Hillary Clinton discusses current issues facing the United States and the world, moderated by Michael S. Barr. October, 2019.
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[ Standing ovation ]
>> JOHN CIORCIARI: Good afternoon everyone.
I am John Ciorciari. I am faculty director of the Weiser Diplomacy Center at the Ford School of Public Policy, and I'm delighted to welcome you to this special event featuring the 67th U.S. Secretary of State of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
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I'd like to start with a word on format.
After a conversation between Secretary Clinton and Ford School Dean Michael Barr, we will have time for questions from the audience.
Please write any questions on the note cards that will be offered to you, and staff members will circulate to collect them.
Two of on our excellent Ford school graduate students, Maggie Barnard and Jonatan Martinez, will sift through your question cards with Professor Megan Tompkins‑Stang and myself, and Maggie and Jon will pose questions to Secretary Clinton.
We are also live streaming the event and you can share your thoughts online #fordschoolHRC.
And now to introduce Secretary Clinton and Dean Barr, please welcome the President of the University of Michigan, Dr. Mark Schlissel.
[ Applause ]
>> MARK SCHLISSEL: Thanks very much, Professor Ciorciari, for the kind introduction.
Good afternoon everybody.
Thanks for coming.
This is wonderful.
Welcome to the University of Michigan and the conversation with former United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I would like to offer a special welcome to the many students who are here today.
Also joining us are Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and Rebekah Warren of the Michigan House of Representatives.
Let's give them a hand.
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The University of Michigan offers many opportunities to interact with people doing extraordinary things in our world. Providing a forum for engagement with different points of view, contrasting philosophies and varying beliefs is exactly what a great research university should do.
UM Board of Regents chair and former U.S. Ambassador Ron Weiser and his wife Eileen Weiser sought to promote such conversations, particularly those advancing international understanding.
Their generous gift establishing the Weiser Diplomacy Center in the Ford School of Public Policy brings diplomats and foreign policy experts to campus while also providing the support to professors in practice and students committed to international affairs.
This advances our public mission by strengthening our ability to apply knowledge and practice to the global challenges we face as a society.
Ron and Eileen, thank you very much for all do you for the university.
[ Applause ]
I would also like to acknowledge the tremendous support the university receives from all of its Regents, including those that are here this afternoon, Regent Paul Brown, Regent Denise Ilitch and Regent Shauna Ryder Diggs.
Thank you, Regents.
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Today, we have the opportunity to learn from a woman who has, through her career of policy making and practice, as both an elected and appointed government official, confronted many of the societal challenges that demand our attention.
But before I introduce our honored guest, I would like to share a few thoughts on the person who will moderate the conversation.
Michael Barr is experienced in both Washington and in academia. He is the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of Public Policy in our Ford School and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
Joan and Sandy Weill are here with us today as well.
Welcome, Joan and Sandy.
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Of course, we would like to thank them for their ongoing support of the Ford school and the mission of the university.
This fall, under Dean Barr's guidance, the Ford school is launching a major new initiative on leadership as well as expanding programs in practical policy engagement and conversations across lines of difference.
Earlier in his career, during a leave of absence from his position on the faculty of Michigan law, Dean Barr worked in President Barack Obama's administration as the Treasury Department's Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions.
There he was a key architect of the Dodd‑Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
We are pleased to have him moderate this conversation today.
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As a young person, Hillary Rodham Clinton's view of the world was strongly influenced by the beliefs of those around her.
Her mother was a Methodist who advocated for a socially conscious life of doing all you can do for others.
This contrasted with her father's firm anticommunist conservative political view.
She took those influences to Wellesley as a college student where she excelled as a leader.
She was President of the Young Republicans and worked on John Lindsay's campaign for mayor of New York and Edward Brooks' campaign for senator.
At the same time, she experienced the anti‑Vietnam war movement and the competing tensions between radical action against the system versus working for change from within.
At one point, she wrote to her youth minister describing herself as a mind conservative and a heart liberal.
After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., she organized a student strike and worked with black students to recruit more African‑American students and faculty into Wellesley.
All of these diverse influences from her parents, to fellow students, from backgrounds to the cultures at Wellesley and later Yale helped her form her own view on the world and led her to create a life of extraordinary public service as First Lady of the United States, as U.S. senator from New York, as our nation's 67th Secretary of State, and as a presidential candidate.
In 2008, then Senator Clinton was featured on the cover of Time Magazine with two check boxes next to her picture, love her or hate her.
Today we welcome her.
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And, of course, we thank her for visiting the Ford School for this wonderful opportunity to learn from her.
Please join me in welcoming Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton.
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>> MICHAEL BARR: Welcome, Secretary Clinton.
It is just a real honor and a pleasure to have you here in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan.
It is a great honor to have you help us launch the Weiser Diplomacy Center.
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Thank you very much, Dean Barr, and thank you, President Schlissel, and others who have made me feel very welcome. And all I can say to that is Go Blue!
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>> MICHAEL BARR: So We are obviously in a very difficult times in a lot of levels right now.
So I'm going to jump right in.
[ Laughter ]
We're seeing some unprecedented challenges in a lot of ways to the norms and the institutions of the post World War II era.
There has been a rise of xenophobia, nativism, attacks on immigration, attacks on NATO and the UN and the alliances and institutions that we built after World War II from lots of different sources all around the world.
What do you think accounts for that kind of change in the cultural moment or the intellectual moment we are in, and can you give us some hope about a path out of it?
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Well, I think your quick summary of some of the challenges we face only needs to be edited and added to because we are also facing internal challenges here to our institutions.
And so I think you have to look at both the domestic and the international scene and try to answer that question the best you can.
There is a lot of really smart people on this campus who are thinking about and writing about it, but I would just offer a few observations.
You know, we did create the post World War II order, and it served the United States very well, and it served the world very well.
We had sustained peace and prosperity.
We saw the rise of Democratic governments.
We had a real alliance across the Atlantic with our friends in Europe.
We worked hard to make sure that we never saw the horrors of the previous World Wars.
And I think that we owe a debt of gratitude to the leaders, both in our own country and abroad, who created this time in history.
I think things have changed.
There is no doubt about that.
And a lot of institutions are under stress, including the ones that you mentioned, Mike.
And we have to ask ourselves, okay, why did this happen?
I think some of it is because the natural movement of thought and understanding about what is needed, the rise of technology and the sharing of information across the world, the competition that comes from people who are putting forth a different point of view, there is a natural rhythm to this that I think we are watching unfold.
But I would add, there is also a concerted effort to undermine our faith in these international institutions.
There is a real effort by some to try to create dislocation and disruption.
And at the top of that list, I would put Vladimir Putin who has been trying to undermine NATO and the European Union, American democracy, our elections for his own purposes in pursuit of his geo‑political strategic goals of restoring, you know, in his view, Russian greatness.
You see China offer a competing financial system, and that competing financial system is grounded in authoritarianism and state run enterprises, but it is being quite successful, and so people are saying, well, democracy is messy, the free market has all kinds of problems, and so maybe there is something to be learned from what is happening in China.
You have rogue nations that are, you know, trying to create chaotic conditions for their own purposes, and so you can look around the world and you can see why it is in the interests of some leaders, particularly autocrats, to sow discontent, confusion, disappointment with those institutions.
What we should be doing is saying, you know what?
We need to take a hard look at what has served us well since the post World War II era, where they need to be reformed, where they need to be updated.
Let's engage in that process.
But think we find ourself in a much more defensive crouch than we should be.
We should be standing up for the success of the last 75 years, not throwing it on the trash heap of history.
So, unfortunately, we don't have leaders right now that are willing to do that, but that is what not only the United States needs, but I would argue the Democratic experiment, the Transatlantic Alliance, the hope for greater freedom and opportunity around the world.
So, yes, we need to engage now in a new process of trying to restore and renew, and where necessary, reform and even replace institutions that are no longer serving us well.
>> MICHAEL BARR: So a lot of these issues are incredibly complex, and we are going to ‑‑ we are going to get into the details of them in a minute.
But when you think about how to translate these kinds of issues for an audience ‑‑ not this audience, but the domestic audience more broadly ‑‑ how is it that you think we can go about or you would like to go about explaining the importance of America's role in the world for people who may rightly be focused on their own daily lives rather than more abstract kinds of questions.
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Well, of course, I am a believer that what happens in your daily lives will sooner or later be affected by these large questions, and that is why we need to have conversations like the one you are having at the Ford School.
Let me just give a quick example of a way of thinking about a problem that is in the news right now and how to handle it differently.
The other day, President Trump walked out onto the South Lawn of the White House and said that he had just gotten off the phone with President Erdogan of Turkey and he was withdrawing American troops from Syria.
And everyone knew that that meant that the Turks would, as they have, launch a military assault into Syria with the purpose of trying to, in their view, contain and quell the Kurds who have been our allies in the fight against ISIS.
This has been brewing a long time.
This should not be a surprise that the Turks intended to do that.
What is surprising is that the President of the United States basically gave them a green light to do whatever they chose to do.
The way this could have been handled is to call a meeting at NATO.
Turkey is a member.
To get planners into this meeting led by Americans who wanted to support and frankly protect our Kurdish allies who have lost around 11,000 fighters in this ongoing battle against the militants, and sit down with the Turkish government, their representative, and say, look, your legitimate complaint is that you fear, left unchecked, there will be a Kurdish corridor on your border that will support those elements of the Kurds inside Turkey that you are concerned about and that you have a history of having to deal with their demands for autonomy, the terrorism that goes along with them.
That is your legitimate concern.
We have a concern.
These Kurds have been with us.
They have fought with Americans.
We have supported their effort.
They were the ones who really led the assault on Raqqa.
They were the ones holding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners. So let's figure out how we're going to deal with this, and let's make sure that you don't go in and, through air power and ground assaults, murder thousands of Kurds, both fighters and civilians, in your effort to try to prevent terrorism inside your own borders.
Let's figure out how we can do this.
Let's figure out how we can help you with your problem and how we can protect our allies.
There are ways of working on really thorny, what are called wicked problems, but they take thought and deliberation and diplomacy.
So, yes, we have the common bond of NATO membership.
We could have used that.
And now we have a situation with all kinds of consequences, both predictable and unintended, that will flow from this military incursion by Turkish troops.
>> MICHAEL BARR: I think you are exactly right.
This problem with Syria is a wicked problem.
It has been around for a long time.
You can go back to the British and French drawing the boundaries of the region, but we are tracing it through, the Obama Administration had very difficult choices to make in Syria.
How much of this, do you think, the problem in Syria can you trace to difficulties you had in the Obama administration?
What do you think you got right or didn't get right about Syria then?
And then again I am going to keep striving for that hopeful answer, is there a path forward in the region for Syria and Syrian refugees and Syrian people that is less brutal than the one they have been living with now for quite a few years.
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Well, I can't give you a hopeful answer to that right now because I think the brutality and the conflict will only intensify.
And I fear that it will contribute to a resurgence of ISIS.
They were driven from their main headquarters, and they were driven out of Mosul and Iraq, and a certain number of them were captured along with their women and their children, but by no means was that movement or that ideology defeated.
So I fear that we are going to see some very difficult times ahead.
So going back, look, this is one of the areas where I disagreed with the President, and I made my disagreements known privately while I was serving as Secretary of State.
When Syria got started, it was a legitimate uprising by people who were protesting the actions of the Assad regime, and some of their overreactions to rather minor protests, but they ‑‑ the Assad government came in with a very heavy hand and tried to totally squelch protest.
And the people in the streets at that time were predominantly business people, students, people who wanted more freedom than they were being permitted.
Again, I think, you know, Assad, without giving up power or capitulating in any way, could have lessened some of the oppression that people were living under, but he chose a very different approach.
The approach he chose was in line with his father's approach which is if there is protest, there is demonstration.
You have to take the most draconian steps to squash it and send a message to everyone.
And they were quickly joined by the Iranians and the Russians to support the Assad regime, and there are lots of reasons for that.
One, obviously, that the Iranians had a long‑time relationship with Syria and Assad because they used Syria as a passthrough to equip Hezbollah in Lebanon.
So they wanted to maintain enough control to be able to continue to their support, you know, their allies in Lebanon both internally in the role that they play in Lebanon and then of course always with the threat against Israel.
