Clintons discuss their new book in Portland

The 90-minute talk by Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, hosted by Powell’s Books, included a Q&A. Photo by Nicholas Nerli

On Oct. 19, Powell’s Books hosted a conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, after the publication of their new book “The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.” Moderated by New York Times best-selling author Cheryl Strayed, the sold-out event took place at Revolution Hall, a performance venue in Portland’s former Washington High School. Throughout the 90-minute talk, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton discussed their new book and the current political climate and answered questions from the audience. 

Released on Oct. 1 by publishers Simon & Schuster, the book features stories of 103 inspiring women, including Greta Thunberg, Harriet Tubman, Geraldine Ferraro, Ellen DeGeneres and Malala Yousafzai. The text is carefully organized by which author wrote a particular section, marked as “Hillary,” “Chelsea” or “Hillary and Chelsea.” In 464 pages, the book informs readers of persistent women who, despite obstacles, fought for female equality and changed the course of history.

“A part of what we wanted to do was, number one, tell the stories, but equally important to us was to draw some threads and make the case that these women were not perfect,” Hillary Clinton said. “These women had their own challenges, their own disappointments, their own setbacks, but they also shared not only resilience but a sense of purpose.”

Despite their close relationship, the two had difficulty during the writing process, as Chelsea Clinton described in a promotional video.

“I knew that my mom still wrote longhand, but I didn’t quite realize what that would mean to collaborate,” she said. “She would say that she would finish something, and then she would take pictures of it on her phone.”

In her defense, Hillary Clinton named another well-known Democrat who shares her writing style.

“You know who else still writes longhand?” she said. “Barack Obama.”

Early in the conversation, Chelsea Clinton discussed personal challenges beginning as a young girl in public life when her father, President Bill Clinton, campaigned for the White House.

“I was this really awkward seventh and eighth grader with really frizzy hair, I had braces, I sometimes wore these big glasses,” Chelsea Clinton said. “(In the 1990s) these adults were focused on my appearance and Rush Limbaugh, Saturday Night Live and plenty of others would say things like ‘the Clintons have a cat (named) Socks. If Bill Clinton wins, they’ll also be bringing their dog Chelsea to the White House.’”

In a previous interview with Good Morning America, Hillary Clinton described some of her boldest decisions.

“I think the gutsiest thing I’ve ever done, well, personally, (is) make the decision to stay in my marriage,” Hillary Clinton said. “Publicly, politically, (it was) running for president.”

Bill Clinton had a sexual relationship with Lewis & Clark alumna Monica Lewinsky ’95, then a White House intern, during his presidency.

In closing, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton were asked if they were prepared to endorse a candidate running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. While they did not offer an endorsement, both provided advice for defeating Donald Trump.

“I just want to see who can get the Electoral College, because it won’t do us any good to win the popular vote again,” Hillary Clinton said. “At the end of the day, as I know better than anybody, and as Al Gore knows, that is not the game. You’ve got to win the Electoral College.”

To the loudest applause of the night, Chelsea Clinton, in a whisper, offered a future course of action.

“And then we get rid of the Electoral College,” she said.

“The Book of Gutsy Women” debuted at number two on The New York Times Best Seller list’s Hardcover Nonfiction Books category. After falling to number eight and number 13, the book, now in its third week on the list, currently sits at number 11.

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