Hillary Rodham Clinton has faced lots of creative attempts to decipher her plans for a second White House run. On Tuesday night, Jon Stewart tried trick questions about architecture, eliciting a more interesting response than most.
As she's traveled the world on her epic book tour in recent months, many of the former secretary of State’s interlocutors have tried subtlety – waiting until the end of their interviews to pose questions about her presidential plans. But the "Daily Show" host went for right for it.
Announcing Clinton’s arrival at the top of "The Daily Show," the Comedy Central host said she was in studio “solely for one reason: to publicly and definitively declare her candidacy for president of the United States.” Then, a beat. “I think,” he said.
When Clinton joined Stewart on set, the host offered a good-natured jab about the length and thickness of her 635-page memoir, entitled “Hard Choices.” (“Not for your editor,” he quipped, pointing the size of the book, “Look at that baby.”)
“It’s an incredibly, I think, complex and well-reasoned, eyewitness view to the history of those four years,” Stewart continued. “I think I speak for everybody when I say, no one cares. They just want to know if you’re running for president.”
“Are you running for president?” he asked bluntly.
“Jon, I was going to make an announcement, but I saw you kind of spoiled it” at the top of the show, she replied.
Stewart suggested that Clinton might simply be confused about her decision, and that they try a different approach – a career aptitude test.
“Do you like commuting to work or do you like a home office?” Stewart asked. Clinton said that after many years of commuting, she’d enjoyed writing her book on the third floor of her house.
“Do you have a favorite shape for that home office?” Stewart continued archly. “Would you like that office … to have corners? Or would you like it not to have corners.”
“You know,” Clinton gamely replied, “I think that the world is so complicated, the fewer corners that you can have, the better.”
After a few more questions from Stewart about whether she liked halting traffic (or sitting in it) and whether she enjoyed “constant, nonstop criticism,” he declared the results of his test: “It sounds to me, if I may, you’ve declared for the presidency,” he said to laughter.
While Clinton did not reveal her plans, she did allow that she’d been surprised by the size of the “cottage industry” that had sprung up around her decision.
And she issued what has now become her standard mea culpa about her “inartful use of words” when she described her family as “dead broke” when they left the White House after her husband Bill Clinton's presidency. When Stewart raised that comment, Clinton almost immediately segued to her talking points about the difficulties that young people today face climbing the career ladder.
“You know what's awesome?” Stewart interrupted. “How easily you pivoted from that into income inequality in America. That says to me you're running for president.”