The Russians had a long‑term relationship with Syria with their sending students to study there back in the Cold War.
They had what they ‑‑ they have a military base in Syria.
So they saw it as an opportunity to buttress the Assad regime but also to get a foothold in the region.
I, along with then Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, the then CIA director Dave Patraeus recommended with the President that we take some steps through the CIA predominantly to try to send a message to Assad, the Iranians and the Russians that they would face consequences.
They couldn't expect just to slaughter tens of thousands of Syrians, force this huge exodus mostly into Europe, become a client state of Iran and Russia without the United States taking some action.
And as you know, the President said the chemical weapon attacks were a red line, and then when it happened, he didn't this he could get support in congress so he didn't proceed.
So fast forward.
At great human cost, and incredible devastation, the Assad regime, backed by the Iranians and the Russians, have hung on.
The only part of Syria that they had not totally conquered was that northern part, where the Kurds are, and where other Syrians had gathered to try to fight against both Russian forces, particularly Russian air power, Iranian forces on the ground advising the Syrians and the Syrian military.
So at this point, I don't ‑‑ I assume that Turkey has gotten the green light from Assad, the Iranians and the Russians.
So I assume they have deconflicted the area so that there will not be any mistakes where Russian planes bomb Turkish troops but, you know, it is a complicated war zone and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen.
At this point, it would be very difficult to engineer a diplomatic solution because the Iranians are not going to give up the gains they have gotten and neither are the Russians.
I actually negotiated an agreement in June of 2012 with all the parties and brought in the Gulf Arab states, and everybody was around the same table, and we negotiated a transition agreement.
The Russian foreign secretary, Sergey Lavrov was there.
He actually agreed to it.
We broke for lunch.
He went to his embassy.
He called, we think Putin, came back and disowned the agreement.
So we have tried.
We have tried to be an honest broker.
We have tried to support internal opposition and those who have fled and are now ex‑patriots.
But where we are right now ‑‑ and it is a very dangerous situation ‑‑ is Assad has become basically a tool of both the Iranian and the Russian interest.
And I think you will see increasing pressure on Israel from the Iranian interests, and you will see increasing arrogance and potential further threatening behavior from the Russians and, of course, we have got the Turks on the ground and a military battle.
So this is a ‑‑ you know, it is an interesting time, because a lot of the Gulf Arabs are so concerned about Iran that they have taken a lot of pressure off of Israel.
So Israel and the Gulf Arabs actually have more in common now with their worry about Iran, but now on the doorstep of Israel you have got an Iran dominated Syria.
So this is going to be a difficult period, and it requires intense intelligent diplomacy, and right now we have very little of that.
And we're going to pay a big price.
>> MICHAEL BARR: So another country obviously in the news right now is Ukraine.
Secretary Rice, when she was here last week, said that Ukraine is at risk of becoming known as a scandal rather than a country.
How do we refocus attention and energy not just on the role of Ukraine and the U.S.‑Russian relationship, but the broader set of relationships we have in the region that are going to be needed to move towards a post‑Putin Russia at some point in the future?
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: From your lips to God's ears.
[ Laughter ]
You know, I think ‑‑ Ukraine is a centrally located, important, strategic country in Europe that straddles east and west, and it has been yearning to be part of Europe.
That is what its revolution was about, the Maidan Square Revolution.
They have had a lot of mishaps and a lot of setbacks because their leadership was not up to the job.
There were several people who tried and were overcome by circumstances and one Ukrainian president overcome by radiation poisoning, and another accused of corruption and thrown in jail.
And so there is a lot of growing pains in Ukraine, and it is a place that I think both Europe and the United States have a real stake in trying to help stabilize, trying to help modernize their economy and support their efforts to move toward a more secure democracy.
And, of course, we have seen two very aggressive moves just in the last, you know, 10, 11 years from Putin.
We have seen his invasion of Georgia and the seizing of two provinces in Georgia, one strategically located on the Black Sea, down the road from where he has his dacha, near Sochi where the Olympics were held.
He just basically seized this part of Georgia and another part further north.
And then, of course, he invaded Ukraine, and he seized Crimea, and he kept troops in Eastern Ukraine because Ukraine, in his view, belongs to Russia.
It doesn't belong to the Ukrainian people.
It doesn't in any way belong to their aspirations and hopes for being part of Europe, and maybe even some day part of the European Union.
And what he has done is to set up a very difficult problem for whoever is in leadership positions in Ukraine.
Because with his domination of Eastern Ukraine and the presence of Russian troops and the constant arming of Ukrainian civilians who are sympathetic to Russia, if Ukraine doesn't have friends who can try to help deter further Russian aggression, they are in a quandary.
Do they place their hopes in Europe and the United States, or do they surrender to the inevitability that Russia could seize them any time they wanted to and nobody would come to their rescue?
So the whole Ukrainian scandal in the midst of the impeachment inquiry in and of itself is troubling because of what it shows about abuse of power and the use of threats and extortion by the President of the United States withholding military aid that they so desperately need to defend themselves, so it is a scandal.
It is an absolute appropriate scandal, and it should have triggered the impeachment inquiry, but let's not lose sight of the larger issue that you raise, Mike.
The current President of Ukraine, who has no political experience.
He was a TV star ‑‑ sounds familiar.
[ Laughter ]
[ Applause ]
He is in a bind.
He has got the American President threatening him.
He has got the Russian President threatening him.
He is just trying to figure out how to be a President, and from everything we know about him, you know, he wanted to bring, you know, energy and modernism to his presidency, and what is happening now is he has accepted an agreement that there will be elections in Ukraine, in Eastern Ukraine, which remember the Russians dominate.
The Russian media dominates.
There will be elections for the people of that part of Ukraine to decide whether they want to break away and join Russia like Crimea or stay in Ukraine.
He probably felt like he had no choice.
The Russians are breathing down his necks, and there is evidence that Russian troops are moving to the border again in pretty large numbers.
And then one thing that hasn't gotten a lot of attention that I just want to mention is that there is a treaty that we have been a member of.
In fact, we were the architecture of that goes back many decades called Open Skies.
And it permits satellites and other surveillance mechanisms to see what is happening on the ground around the world.
And just out of the blue, the Trump administration announced they were going to pull us out of the Open Skies Treaty.
And if I were guessing, one of the consequences of that is we will not necessarily be able to discover all the troop movements that Russia is engaged in on the brink of forcing their will on Ukraine.
So Ukraine deserves a lot more help and a lot more attention than we are currently giving it except in the kind of, you know, scandal mode.
It is a real country with real people who thought they were going to get a real chance to have a better future, and now they are caught between our political games here in the United States and Russian aggression.
And it is really a very unfortunate situation.
>> MICHAEL BARR: So let me raise another difficult topic.
There is again no shortage of them.
Lots of people around the world are very much struggling for democracy, for freedom of expression.
We are seeing that now very much in the streets in Hong Kong.
In the midst of a very complicated U.S.‑Chinese relationship ‑‑ let me come at that from two different angles.
In your book, Hard Choices, you talked about your experiences in Iran and the way in which the Green Movement took off there, and that you regretted not finding a way for the United States to have a bigger voice for democracy.
So you have got that going on the one hand.
You wanted to do more.
And you have this big, complicated U.S.‑China relationship, and again you more than anyone knows that the growth of China as a rising power has led to all kinds of challenges for the United States, and you also write about it in your book.
So you have got this tug of war between your desire to support these democratic protesters in the street, and the complicated U.S.‑Chinese relationship.
How do you navigate that?
What would you do?
How do you show support and engage in the long term with the Chinese?
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Well, look, I think the Chinese used to understand that part of the role that the United States played in the world was to speak out for human rights and democracy, and knowing full well that there were many situations that all we could do was speak out.
We weren't going to do anything else, but at least we could give a level of encouragement and support to the people who were in the streets or the people who were trying to make the changes.
And in the Iran situation, going back into 2009 when there was a Green Movement uprising, we talked to all of the experts and the expats, the Iranians‑Americans, everybody we could think of, who said, look, we don't want the United States to speak out too much because we don't want the Iranian government to say this was a U.S. inspired demonstration because it wasn't.
I mean, we are just, you know, we are demonstrating because we want more freedom.
So we didn't go as far as we might ordinarily have, but we used technology in those days.
You know, we knew a lot of the demonstrations were being planned on FaceBook, for example, and FaceBook, we found out, was going to have an outage for some kind of mechanical, technical problem and we begged them to keep it on so people could still meet.
So we tried to do what we could, but we, I think, maybe listened too thoughtfully to people who said, don't be too out front.
But the Iranians, like the Chinese, would expect us to say, you know what?
We believe in human dignity.
We believe in the right of every person to have certain equality and access to justice and be part of a political environment in which they get to choose their leaders.
So when it comes to Hong Kong, I personally think it would not cause some huge breach if the United States government were saying what they should say, which is that, you know, people have a right to demonstrate peacefully and we expect the Chinese government to avoid, you know, military action against their own people in the streets of Hong Kong, and make sure we deliver that message in a couple of different ways.
Instead, we hear that the President has a call with Xi Jinping, and he basically says, I am not going to say anything about Hong Kong.
And if you looked at pictures of the demonstrations in Hong Kong, there were lots of American flags.
There were lots of Statues of Liberty.
People were carrying quotes from Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin and George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
So certainly the predominantly young people of Hong Kong were being inspired by our own history, and I think it is a shame that we have retreated so far from speaking out.
That doesn't mean, Mike, that, you know, you keep rubbing salt in the wounds or you sacrifice American interests when you are engaged in that kind of advocacy, but it does mean that when America is silent about these fundamental human rights, nobody else is going to speak up.
Nobody else has a voice loud enough to be heard.
[ Applause ]
>> MICHAEL BARR: I still remember you gave a remarkable speech in Beijing in 1995, phenomenal speech, very powerful speech in Beijing, where you said women's rights are human rights, and human rights are women's rights.
And it was shocking at the time in a diplomatic way.
[ Applause ]
And you have been working on women's rights issues for a very long time, obviously before that.
Can you say a little bit about, you know, what it felt like in that moment?
You know, fast forward, you created an Ambassador‑At‑Large for Women's Rights in the State Department, been very engaged around the world in women's advocacy.
You have a new book ‑‑ if I can lift it ‑‑ the Book of Gutsy Women, which is terrific.
Stories of courage and resilience, including a wonderful account of the late, great Betty Ford, that I would recommend to you. So you have been working on these issues for a very long time.
How has it felt to struggle on it?
What kind of progress do you feel like has been made, and obviously there is a long way to go.
And can you say a little bit about the path forward?
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Sure.
And, you know, next year, 2020, is the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Women's Conference and that speech that I gave.
It is also the 100th anniversary of American women winning the vote.
So it is a particularly important year.
[ Applause ]
You know, when the Beijing conference was announced, there was an American delegation.
It was headed at that time by the then UN Ambassador, later Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.
It had Democrats and Republicans.
It had men and women.
It had a real cross section of Americans.
And I was invited to go, and there was a very worried reaction in the Clinton administration, including in the State Department and in the Congress, because they weren't sure that we wanted to draw as much attention as my going would to the Beijing conference.
Some members of Congress were upset because China had imprisoned human rights activists and they didn't want me going unless they were freed, and so it was not at all a given.
I was very anxious to go and to be part of that historic moment.
And eventually we worked it out, and so I did go.
And in the speech, I did take on China.
I took on some of on their practices, like forced sterilization, the one child policy.
I took on other problems that affected women and families.
But it was a turning point in a certain way because my speech, and particularly that phrase about women's rights being human rights, became a rallying cry.
But in addition to the speech, there was something called the Platform for Action that was adopted.
And it was adopted unanimously by the, you know, 180 or so countries that attended.
And it did things that sound very simplistic now but back then was considered radical.
It said that domestic violence was a crime, not a cultural behavior, and that countries should legislate and prosecute domestic violence, which was very controversial back then.
So it had a lot of meat in it.
And I do think we have certainly made progress.
Laws have been changed, practices have been changed.
A lot of places back in '95, women could not inherit property from their families, from their husband.
Oftentimes if their husband died in parts of Africa or Asia, the brother of the husband would come and kick the widow and the children off the land and take that land over.
So women had very few rights, rights to an education, rights to health care, rights to economic opportunity, rights to full participation.
So back at the 20th anniversary of Beijing, back in 2015, I worked with the Clinton Foundation and the Gates Foundation to do a survey about the progress that had been made over the last 20 years.
And a number of people will do the same going into the 25th anniversary.
So I think sort of the short story is progress has been made but not enough.
It still is true that more girls are out of school than boys.
Fewer girls than boys go on to secondary school.
We are talking about the world as a whole.
That more health care is denied girls than boys; that economic opportunity is still very difficult.
And so when I was Secretary of State, I wanted to do a lot of research into this because I wanted to see two things.
One, could you correlate where women had more rights with greater economic opportunity and the growth of a middle class?
And could you correlate greater opportunity for women with more stability, more peace, more opportunity?
And in fact, you can.
And there was a lot of research done by all kinds of institutions, including some of the private business forecasters, that if every country tore down every obstacle to women's participation in the economy, the gross domestic product of every country would go up, including ours.
Because if you look at the participation rate of women in the economy even in our country, it is held back by lack of child care, lack of leave policies.
In other countries, of course, it is much more onerous.
So I made the argument in the State Department and in speeches around the world that giving and securing, supporting women's rights, opportunities and participation is not just a nice thing to do because you want to be, you know, be nice to your daughters and granddaughters.
It is a really important way of increasing your economic activity and the stability of your country.
So I think it is a mixed bag, you know, in our book ‑‑ I wrote this book with my daughter, Chelsea ‑‑ we highlight 103 women, and it was really hard. We started with hundreds and had to keep narrowing it down.
But we highlight women who persevered through obstacles and terrible difficulties to make a difference.
Over at the Ford School, their leadership definition is, you know, working to make a positive difference for others.
Well, these women did that.
And there is two women I just want to briefly mention who kind of embody the progress.
Two women who became Presidents of their countries, unlike some places we know and so ‑‑
[ Laughter ]
I am particularly intrigued by them but ‑‑
[ Laughter ]
One who became the President of Chile, Michele Bachelet, and one who became the President of Liberia, first woman elected President of any African country, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
What did they have in common living so far from each other?
They were both tortured, beaten, arrested, oppressed, exiled.
Happened with Michele because of Pinochet.
Her father died in prison.
She and her mother were grabbed up and put into prison and then exiled after being tortured.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was in the middle of the vicious Civil War in Liberia, arrested, beaten, exiled.
And they both came back.
They both came back to their countries.
They both got involved in politics, and they both ran for office.
And both of them remembered what had happened to them, so they championed ‑‑ in their own way, very different political systems, very obviously different economic standards, they championed the rights of women.
And Ellen Johnson Sirleaf saw the horrors of that Civil War, the murders, the rapes, the amputations, everything that happened.
In her inaugural address said that we want a peaceful nation, and part of having a peaceful nation is to let women live their lives in peace.
So this was an amazing journey. And I wanted more Americans to know about all of the women, but particularly women who didn't just make it on their own, but keep reaching back to make sure others could come along as well.
[ Applause ]
>> MICHAEL BARR: I think we have time for maybe one or two more questions, pretty quickly, before we open it up to the audience.
We have been talking a lot about defense, a lot about diplomacy.
We have been talking a little bit about development, and I want to spend a little bit more time on that.
You have been advocating for micro finance as a development strategy for more than a quarter of a century and quite effectively.
Could you say what it is about that strategy you find appealing, how you have been working on it, what its achievements and limitations might be?
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Well, thanks, Mike.
And, you know, the title of this talk is about foreign policy and defense, diplomacy and development because that is what I emphasized when I was Secretary of State.
All three of the D's, not one more than the other but trying to maintain a commitment to each.
And micro finance is a concept that was really pioneered in Bangladesh and India.
In Bangladesh, there was an economist by the name of Mohammad Yuness who actually won the Nobel Prize, and he had this really radical idea that if people were given a little bit of money, not as a gift but as a loan that they would have to pay back, that they could invest in furthering their income or their children's education, it would help lift development.
And so he started something called the Grameen Bank, and that's what he began to do.
And what he found was women were the best people to lend to because women would invest in their families.
So these small loans, they would help to pay the rent on a market stall.
They would help to buy material for a seamstress or an embroiderer.
They would help to put the girls in school just like the sons.
And that concept has been really proven in Bangladesh.
And then in India, a woman featured in our book, Ela Bhatt, started something called the Self‑Employed Women's Organization to do exactly the same in India where women would get these small loans.
And what was so remarkable is that they would be put into lending groups, and in the lending groups, they would have to look at the four or five other people, the women who were in that group, and they would be told, if you don't pay back your loan, then the woman next to you can't get her loan.
So it was both a financial scheme and a community development opportunity.
And now there is like a million members of SEWA in India.
So this is a program that we did bring to the United States ‑‑ Mike was part of that when he worked at the Treasury Department ‑‑ where we tried to replicate it for Americans.
So it couldn't be the same exact approach that was done in Bangladesh or India.
And what we found was that we needed to create development banks.
And so I helped to start something called the Southern Development Bank in Arkansas, which was focused on not running up huge profits but plowing money back into the bank so that they could loan to small businesses because so many small businesses can't qualify for a $10,000 or $20,000 loan, you know, to buy new equipment, to make investments, to hire another employee.
So this is a concept that was really pushed by the Clinton administration, and it has survived.
Don't tell anybody about it.
[ Laughter ]
It has survived up until now, and literally millions of people have benefited from these kinds of, you know, micro development bank approaches.
>> MICHAEL BARR: So this is the last question before we open it up to our great audience questions.
The Weiser Diplomacy Center that you are helping to launch is really committed to training the next generation of international affairs leaders and experts in the United States.
If you look out at the next 20, 25 years of challenges that they are all going to be facing, what are they?
What should they be working on?
What should they be thinking about, and how should they be best prepared to be the kind of leaders we are going to need for the next 20 and 30 years?
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Great question, and we would probably be here 'til breakfast with all of us talking about it.
[ Laughter ]
But I think just a few points.
First of all, I love what you are doing at the Ford School and the Weiser Center and everything that is being supported, what the Weills have done, all of you who have seen the importance of this kind of investment in our next generation of our leaders.
