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
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor