Hillary Rodham Clinton has changed, she's not who she was in 2008, and that means a lot for her potential run for the presidency, but also how she'll handle the next year.  Twitpic of the Ready for Hillary bus that will follow Clinton's book tour.

As Hillary Rodham Clinton begins her Hard Choices book campaign it’s clear she has changed. She’s not who she was in 2008, and that means a lot for her potential run for the presidency, but also how she’ll handle the next year.
Twitpic of the Ready for Hillary bus that will follow Clinton’s book tour.

“As the independent board that investigated every aspect of this, including all the cables, concluded, there was a lack of appreciation and response to the level of threat. … That was never brought to me … What I did was give very direct instructions that the people who have the expertise and experience in security. … That is personal though, Diane. And, I mean, I’m not equipped to sit and look at blueprints, to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be. That’s why we hire people who have that expertise. … But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t saying all the time, “We’ve gotta make sure we secure this spot and that spot.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton on Benghazi [ABC News]

ONE OF the things that stood out so vividly in Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s interview with Diane Sawyer is that something about her has changed. There is a real difference to the way she’s speaking about herself, her experiences and what she’s learned, including the mistakes she’s made. The “radical candor” from Clinton is a perfect ramp to the tour of Hard Choices that will make a lot of money for a lot of brick and mortar book stores.

“I think because I really didn’t have a good strategy for my campaign. I didn’t plan it the right way. … As a candidate who was already so well known … I don’t think I ever said, ‘Yes, you may have known me for eight years, but I don’t take anything for granted. I have to earn your support.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton

At one point last night, Diane Sawyer obviously found Clinton’s answers striking, asking if this was a little “radical candor?” Mrs. Clinton smiled broadly and said she liked that phrase and was going to use it. Then came the most transparently revealing comments she’s made that is a reminder to every woman just how important her candidacy would be.

“When you’re in the spotlight as a woman you know you’re being judged constantly. It’s just never ending. .. You get a little worried. People over on this side are loving what I’m wearing, looking like, saying. People on this side aren’t…Your natural tendency is how do you bring people together so you can better communicate? … I’m done with that. I’m just done. …I’m over it. …

I think I have changed. Not [to] worry so much about what other people are thinking… I’m going to say what I know, what I believe, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Clinton was not only comfortable talking about the sexism she faced in 2008, but went so far as to say the men doing it, people commenting on every little thing about a woman who lives her life in public, should think about how they would like it if it was their daughter, “their own sisters,” their mother. She also called President Vladimir Putin out for making sexist comments, but also said he’s hardly “the first male leader who’s made a sexist comment like that.”

The interview with Diane Sawyer won’t be forgotten soon, with Sawyer standing her ground as strongly as Hillary did, even at one point acknowledging that she was older than Hillary, as well as the same generation and also from Wellesley. It was a riveting hour that went by in a blink.

Where Clinton was in 2008 is not where she stands today.

Clinton’s been through a couple of seminal passages in her life, not the least of which is being willing to join President Obama has his secretary of state and heal the Democratic Party after a pulverizing primary, which was no small thing. Being part of the team that took down Osama bin Laden, watching President Obama‘s strong leadership, which she cites in her new book, there is a warrior’s respect for her old boss. Personally, it’s clear that the loss of her mother was deeply profound, which is expected, but keeping the book she was reading when she passed, with the page marker still there says something deeper. She’s married off her daughter, who is expecting her first child, so Clinton is about to be a grandmother as well.

Hillary Rodham Clinton also came when she faced her own mortality. When you’re involved in a health challenge that shakes the notion that you are invincible, especially in the 3rd act of your life, it changes you. Most people do grapple with something of this nature and most prevail, but the passage of seeing your body falter is harrowing. As a religious person, Mrs. Clinton’s faith is deep enough to steady her, but the visceral experience of fighting back from an injury makes you think practically about what you take on. When it’s serious as her concussion was, complete with dizziness and double vision, but then is complicated by a blood clot that could have dislodged, it makes you evaluate options very carefully and on no one else’s terms.

Hillary Rodham Clinton has come out on the other side of all her experiences, including being a supportive wife to the formidable force that is William Jefferson Clinton. It’s clear she doesn’t need the presidency, just as it’s transparently obvious when she talked about Rand Paul being fair game, too, that the twinkle in her eye reveals there still lives excitement for another battle. One that she’s ready to make, planning to make, but is also very aware that she has nothing to be gained by a long, killer campaign, which she has no intention of encouraging.

Biding her time, she’s doing everything you need to do to have the option to run if she wants it.

One sly rhetorical inclusion by Clinton was very interesting and wasn’t done by accident.

Diane Sawyer asked “Where is the marquee achievement?,” while showing graphics of the Wall Street Journal, quoting an article that read, “no sweeping peace agreements.” Quoting Foreign Affairs on Clinton’s State tenure, “…without a signature doctrine, strategy, or diplomatic triumph.” Sawyer continued, “no signature doctrine.”

“We haven’t had a doctrine since containment worked with the Soviet Union. But we’ve had presidents who have made some tough calls, some hard choices, some of which have worked, some of which have not.” 

It’s presidents who make foreign policy, diplomats, including the secretary of state, follow the policy and the orders of the commander in chief.

There are already some hints to what differences she had with her boss, we know about Egypt, as well as Israeli settlement differences, Syria, too, but like all establishment politicians, these differences will not add up to breaks in continuity.  However, Clinton is of a different generation and sees the world differently, but the larger truth is that the world has changed since Barack Obama won in 2008, and part of what Hillary Clinton has is what’s needed.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to stand her ground on Benghazi, in fact, the partisan hysteria surrounding it fires her up.

“Actually, it’s more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball. We ought to be in the majors,” Clinton said. “I view this as really apart from — even a diversion from — the hard work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world.” [ABC News]