It may not be the White House, but Clinton declares she is 'out of the woods'

Speaking in front of a packed house in San Francisco, Hillary Clinton criticized the Republican administration and weighed in on recent events.

Ben Margot/AP
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Professional BusinessWomen of California conference in San Francisco on March 28, 2017.

Several months after losing the 2016 presidential election in a surprise result, Hillary Clinton may be ready to return to the political arena.

On Tuesday, the former Democratic presidential candidate spoke to a packed house of 6,000 for the Professional BusinessWomen of California conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. In what was one of her first major speeches since the election, she joked about her defeat, quipping that there was no place she would rather be, “other than the White House.” 

Secretary Clinton also criticized the Republican administration and weighed in on recent events. She was particularly outspoken about the treatment of women, including the perceived sexism and racism directed against Rep. Maxine Waters (D) of California and journalist April Ryan, both of whom are black women, in recent days.

The speech may also signal the start of a new era for Clinton, who looks set to renew her engagement in politics. She seems as keen to help create change as ever – and may even have a new mantra.

"Resist, insist, persist, enlist," she encouraged the crowd, explaining, "It's the kinds of things you think about when you take long walks in the woods."

After her surprise loss in November, Clinton virtually disappeared from the political scene. From time to time, she was spotted taking long walks with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

But Clinton suggested earlier this month that she was going to become more politically active. In recent weeks, she has been more vocal on Twitter. On Friday, she is expected to give a speech at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security in Washington, D.C., at a ceremony bestowing an award named for her. She is also reportedly working on a book of essays and inspirational quotes, due out this fall.

In her speech on Tuesday, Clinton pushed back against the Republican leadership, though without mentioning individuals by name. She pronounced herself appalled at the photo of an all-male group of Republican legislators discussing women’s health-care coverage, and called the failure of the “repeal and replace” effort last week “a victory for all Americans.”

At a briefing earlier in the day, Ms. Ryan, a correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, asked a question about President Trump’s meeting with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Press Secretary Sean Spicer accused Ryan of “having an agenda,” adding, “Please stop shaking your head again.”

Clinton responded to the event, saying, “April Ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job just this afternoon in the White House press room when she was patronized and cut off trying to ask a question.” Mr. Spicer said Wednesday that he respects Ryan, calling her a “tough woman,” Politico reported.

She also addressed remarks made by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, who had called Representative Waters’ hair a “James Brown wig.” 

"Too many women, especially women of color, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride,” Clinton said. She called for women to be alert and push back, continuing, “Any woman who thinks this couldn’t be directed at her is living in a dream world,” Fortune reported.

And Clinton herself may be part of that advocacy effort.

“Sure, the last few months are not exactly what I’ve envisioned,’’ she told the audience, Politico reported, “but I do know what I’m fighting for – a fairer, inclusive, big-hearted America.”

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

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