Hillary Clinton is ready to re-litigate the 2016 presidential election, writing in a new book that her “skin crawled” as President Trump was “literally breathing down my neck” during a debate and admitting her failed White House campaign let millions of Americans down.
“Writing this wasn’t easy,” Clinton confesses in her book. “Every day that I was a candidate for president, I knew millions of people were counting on me, and I couldn’t bear the idea of letting them down. But I did. I couldn’t get the job done, and I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
The first audio excerpts of Clinton’s book, “What Happened,” were released yesterday, promising a re-telling of campaign moments she’d handle differently.
“If the Russians could hack my subconscious, they’d find a long list,” she writes.
But she also targets President Trump, recalling their second, town-hall style debate in October when the billionaire appeared to hover behind Clinton on-stage as she spoke.
” ‘This is not OK,’ I thought,” Clinton writes. “No matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.”
Clinton writes that she wished she could “hit pause” and ask the crowd what they would do — press on as if nothing were happening, or “turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, ‘Back up, you creep! Get away from me!’ ”
Clinton admitted she did “grip the microphone extra hard,” even as she continued on with the debate, “aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men.”
She writes that perhaps she should have snapped at Trump and wonders if she has “overlearned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist, smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.”
The book — which will be released Sept. 12, but is already available for presale online at $18 — comes just as battered Democrats scramble to heal the wounds of the election and search for new leaders.
“Although I will read it, there’s no need for this book,” said Democratic strategist Scott Ferson. “When you’re trying to move forward, but your ex keeps showing up at the party, it’s not helpful.”
Democrats are still trying to unite after a bruising primary between Clinton and Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. Many progressives still believe establishment Democrats rigged the primary in Clinton’s favor and that Sanders would have defeated Trump in the general election.
Clinton’s re-emergence — especially when she goes on a full book tour and hits the talk-show circuit — could revive old grudges within the party as it gears up for important midterm elections in 2018.
Clinton also threatens to steal back the spotlight at a time when Democrats need fresh faces to emerge to mount a credible challenge to Trump in 2020 and take back blue-collar voters from swing states the New York billionaire won over.
“There are two reasons to write a memoir like this,” Ferson said. “One is that you’ve learned something from the experience that the public could benefit from, and I don’t believe there’s been enough time in the last six months for that to have happened. The second reason is to make money. And I’m afraid that’s what this is.”
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