Hillary Clinton—the former secretary of state, New York senator, First Lady and likely presidential candidate—took on all topics Thursday when she spoke in front of a packed house at San Jose State University.
Her appearance was part of the lecture series Unique Lives and Experiences, which is devoted to the accomplishments of women. While the program was not a political rally, she certainly had the warm support of a crowd that expects big things from her come 2016. The crowd and moderators were the only parties directly addressing the upcoming presidential election, while Clinton touched on topics such as women's rights, politics, her family and idols.
SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi quoted Clinton in his introduction.
"In 1995, she told The United Nations Fourth World Conference On Women, 'Human rights are women's rights, women's rights are human rights'... we could not agree more," he said, before summing up Clinton's accolades and deeming her an honorary Spartan.
Clinton spoke of barriers that stand in the way of women here and abroad. She also hinted at a run for presidency with a story about her reluctance to run seat in the U.S. Senate.
During an event celebrating female athletes called "Dare To Compete," Clinton told the crowd, the captain of the school basketball team introduced her and whispered in her ear, "Dare to compete, Mrs. Clinton. Dare to compete." Time will tell.
Clinton said that more than 100 countries have laws that limit women's roles in the formal economy, such as being able to open a bank account, inherit property or sign a contract.
She applauded accomplishments here at home, citing the fact that more women are attending college than any time in history. But Clinton also pointed attention to the gender pay gap.
"I'm not just doing this for individual rights," Clinton said. "I'm doing it because we know that when women participate in their society there's more stability, there's more peace, more prosperity."
County Assessor Larry Stone moderated the latter half of the lecture and hinted to "major announcements" Clinton might be making in the future. The Q&A session was speckled with insights into her personal life, a comparison to Eleanor Roosevelt and personal thoughts on catching and killing Osama Bin Laden. The questions were crafted to illustrate how Clinton handles pressure, who she aspires to resemble and possible plans for the future.
She was asked if it's still possible to achieve bipartisanship in Washington, D.C. today.
The crowd shouted, "No!"
But Clinton replied, "Yes, because I am a perennial optimist."
She added that when Americans have their backs against a wall, however partisan the argument, they can find a compromise and work as an "American team" to achieve great things.
"The most valuable commodity there is in democracy is trust," Clinton said.