Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she considers herself an idealistic realist and said women must be peacekeepers.
One of the most controversial figures in modern history, the former first lady was in Kansas City on Sunday evening to discuss her book, Hard Choices, about her four years as President Barack Obama's first secretary of state.
Some of the biggest applause came when Clinton discussed the growing political divide in the United States. She said candidates running for office should be ready to embrace disagreement and discuss issues in an effort to find solutions.
"What we can't afford to do is undermine the democratic process by acting like compromise is a dirty word," she said during her appearance at the Midland Theatre. "We should never allow anyone who runs for public office to proudly claim he or she will never compromise because that undermines the democratic process."
Vivien Jennings, the founder of Rainy Day books, which hosted Clinton's appearance, moderated Clinton's hour-long discussion before she signed books.
Jennings, who has known Clinton for years, asked about what her deceased mother, Dorothy Rodham, would think of her now. She joked that her mother would be relieved that she is traveling less.
"She would be quick to say, 'Don't let this go to your head. Stay rooted in your values,'" Clinton said.
Many excited fans said they are hoping she mounts a second bid for the White House.
But like her previous appearances during her book tour, Clinton stayed closed-mouthed on whether she will run again to be the Democratic presidential nominee. She has drawn headlines for controversial comments about her and husband, Bill Clinton, being "dead broke" when they left the White House in January 2001.
But none of her remarks in Kansas City are likely to create any such distractions.
Lisa Rosas has no doubt that Hillary Clinton will run for president.
"I'm here with the next female president, breathing the same air," Rosas said.
Monica McDougal was also excited to hear Hillary Clinton speak, saying she is a role model for her and other women.
"I love whenever she talks about equality and I love when she talks about women's rights and helping women around the world," she said. "She's an incredible politician, but she's also so inspiring. She's just done so much for our country and I just love her a lot."
There were also protestors outside the Midland Theatre in downtown Kansas City.
"I know there's a lot of protestors protesting outside," Mariah Haley said. "But I believe in everything she's done and I don't think there's any reason to protest," she said.
When asked about her book's title, Hillary Clinton talked about the difficult decision she faced when her former political rival asked her to be his secretary of state. She said she was reluctant to accept Obama's offer at first but that Obama convinced her to take the job.
"I stayed up all night because I had to say one way or the other," she said. "I have this old-fashioned idea that when the president asks you to do something, you probably should say yes."
Hillary Clinton told Jennings about fighting anti-American sentiments in the Middle East, where she was often treated with hostility. She described herself as a "realistic idealist," explaining her method of balancing her own core beliefs with the needs of developing countries.
"We are selling ourselves short if we don't temper our realism with idealism," she said.
She and Jennings discussed women's equality at length. Hillary Clinton pointed out that countries with higher rates of violence toward women tend to lag economically and socially. She also said women play a key role in countries ravaged by war and poverty.
"Women must be viewed as peacekeepers," she said.
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