And the conversation we had over at the school which was just the students was very revealing based on the questions they asked because it wasn't just how do I get prepared, what do I study, where do I work, what do I do, what are the values that should guide me as I think about becoming a leader who wants to make a positive difference.
And one of the questions is what is the role of empathy?
And I am a huge believer that if you are a leader who wants to make a positive difference rather than just, you know, feather your nest or stroke your ego, but want to make a positive difference in lives, empathy is key.
You can't really help unless you can relate to them.
When I went to Bangladesh and to India and met woman who had gotten these loans, that is what got me committed.
You read about it.
You can go to a lecture about it, but when you see the difference that it makes in their lives.
So from my perspective, we have got to get back to listening to each other, empathizing with each other, working with each other.
We cannot solve our problems here at home or around the world if we continue to be so divisive, so divided, and so mean to each other.
And whatever we can do to try to break out of that.
That doesn't mean we are going to all agree.
I mean, part of being in a democracy is you have disagreements and you have the right to disagree, but we have got to start showing that democracy can work again.
We need to have debates that actually lead to decisions being made and action being taken, and we can't afford paralysis and gridlock.
We can't constantly be looking for the political advantage.
We need to say, hey, what does America need and what does America need to do in the world?
So if you look out at all the problems we have, none of them can be solved by us alone.
But if we don't lead, I can guarantee you they won't be solved.
If we are not in the forefront of trying to figure out what we do about climate change, what we do about conflict, what we do about the spread of disease which is only going to get worse because with the climate change, disease is moving north and we are not prepared for that.
How do we try to help manage the rise of China?
They have every right to rise, but not at the expense of their neighbors, not at the expense of concentration camps filled with leaders, not at the expense of suppressing the rights, freedom and dignity of their own people.
How do we work with that?
How do we deal with a newly aggressive Russia?
How do we deal with Iran that feels like the constraints that were put on it by the Iran agreement are gone so they basically can pursue that nuclear weapon that we put a lid on under the Iranian agreement in the Obama administration.
So, yeah, we have a lot of big, big issues.
And we need leaders who are going to put country before party, country before personal interests.
I am not saying it is easy.
I plead guilty to the times I didn't.
You know, it is very easy to kind of get into the frame of mind like you are right and everybody is wrong.
But we have got to save ourselves from that.
And it is the next generation of leaders who are going to have to model the best way to do that.
[ Applause ]
>> MAGGIE BARNARD: Madame Secretary, it is an honor speaking to you today.
I am Maggie Barnard, a Weiser diplomacy fellow pursuing a Master's in Public Policy.
Our first audience question is what is the most important undertaking to restore American leadership and cooperation in the international order?
How can the U.S.'s global leadership role be redeemed?
>> MICHAEL BARR: A small question for you.
[ Laughter ]
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Well, our current President could have an epiphany.
[ Laughter ]
You know, on the road to Damascus or somewhere.
[ Laughter ]
I worry that right now we are in a situation with the President, and those who enable and empower him, where we just have to try to hold on to what we have because we are becoming less and less relevant in the world.
We are losing our leverage along with our credibility, and people are going to start hedging their bets.
If they can't count on the United States to deliver the weapons that the Congress voted on to help defend themselves in Ukraine against the Russians, what does that mean?
If you fight for America and you fight with our special forces and you get rid of ISIS and you are betrayed, what does that mean?
So we have a lot of repair work, whoever the next President or next Secretary of State, however that comes about.
A lot of the people who were trying to constrain or educate the President are gone and so there is not really counter voices within the administration.
And, you know, I was lucky enough to serve with a President who invited dissent.
We had, you know, real debates about the right thing to do and how to do it.
And that doesn't seem to be happening now.
So we have to do a lot of repair work.
And this is a moment in history when I think the voices of others, the voices of other elected officials, the voices of citizen leaders, the voices of prominent business leaders, all need to be heard so that people around the world will know that the America that they used to count on, that was there, that represented the values they aspired to, will be back.
You know, we will find our way back.
[ Applause ]
>> JONATAN MARTINEZ: Good afternoon, Madame Secretary, and thank you once again for being here.
My name is Jon Martinez, and I am a second year MPP student, a Bohnett Fellow at the Ford School of Public Policy.
And we were wondering, there is a school of thought that the last recession contributed to the rise of populism and emboldened racists in Europe and the United States.
Should we be worried that it will intensify if there is another global economic downturn, and how should we address this worry?
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: That is a very important question.
I do think the global recession unleashed a lot of emotions, and some of them were justified because it wasn't, you know ‑‑ it should not have happened.
And when it did, I think many millions of people here in the United States and around the world lost a lot of faith in institutions, both in the free market system of our country as well as in our government.
And even though President Obama tackled it seriously and led us out of that, saved the auto industry in Michigan, did a lot of other really good things, it took a while.
And so people had, you know, a lot of serious problems economically and the damage lingered.
The other big push for populism, for nativism, whatever you want to call it, tribalism, nationalism, was immigration, and that goes back to the Syrian question because the real igniting event in Europe was the tens of thousands of Syrians pouring out trying to escape Assad and Russian bombers.
So they were flooding into Europe, and Europe was not prepared.
It was kind of hard to be prepared.
And there were millions of people who were showing up in Italy and then moving on to, you know, Germany or France.
And you know, Angela Merkel, who is a great stateswoman, took a huge political risk and basically said, look, we are going to take the Syrians, and there were others mixed in with them, but it was predominantly from, you know, the Syrian region.
We're going to take them and we're going to try to assimilate them.
We are going to try to give them jobs, training, education, and they took about a million Syrians, and that caused a huge political backlash.
I mean, the fact is Germany had a better system than most countries would to actually do what she said they were going to do and to absorb those people, and a lot of them, they may not have spoken German but they were engineers.
They were pharmacists.
They were educated.
So they have slowly been able to assimilate them, but there still is a big backlash.
And so these problems, the economic problems, the migration problems, we need people again doing that slow, patient diplomacy that looks boring but can actually make a difference trying to figure out what do we do about this?
Because I will predict that with climate change, you will have even more migrants, and particularly from North Africa, which suffering from desertification.
You are going to have more and more people pouring out of parts of Asia.
You have got temperatures in Europe now, 110 degrees and temperatures in parts of Asia, 120, 130 degrees.
People are going to leave, and what are we going to do?
And I want to say just another quick word about development.
I think it would be really smart for us to focus some development aid to build institutions in Central America to stop the migrant flow to try to provide ‑‑
[ Applause ]
‑‑ you know, honest policing, to try to provide, you know, support for those governments even if they are not particularly, you know, effective or even honest.
We ought to figure out what we can do.
A lot of the migrants are coming because they are scared to death with the gangs.
Well, no government should tolerate armed gangs, and we should help those governments crack down and eliminate that gang threat so people don't have to rush to our border because they have seen their father killed or their daughter raped and they don't know what else to do.
The coffee farmers are leaving because there is some kind of pestilence that is affecting the coffee crop.
We have the best agricultural experts in the world.
We should be down there trying to figure out how to help those people stay on their little farms, if that is possible.
We could be doing a lot instead of making this huge political dilemma, putting children in cages, abdicating our own values, our own laws.
We should say, look, we have to have an orderly migration process.
Every country has to have secure borders.
Why don't we try to help our neighbors so that they don't have to leave their homes and do more to prevent that flow in the first place?
[ Applause ]
>> MAGGIE BARNARD: Thank you.
What should the U.S. do to prevent foreign interference in elections?
Another easy question.
[ Laughter ]
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: You know, oh, my gosh.
[ Laughter ]
First, accept the fact that it happened.
[ Laughter ]
Don't argue about it.
[ Applause ]
You know, just this week, the Senate Intelligence Committee on a bipartisan basis issued a report going into detail about how much the Russians interfered in our elections in favor of Donald Trump and against me.
I mean, that is just a fact and, you know, the Mueller report, if you can bring yourself to read it, not just read about it, really explains what they call the sweeping and systematic attack by the Russians on our election system.
And so first let's accept the fact that a foreign adversary used their military intelligence assets ‑‑ think of that ‑‑ to interfere with our election in the hopes of helping to elect someone they thought would be more malleable or more favorable to their goals.
And right now, we are in a real quandary because the only institution capable of stopping this is the federal government.
Our elections are at the state and local level.
That is where we run them.
But the expertise, the homeland security expertise, the cyber expertise, doesn't exist in a county in Michigan.
They exist in the Defense Department and the Homeland Security Department and the CIA and other places in our federal government.
And there seems to be very little appetite by the federal government to do anything about it.
And so if you follow this, and you can guess I have ‑‑
[ Laughter ]
Even officials in the Trump administration have said repeatedly, the Russians are still in our election systems.
Dan Coates, who was removed from the Director of National Intelligence, very honorable man, gave a speech about it.
Actually went to the White House briefing room to try to sound the warning.
But it is going to take concerted effort, and just throwing money at the problem is not enough.
That is a part of it.
So here is what I tell the candidates who come to see me, or call me on the phone, the ones running on the Democratic side.
I say, look, you could run the best campaign.
You could be the nominee and you could lose for four factors that are not in your control.
One, voter suppression and purging of voters, which is still going on.
Millions and millions of people are either being purged or their registration is not accepted or they are turned away when they come to vote.
You could have information stolen from you and people in your campaign, which is then weaponized, as happened to me.
Crazy stuff being made up.
You could have a steady stream of outrageous, untrue stories that are fed to people's FaceBook feeds and other social media accounts that influences them because we are talking about really sophisticated propaganda.
We are talking about people in your feed who look like they are real news people.
They speak with American‑accented English and they are filming in Macedonia and Ukraine and St. Petersburg, making up stuff.
One of things that people who voted against me apparently believed according to an Ohio State University study was that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump.
They saw it on the news.
What was the news?
A guy in a suit and tie, a young good‑looking guy sitting behind a desk telling them that.
And then the fourth problem is the actual interference with the elections themselves.
We know it happened.
We don't have the details about what did happen.
We know that the Russians were in the systems of at least four counties in Florida.
But even members of Congress who get briefed on this from the FBI can't tell you what they are told because it is classified.
So I am very worried, my friends.
I am very worried because those four factors are alive and well. And I am also really disappointed in a lot of the tech companies, and I will mention FaceBook because they are the most influential.
More people in the world get their news from FaceBook than any combination of other news sources, and now FaceBook says that you can buy an ad that is totally untrue.
They are not going to take it down.
You can take elements of Nancy Pelosi speaking and piece it together to have her say something she never said, and have it posted and FaceBook won't take it down even though it is a manufactured deep fake.
So how are voters supposed to know?
I don't know.
I am a voter.
How am I supposed to know?
When you see this stuff, it is professionally produced.
It has got a lot of money behind it.
It is aimed at you because remember when they ‑‑ when the Russians hacked the DNC, they also ‑‑ and they got, you know, people who work there, their emails and caused commotion about that, but they also hacked the cloud.
And they stole all of the information my campaign had stored there about persuadable voters, voters we were going to be reaching out to, calling, knocking on their door.
They stole all that.
So when Paul Manafort handed something over to a Russian agent named Kilimnik, we believe it was polling information that they then could match up against the information they stole.
All I want is a free, fair, transparent, honest election, not interfered with by Russians or anybody else so that the choice of the American people is actually the choice the American people made.
[ Applause ]
>> JONATAN MARTINEZ: Thank you.
Do you believe we are facing a constitutional crisis?
Is our democracy under threat? And what can be done to rebuild our institutions?
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: I do think we are facing a constitutional crisis, and I say that as someone who actually worked on an impeachment staff back in 1974.
I was a young lawyer recruited to work on the staff to gather and analyze the law and the facts around President Nixon's behavior in office.
And I was one of the lawyers who worked on a document about what is a high crime and misdemeanor.
Think about this.
Why did our founders put impeachment into the constitution?
They knew we would have elections.
They assumed that we would have fair elections without British, French or Russian interference, and that if you didn't like somebody in office, including the President, you would vote that person out.
But they put impeachment in because they understood human nature and they understood the potential for abuse of power.
And they concluded you needed a remedy in the constitution to remove dishonest, abusive office holders.
