World & Nation

Hillary Clinton, returning to the public spotlight, urges Americans to find common ground

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton arrives at the Society of Irish Women’s annual dinner on St. Patrick’s Day in her late father’s hometown of Scranton, Pa.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton says she’s “ready to come out of the woods” and help Americans find common ground.

Clinton’s gradual return to the public spotlight following her presidential election loss continued with a St. Patrick’s Day speech in her late father’s Pennsylvania hometown of Scranton.

“I’m like a lot of my friends right now; I have a hard time watching the news,” the Democratic former secretary of State told an Irish American women’s group.

But she urged a divided country to work together to solve problems, recalling how, as first lady, she met with female leaders working to bring peace to Northern Ireland.


“I do not believe that we can let political divides harden into personal divides. And we can’t just ignore or turn a cold shoulder to someone because they disagree with us politically,” she said.

Friday night’s speech was one of several Clinton is to deliver in the coming months, including a May 26 commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She also is working on a book of personal essays that will include some reflections on her election loss to Donald Trump.

Clinton, who was spotted taking a walk in the woods around her hometown of Chappaqua, N.Y., two days after the election, said she had wanted to stay in the woods, “but you can only do so much of that.”

She told the Society of Irish Women that it’ll be up to citizens, not a deeply polarized Washington, to bridge the political divide.


“I am ready to come out of the woods and to help shine a light on what is already happening around kitchen tables, at dinners like this, to help draw strength that will enable everybody to keep going,” Clinton said.

Clinton was received warmly in Scranton, where her grandfather worked in a lace mill. Her father left Scranton for Chicago in search of work during the Depression, but returned often, and Clinton spent summers at the family’s cottage on nearby Lake Winola.

She recalled watching movies projected onto a bedsheet in a neighbor’s yard, and said the cottage had a toilet but no shower or tub.

“Don’t tell anybody this, but we’d go down to the lake,” she said.


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