Hillary Clinton sidesteps Monica Lewinsky to meet British fans and hint presidential ambition

 

They queued up from the early hours to meet the “inspirational” woman they believe will be the first female US President.

But with her notional candidacy faltering back home, Hillary Clinton must wish the British fans she signed books for all had a vote in the 2016 election.

Mrs Clinton arrived in London for a two-day media blitz to promote her memoirs, "Hard Choices".

Back home, gaffes about being “dead broke” unlike the “truly well off” - her speech fee is $200,000 and Bill and Hillary have raised more than $1 billion from corporate sources over the past two decades - have damaged her claim to be in touch with ordinary Americans and knocked her poll ratings.

Yet the queue of adoring fans, which formed at Waterstones’ Piccadilly branch three hours before her arrival, suggested a political superstar in our midst.

Aurora Maley, 13, at the front of the line, had travelled down from Glasgow overnight to meet her idol.

“She’s such an inspiration to me,” Aurora said. “Hillary is a great person to look up to. I’m only young but everything she’s done in her life shows that women can do it. She’s inspired me to maybe go into politics too.”

Dominic Howard left with his signed book and a renewed acquaintanceship. “I met her 20 years ago when I worked for her brother Hugh on his senate campaign in Miami,” he said. “I got to know her mother well. We talked about that. I think she would make a great President.”

Presidential-style security accompanied the signing session, for a crowd of around 200 purchasers, with a team of be-suited heavies keeping undesirable elements, including the media, away from their charge.

London felt the full force of “Hurricane Hillary” as Mrs Clinton shuttled between Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and a slot on the BBC1 One Show sofa. She attended a private “pre- 4 July” dinner with Democrat supporters in London and tomorrow Mrs Clinton, 66, undergoes trial by Holly Willoughby on ITV’s This Morning.

There was, of course, one question on everybody’s lips – would the former Secretary of State be making nice with Monica Lewsinky, who has suddenly become the toast of the Mayfair party circuit?

“That’s something we have moved beyond and our country has certainly moved beyond. I have wished her well,” Mrs Clinton, speaking on Woman’s Hour, said of Lewinsky, who was the star guest at a Marie Curie charity party held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Monday night. “It’s important to stay focused on the here and now.”

She added: “Forgiveness is a choice. But I fully respect those who don’t make that choice in their personal or professional lives.”

Asked, over and over again, if she would run for the White House in 2016, Mrs Clinton claimed to be undecided. “I am of course pondering alternatives on my return to public life. It’s a profoundly important decision for me and for the country. As I say in the book, the right question to ask is ‘what’s your vision and can you lead us there’?”

She acknowledged that the election of America’s first female President is “unfinished business. I’m probably the best known because I’ve done it [high office] before. 49 other countries, including yours, have had a woman in the highest government position, so the sooner the better, certainly in my lifetime. If I make that decision, I’ll do my very best to break that highest and hardest glass ceiling.”

That would be a “yes”, then.

If Americans are getting what Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus calls “Hillary fatigue”, many Britons remain under her spell. Mrs Clinton was quick to describe the “special relationship” as “so special to me personally, it’s not just a common set of values to fall back on”, a blandishment only those running for high office offer.

That relationship survives whether working alongside “Conservative or Tory governments”, Mrs Clinton said, which could either be considered another gaffe or a suggestion that she does not see Ed Miliband as a likely international partner should the Clintons return to the White House.

Elizabeth Warren, the populist Massachusetts Senator, is emerging as a potential rival for the 2016 Democrat nomination and Mrs Clinton’s lead over Republican contenders has shrunk according to recent Zogby polls.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Recruitment Genius: PA

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A PA is required to join a leading provider of...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert