One of the most popular arguments against Hillary Clinton is that everything she does, every smile, every joke, and every meme is carefully curated. Her naysayers don’t think she’s real enough. She comes off as a robot who is programmed by her staffers to pander for votes. Some people can’t trust her or vote for her because of this belief that she isn’t genuine, like say a Donald Trump. Well, I call bullsh-t on that assumption. As a powerful woman who has been in the public eye for the majority of her life, it makes sense that her public image is carefully guarded and rehearsed. Clinton has had haters coming for her from the left and the right even before she became the Democratic nominee for the 2016 presidential election. Throughout her career she’s been forced to check a few political foes and clap back at critics in a way that showcased her realer side. Given the longstanding narrative that she’s a “phony” run of the mill politician who’ll do anything for a vote, these moments when Clinton lets her guard down and we get a glimpse behind the carefully curated public face are much more rewarding. You want real? Here’s a look at the times Hillz kept it 1000!
January 1992: Love Him or Leave Him Alone
Though the best known infidelity of Bill Clinton’s presidency was the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Clintons were dealing with Bill’s adultery allegations long before his presidential campaign even began. Though Hillary’s public statements on Bill’s affairs were limited, she came very real with it from the beginning. She spoke little during this 1992 interview, but she delivers the great line during a 60 Minutes interview, “If that’s not enough for people, then heck, don’t vote for him.”
January 2008: That Time She Had to Read Barack Obama
In one of the early presidential debate, Hillary responded firmly after Barack Obama attempted to frame himself and John Edwards as “agents of change” and Hillary as the status quo. “I want to make change, but I’ve already made change. I will continue to make change. I’m not just running on a promise of change, I’m running on 35 years of change… so you know, I think it is clear what we need is somebody who can deliver change. And we don’t need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can and can’t be delivered.”
June 2008: Gracious Presidential Concession
Every one loses sometimes, but some of us are fated to lose on a bigger stage than others. One real (and at times even raw) moment in Hillary’s storied history that is often ignored is her gracious concession speech in 2008. Despite an ugly campaign that was fought through the last primary (despite what some today might claim), she managed to deliver a concession that was somehow both empowered and humble. With lines like “Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.” She stated that this too would pass, and she would be stronger for it.
December 2010: Don’t Try It!
During a 2010 interview in Kyrgyzstan, Clinton was asked what clothing designers she preferred. Let’s just say that if you ask questions regarding her style choices, you best not miss.
May 2011: Bin Laden Got Dealt With
If you search “Osama Bin Laden Hillary Clinton” on Google, you will come up with a number of right wing outlets seeking to put some distance between Hillary Clinton and the killing of the 9/11 mastermind. Half a decade later, it still burns conservative commentators that a Democrat and a woman was Secretary of State when Bin Laden got what was coming to him. In her remarks following the attack, Clinton said, “Let us remind ourselves, this is America. We rise to the challenge, we persevere, and we get the job done.”
October 2015: Benghazi Hearings #FactsOnlyReuters
Clinton has given a composed yet forceful performance every time that she has been dragged before a Congressional Committee to discuss Benghazi, an event that the far right views as an albatross around Hillary’s neck, but has never been able to convince the rest of the country of their point of view. At this latest and hopefully final Benghazi hearing, Clinton viewed her interrogators (as the New Yorker’s Amy Davidson put it) “not with outrage, but pity.” With lines like “I’m sorry that doesn’t fit your narrative, Congressman. I can only tell you what the facts are.”
October 2015: Burns Bernie
Bernie Sanders far surpassed America’s expectations during his primary campaign, but there were a few key moments in the early debates it was clear even to the Berniest of Bernie Bros that Hillary had Sanders’ number. Perhaps the most memorable early punch from Clinton to Sanders was the line, “I’m a progressive who likes to get things done.”
October 2015: Boy, Bye!
Secretary Clinton’s brutal response to barely-ran candidate Lincoln Chafee is worth remembering for those keeping count of shade moments during this election cycle. Clinton was asked if she would like to respond to Chafee’s attack on her ethics, and she simply replied, “No.” It was a Mariah Carey-esque dismiss. Byeeeee!
June 2016: Owns Trump
Many of the Presidential election’s early skirmishes have been fought on Twitter and in passing jabs between primary campaign stops. Early in June, Hillary launched a serious opening salvo at Donald Trump with a half-hour address in which she eviscerated Trump’s inconsistent and unrealistic foreign policy. Towards the end of the masterful speech, she sums up her point with “It’s clear he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about, so we can’t be sure of which of these things he would do. But, we can be sure that he’s capable of any or all of them.”