Hillary Clinton isn't exactly famous for her candor, and that's the precise reason her Sept. 12 appearance on "Pod Save America" was so shocking. The hosts of the popular liberal podcast — who served as aides in the Obama White House — dropped by Clinton's Chappaqua, NY, home the day before the release of her new book, What Happened, and what ensued was a surprisingly open sit-down. Clinton offered blunt commentary on her continuing rift with former opponent Bernie Sanders, President Donald Trump's increasingly worrisome affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and much, much more. If this conversation is any indication, it's pretty safe to say that we can expect a far less guarded version of Hillary Clinton from here on out.
Below are just a few of the most interesting takeaways from the fascinating episode:
- Clinton says she pushed hard to get her most loyal supporters to back Barack Obama in 2008. Once her primary campaign against Barack Obama was over, "it was over," and Clinton quickly moved to unite the party behind President Obama because she believed it was important. "I worked really hard to get him elected. I was still arguing with my supporters at the Denver convention, telling people, 'Don't be ridiculous, you've got to vote for Senator Obama,' at the time."
- But she doesn't feel like Bernie Sanders did the same for her in 2016. "I didn't get anything like that respect from Sanders and his supporters, and it hurt," she said.
- Clinton also believes Sanders overstayed his welcome during the primary race. She made the argument that he "dragged it out" due to a reluctance to drop out of the Democratic primary until much later than Clinton believes was necessary to unite the party. Clearly this didn't sit well with the former secretary of state, who went on to note that his actions didn't come as a surprise because "he's not a Democrat."
- She wants Democrats to create their own media platform that can compete with Breitbart. Clinton lamented the Democrats' failure to rival conservative outlets with their own liberal media platforms, before adding that she doesn't understand "why people who share our views aren't more willing to invest in media that can be competitive." So if you're sitting on a liberal media idea, now would be an opportune time to pitch it to Hillary Clinton.
- Clinton doesn't believe Sanders sufficiently backed up his policies with concrete plans on how to implement them. She claimed that he failed to offer voters details on how he would implement his policy plans. She also mentioned that she believed that he essentially promised to mimic all of the policies her campaign laid out, but to do "more of it."
- Defending Obama wasn't always an easy gig for Clinton. Building on the legacy of a two-term Democratic president proved to be a challenge for Clinton, who said that Americans get "bored" and want change. She asserted that this factor may have made it more difficult for her campaign to feel fresh and exciting to new people. Clinton went on to explain that she believed Sanders was "free to say whatever he wanted to say" about the former president's administration because he "wasn't a Democrat."
- James Comey is probably not going to be on her good side for a very, very long time. Clinton didn't shy away from placing partial blame for her campaign's loss on the former FBI director's shoulders. "At the end of the day, I think Comey cost me the election," she said, before adding that Republicans who were seeking tax cuts and conservative supreme court seats were responsible, too.
- She's putting her focus on the midterms. In case there was any question about whether Hillary Clinton intends to remain in the political arena, she cleared that up by laying out plans to back candidates in the midterm elections. "I'm going to do everything I can with the most intense focus on 2018 that I can possibly bring to bear." In other words: don't cross her off the list of powerful political players anytime soon.
- She clearly has theories about how Russia may have been able to target her campaign so accurately. When asked about Russia's meddling in the election, she explained that she was surprised to learn how precise Russia's strategy was. Clinton went on to say that "they were getting really good political advice about placement — both geographic and platform — from somebody. And we'll leave it at that." Hmmm . . .
- Clinton believes Trump would become "even more authoritarian" if left unchecked. Clinton was blunt in her observations of Trump's authoritarian-like tendencies, offering her view that Trump doesn't just like Putin but "wants to be like Putin," adding that he's attracted to "unaccountable, unchecked power."
- And, finally, she opened up about why losing to Donald Trump was the last thing she ever expected to happen. On the difficulty of losing out to a candidate she described as "antithetical to everything I think is right about American politics," she said, "If I had lost to a Republican — a normal Republican — of course I'd be disappointed and I'd be really upset with myself, but this is beyond anything I had imagined." Same, Hillary. Same.