5 takeaways from our interview with Hillary Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton participates in the World Bank Group's report on "Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity" at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. on May 14, 2014.

Five takeaways from USA TODAY’s interview with Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday about Hard Choices, a memoir of her tenure at the State Department, published Tuesday by Simon & Schuster.

1. Standing up for women and girls. No issue seems to engage her more than the treatment worldwide of women and girls, a longtime interest, from engaging women in the peace process in Liberia to breaking the glass ceiling in the U.S. She expresses concern about what will happen to hard-won steps in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of U.S. Forces. “There will be a concerted effort by some in the society to absolutely stop the progress and perhaps even regress.”.

2. She really doesn’t like Russian President Vladimir Putin. When asked about Putin’s sexist dismissal of her last week (“Maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman”) she notes dryly, “He and I have had a lot of verbal volleys.” She says she worries about the direction he is taking Russia and “warned against it” in a memo she wrote for President Obama “on my way out the door” of the State Department.

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3. Elizabeth Warren: Move over. The Massachusetts senator has become a liberal hero by championing the issue of growing inequality. In the interview, Hillary Clinton pounds the table in discussing the topic. “If you get so unequal that people believe they don’t have a chance, that the field isn’t level for them and their children, that puts democracy at risk.”.

4. Bill Clinton is an asset. When she ran for the Senate in 2000 and the presidency in 2008, Hillary Clinton’s supporters sometimes saw former president Bill Clinton as a mixed blessing, especially as she sought to establish herself as an independent political force. No such reluctance is apparent now, and she cites his policy achievements as president in discussing what could be accomplished down the road.

5. A vote for handwriting. She says she wrote the book draft pen to paper. “Doing it in longhand and then correcting it in longhand help me think through what I want to say,” she says. Academic research that shows handwriting provides unique benefits in brain development rings true to her.

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