After a rocky book tour, it looks like Hillary Clinton’s early stumbles seemed to lift Friday – at least for a day.
The former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential candidate had something of an ideal day in New York City, taking center stage at several high profile events where she paid tribute to the late literary legend Maya Angelou, attended a philanthropic event for women and girls, and then helped rake in big money for the Democratic Governors Association.
The events offered the former New York senator the opportunity to bask in her own celebrity and to speak in front of friendly, respectful audiences not likely to press her on questions like whether she supports President Obama’s new strategy against ISIS.
In memorializing Angelou, she was able to pay tribute to a beloved African American figure who endorsed her presidential candidacy over then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. Later, at the Ford Foundation, Clinton placed a spotlight on the welfare of women and girls (an issue she has long championed) before proving just hours later she has fundraising prowess to make an impact ahead of the 2014 elections.
Clinton began Friday memorializing Angelou at a packed Riverside Church on the Upper West Side. She declared Angelou, who died in May of natural causes at the age of 86, a “walking, talking, work of art.” She also quoted a poem Angelou wrote for Clinton praising her 2008 presidential campaign.
“Her words made a nation’s heart soar. And when I ran for president, which I did a few years ago, her encouragement meant so much to me,” Clinton reminded the audience.
“There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female,” Clinton said, quoting Angelou’s poem about herself. “If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But to become a woman is a serious matter.”
The former first lady headed later to the Ford Foundation event billed as a “conversation” with Clinton.
The Q&A kicked off with Clinton talking about her famous 1995 speech at the Beijing women’s conference where she famously declared “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”
The 2016 election did not come up, but the discussion provided Clinton the opportunity to point to the actions she took as secretary of state in fighting for the rights of girls and women – something she called “the unfinished business of the 21st century.”
Clinton also stressed her disappointment that the United States, unlike the majority of countries in the world, hasn’t ratified the U.N.’s Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. “We have to change the Senate,” she said.
Clinton’s remarks at the Democratic Governors Association fundraiser were closed to press coverage.
Clinton’s weekend will be busy, too. On Sunday, she’ll be at the political heavyweight state of Iowa for Sen. Tom Harkin’s famous steak fry, considered a rite of passage for Democrats considering running for the Oval Office. It’s Clinton’s first visit there since her disappointing third place finish in the 2008 caucuses.
Vice President Joe Biden will be right on her heels. On Wednesday, Biden – who has not ruled out a run for the nation’s highest office himself – will be in Des Moines for a kick off event for “Nuns on the Bus.”
Hillary Clinton said earlier this month that she’ll likely make a decision on whether to run for president by early next year.