Hillary Clinton To Stephen Colbert: ‘I Want To Build On The Progress We’ve Been Making’

Last night on The Late Show, Hillary Clinton was the fifth presidential hopeful to take on Stephen Colbert’s half-serious/half-comical line of questioning.

Most notably from the serious side of things, Colbert elicited at least two responses from Clinton that could prove to be significant. The former Secretary of State explained why she wanted to be the next president and that if she does, indeed, become the POTUS, she wouldn’t bail out banks that think they’re too big to fail.

The interview started out pleasantly enough, with the Late Show host asking the former First Lady about the birthday she celebrated the day before. When she said that she and Mr. Clinton spent part of the day watching “bad TV,” Colbert wanted to know more. As Slate recounted, this is how we learned that Bill and Hillary Clinton do their best to keep up with shows like House of Cards, Madam Secretary, and The Good Wife — shows that just so happen to focus on politics and lawyers.

But as Colbert always does with his politician guests, he asked the serious questions that most people wanted to hear. Before getting into any details about policy or how her administration would be run, Colbert asked Hillary a simple yet important question, “Why do you want to be President of the United States?” Her response was well received by the studio audience.

“I want to be president because I want to build on the progress we’ve been making, and make it possible for more people in our country — particularly young people — to live up to their own God-given potential. And that means we’ve got to get back to providing opportunities. We’ve got to get back to making the economy work for everybody. And we have to defend the progress we’ve made in women’s rights and gay rights, and we have to protect voting rights and immigrants rights and everything else.”

From there, Stephen wanted to know how her views differed from fellow presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-professed socialist. Unlike most other candidates, Sanders doesn’t treat “socialism” as if it’s a dirty word. He thinks America could learn from Denmark. Colbert asked Hillary how she could achieve the same goals as Sanders without going to the socialist extremes Bernie has proposed.


The question didn’t elicit anything that Senator Bernie Sanders would have disagreed with. Clinton’s response to Colbert placed a large emphasis on the middle class. The Late Show audience liked everything she had to say. She noted that what Republicans have been trying — tax breaks for corporations and loopholes for the rich — haven’t fixed the economy. She pointed out that the American economy seems to have done much better over the last couple of decades when a Democrat was president.

After giving some statistics about the economy during Bill’s two terms, Stephen brought up a question many have been wondering. Colbert asked if a term or two with Hillary as POTUS would simply be the 90s all over again. Would it essentially be Clinton 2.0?

Distancing herself from both former presidents, as the New York Times noted, Clinton told Colbert, “I’m not running for my husband’s third presidency, or President Obama’s third term; I’m running for my first term.”

The former Secretary of State went on to say that the wealthy need to pay more, the minimum wage needs to be raised, profit-sharing should be incentivized, and that Wall Street needed further regulation to prevent another financial crisis. Setting Clinton up for what is sure to be a sound clip we will hear over and over, Stephen asked Hillary a hypothetical question. If she were President, and the banks failed again, would she let them fail? Clinton responded — seven times — with a confident “yes!”


From there, the mood returned to the norm for The Late Show, as Colbert went to another hypothetical. If Hillary had to pick between running against Donald Trump or running against Ben Carson, who would she choose? Although the moment was set for Hillary to get in a good one-liner, she politely declined to answer.

Throughout the course of the interview, we also learn that Hillary was once the president of the Young Republicans in college and discovered the best way to make Hillary Clinton Halloween costumes. If you missed it on CBS, you can stream last night’s episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (which also features guests Anthony Bourdain and Carrie Brownstein).

[Image credit Scott Olson and Alex Wong / Getty Images]

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