Some of the most vivid impressions I have from when I covered the 1992 Clinton Presidential campaign are actually of Hillary more than of Bill. One I particularly remember, I think it was during the first time we were actually in Little Rock. We were standing out on the sidewalk in front of the Arkansas governor’s mansion and Hillary came out to send the governor/candidate off on his day. She was wearing dark leggings and a long, red, blousy shirt and might have ever been barefoot. After talking for a few minutes, she looked up at him with a hand on his chest and they gave each other a kiss goodbye. I don’t know why that has stuck in my memory. It just seemed so personal and authentic. A private moment between two people whose lives would become some public. A cynic might say that they knew we were watching and it was after the Jennifer Flowers accusations were public, but they were down a long driveway, there weren’t that many of us at that time and I’m not even sure I was with a camera crew.
Another time, we were in a small town on a Sunday, somewhere in upstate New York, during one of the many bus trips. The Today Show had joined us to tape a sit down interview with Hillary. I wasn’t involved, but as the NBC producer traveling with the campaign I was there, sitting with her as the crew was setting up. I had been with her before, when I was the producer coordinating a morning live-shot, but I didn’t really know her and didn’t think she knew who I was, suddenly she called me by name. I was blown away. Maybe she’d heard someone call me by name, but I don’t think that Katie Couric, who had just borrowed my lipstick, knew my name and Jeff Zucker, knew it, but was not likely to have used it. She has become famous for her ability to retain and call people by their names and it is one of her many impressive qualities.
I also remember her for her speeches. Maybe it was because I had listened to his speeches over and over again, but when she gave a speech I remember being impressed, I think it was because they seemed so coherent. I’m not really sure, but I was always happy when she was doing the speaking. I suppose it could have been that we didn’t hear that many women speaking on the campaign trail back then. It was a good thing that she was so good at it, because in the last few days of the campaign, Bill lost his voice and the doctor forbid his giving speeches, so Hillary was campaigning with him and doing the speaking. They seemed to really support each other.
We got some insight into how he felt about her, when he had to answer our questions because of one accusation or another that came up about her during the campaign. Another of those vivid memories was getting back on the campaign plane after a scrum on the tarmac, I think we were in Michigan, and standing in the galley with him, he talked about how surprised he was of people’s impressions of her and offered that she was really much more conservative than people thought. At the time she was being accused of being a leftist. I guess most Bernie supporters are too young to remember that.
Monday night I will attend the “She’s with Us” concert at the Greek Theater for a chance to hear her speak again in person. I’m looking forward to it.