Hillary Clinton’s “Hard Choices” book promotion tour hit another bump in the road on Thursday when the former secretary of state became clearly agitated when she was repeatedly questioned about her “evolution” on gay marriage.
On Thursday, NPR’s Terry Gross wanted to know if Clinton – an early frontrunner among potential 2016 Democratic presidential contenders – hanged her views on same-sex marriage or if the American public evolved on its views, which allowed Clinton to state her true feelings.
Clinton did not endorse gay marriage during her 2008 presidential campaign, coming out in favor of it only last year. She announced the change in her position just weeks after she left the State Department and after President Obama announced his support for same-sex couples being allowed to tie the knot.
Gross noted that when Clinton’s husband was president, he signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
After several minutes of questioning, Clinton said “I think we have all evolved,” argued there’s no need to be “ploughing old ground” and that she championed many issues concerning LGBT people during her time as secretary of state. Gross insisted that the former first lady did not answer her question.
“I have to say, I think you are being very persistent, but you are playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue,” Clinton said.
Gross responded: “I’m just trying to clarify so I understand,” to which Clinton shot back: “No, I don’t think you are trying to clarify.”
Clinton added: “I think you’re trying to say I used to be opposed and now I’m in favor and I did it for political reasons, and that’s just flat wrong. So let me just state what I feel like you are implying and repudiate it. I have a strong record, I have a great commitment to this issue, and I am proud of what I’ve done and the progress we’re making.”
The conservative America Rising PAC tried to capitalize on the exchange characterizing it in an e-mail as Clinton “verbally attacks” a radio host.
Republicans also pounced on Clinton’s comments during an interview with ABC on Monday, in which the former first lady said she and her husband left the White House in early 2001 “dead broke” and struggled to pay mortgages on their two multimillion dollar homes. Conservatives are pointing to the initial gaffe as evidence that Clinton is out of touch with ordinary Americans.
On Tuesday morning, Clinton sought to clarify those remarks, telling the network: “I fully appreciate how hard life is for so many Americans.” She added, “Bill and I were obviously blessed. We worked hard for everything we got in our lives and we continue to work hard.”
Clinton is currently on a massively publicized book tour that’s being seen as part of a months-long rollout leading up to her decision on if she’ll run for president. Clinton has said she’ll make a decision by the end of the year.
The former first lady has additional book signing dates this summer in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Austin, San Francisco and Arlington, Va.