so unexpected. I couldn't grasp it.

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