So the impeachment power is given to the House to conduct investigations when there is evidence that a President in office has engaged in behavior that amounts to a high crime or misdemeanor against our nation that could cause a series of consequences that would undermine our rule of law, our separation of powers, our constitution.
So I think that Speaker Pelosi was correct not to give in to pressure to impeach about everything that people disagree with Trump about.
I mean, there is a long list.
Because I think she felt a heavy responsibility that it had to meet the founder's definition and reason if she was going to trigger an impeachment inquiry.
The Ukraine phone call, the whistleblower report, the additional information that is now coming out certainly in my view meets the definition of an impeachable offense if it is proven.
And so I believe you have to have a very thorough, thoughtful, deliberative process.
When I was on the impeachment staff, I mean, we didn't talk to the press.
We didn't leak anything, because we knew this was a very heavy responsibility.
And I think that is what Nancy Pelosi understands and that is why they are trying to gather evidence.
Now, if you look back at the Nixon impeachment, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, contempt of Congress were the major reasons under which there were specific acts.
The Trump administration's letter that their White House counsel sent saying they weren't going to cooperate and that, you know, the House had no right to investigate the President and all of that is totally out of bounds.
If you were to believe that no President could be investigated for wrongdoing while in office, if you were to believe that the President was above the law, we would lose our democracy right then.
We would be on the road to tyranny and ‑‑
[ Applause ]
You know, if he wants to contest the evidence, if he wants to present contrary evidence to the House, that is his right.
You know, I mean, the Nixon administration desperately tried to present evidence.
But the problem was, just like with the transcript of this phone call and the whistleblower complaint, there was real evidence about what President Nixon and his staff were doing.
They were obstructing justice.
They were abusing power and the tapes just sealed the deal.
So remember what happened in 1974.
And one of the people I profile in here is Barbara Jordan who gave one on the greatest speeches when she spoke about why she was going to vote in favor of the Articles of Impeachment about defending the constitution.
So the Articles were presented to the House committee.
And four Republicans joined in voting for those Articles of Impeachment, because the evidence was compelling.
It couldn't be brushed away.
It couldn't be argued or insulted away.
It was there in black and white and in transcripts of phone calls.
And so four Republicans voted to impeach President Nixon.
It never went to the full House because Republican senators went to the White House, including, I recall, Barry Goldwater, and said to President Nixon, you should resign.
The evidence is there.
You should resign.
And he did.
So I think this particular impeachment inquiry is not anything anybody should be happy about.
Nobody should celebrate.
It is a solemn, sad moment for our country.
But we have to enforce our laws and our constitution, and we have to hold leaders accountable, and we have to protect the separation of powers and the rule of law.
So I will not pre‑judge it, but from my own experience in looking at it, it certainly seems to meet the definition of impeachment that the founders had in mind.
[ Applause ]
>> MAGGIE BARNARD: And for our final question, you cited empathy as an important leadership characteristic.
What about expertise?
Why has there been such a devaluation of expertise, and how can we change this?
>> HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Well, I am really happy you asked that.
Empathy is a human value.
Expertise goes to whether you make decisions based on facts and evidence.
And I don't want to live in an evidence‑free zone.
I don't want to live in an evidence‑free country.
I want people to put forth facts based on their expertise and then to have a good, healthy argument about it.
I don't understand why expertise has been so devalued, but in this book, my daughter, who is passionate about this ‑‑ she has a Ph.D. in public health from Oxford and is just so upset about what is happening with the lower vaccination rates.
And we write a chapter dedicated to vaccinators who are predominantly women.
Dozens and dozens get murdered every year trying to vaccinate against polio in Pakistan or Afghanistan or Northern Nigeria.
Trying to vaccinate against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
These women are intrepid.
They go out and they try to convince people who have no access to modern information or science in lots of different settings, but they listen to rumors.
You know, if you vaccinate for polio, your children will be sterile.
If you vaccinate for Ebola, you know, you will, you know, be turned into a ghost, and the things that people believe that are not based on facts.
That, as tragic as it is, is somewhat understandable.
Having Americans and Europeans now saying I know better than decades of information about vaccines, and about all the science behind, is just to me incomprehensible.
I don't know exactly how we got there but everybody now is their own expert.
What they read on FaceBook or Twitter, they feel like their opinion is equivalent to, you know, Jonas Salk and therefore, they are going to do what they think is right regardless of expertise.
It is a really dangerous trend.
And I am not saying that, you know, every scientist and every expert is right about everything.
I wouldn't say that by any means.
We know that.
But the scientific method, the debate around scientific findings, has a way of revealing the facts and the truth.
And we are in a dangerous position.
I mean, it is one thing for the fossil fuel companies to convince unfortunately a number of elected leaders in our own country that climate change is not real.
It is another thing to watch diseases moving north because the climate is changing and these bugs that we never had are all of a sudden upon us.
I mean, we need to be more scientifically literate so that we are able to appreciate expertise again.
And I guess that goes to education.
It goes to a great public university like the University of Michigan.
It really does require a concerted effort to educate.
It also requires the press to quit being both sides now, false equivalency.
[ Applause ]
You know, I mean, if you take vaccination, or you take climate change, you have, like, you know, 99% of the scientific opinion in favor of climate change, in favor of vaccination.
They feel like it is their duty to find some guy somewhere who is going to say neither is true.
That is a terrible disservice to people trying to figure out what to believe.
So they also need to be more scientifically literate and more willing, and you know what?
Their answer ‑‑ I have had this argument, and their answer is, yeah, but these guys are so boring.
We put them on ‑‑
[ Laughter ]
I mean, you know, they are not funny.
They are not entertaining.
Oh, my gosh.
I don't even know what to say.
I mean, do a talent show for the most entertaining scientist.
I don't know what to say.
[ Laughter ]
Just get them out before the American people so they can get the facts and the evidence and the truth, and then we can get back to having some level of expertise to be relied upon.
[ Applause ]
>> MICHAEL BARR: Thank you.
Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton, for this really amazing conversation, the time you spent with our students earlier in the day, the time you are spending with us this afternoon.
It has been enlightening and a joy and we are deeply appreciative of you coming here to the Ford School of the University of Michigan, and we would love to have you back whenever you would like.
[ standing ovation ]