While eying a potential presidential run that would surely be boosted by deep-pocketed super PACs, Hillary Clinton said Monday evening that she’s open to supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which opened the door to the outside groups and the flood of money that poured into the political process with them.
Taking questions from Facebook users at the social media giant’s California headquarters Monday evening, Clinton expressed some interest in the idea. “I would consider supporting an amendment among these lines that would prevent the abuse of our political system by excessive amounts of money if there is no other way to deal with the Citizen's United decision,” she said in response to a question on the measure.
Amending the Constitution is an almost impossibly uphill battle, but the idea has secured support from almost all the Democrats in the Senate, which will vote on the measure later this year.
The former first lady is currently on a book tour for her memoir "Hard Choices," which was released in June. The publicity campaign is being seen as part of a months-long rollout leading up to a decision on whether or not she’ll run for president. Clinton has previously said that she’ll decide by the end of the year.
On Monday, Clinton also fielded questions on a number of other issues, and proclaimed "The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky to be her favorite book, while "Goodnight Moon" is the first book she plans to read to her future grandchild.
On the ongoing fighting in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinians, the former secretary of state said she hopes "there can be a ceasefire soon to end the conflict," noting that she negotiated the last such deal.
On the Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held territory in Ukraine, Clinton placed some blame at the feet of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “[T]here is a price to pay for this kind of behavior,” she said of Putin, adding the crash victims were “murdered.”
Later, at a separate Q&A session hosted by Twitter at its offices, Clinton elaborated on her view of Russia's involvement in Ukraine. "There is no doubt in my mind," she said, that pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine "are very heavily influenced, if not directed by Moscow." She added that Russian intelligence officers and special operators "played a big role in the insurgency," and said the militants may be outright controlled by Putin.
Meanwhile, back at Facebook, asked what her first action would be if she became president, Clinton responded with an answer that seemed designed to appeal to the vocal populist wing of the Democratic party. “Answering hypothetically ... the next president should work to grow the economy, increase upward mobility, and decrease inequality,” she said.
For those looking for any hints about a potential 2016 run, Clinton offered a tantalizing endorsement of the state that holds the nation's first primary. “I love New Hampshire,” she replied to a user who asked if she would visit the Granite State.
Clinton is on a swing through Silicon Valley, a fertile ground for donors to a potential presidential campaign, stopping at Google's headquarters between the visits to Facebook and Twitter.
Clinton is expected to raise more than a billion dollars if she runs, with even more money going to an archipelago of super PACs and other outside groups supporting her. Already, three major super PACs are working on her behalf, while there are at least a half dozen smaller ones.
In the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election, President Obama chose a similar forum as Clinton's to endorse an amendment to roll back Citizens United, telling Reddit users that “we need to seriously consider” an amendment.
Still, Obama and his allies maintained that they would not “unilaterally disarm” in the campaign finance arms race. As long as Republicans could use super PACs, Democrats will too, they said. Clinton's allies are already using a similar line to defend their outside activism on her behalf.