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Clinton and Emanuel talk politics, ‘Hard Choices’ in Chicago

  • (girl holding sign): Clinton did not address her possible political future at the event on Wednesday, even though supporters holding “I’m Ready for Hillary” signs proliferated the sidewalk outside the Harris Theater.

  • (Clinton on screen during her introduction): “I’m talking to you, Vladimir,” Clinton remarked when she said that some world leaders won’t be happy with her book.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to her Chicago roots this Wednesday, to kick off her “Hard Choices” book tour.

The former first lady delivered a short speech about her memoir––which details the hard choices she made while in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet––to a crowd of more than 1500 at the Harris Theater at the edge of Millennium Park. The event was sponsored by Chicago Ideas and included a question and answer session with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel, who graduated from Northwestern’s School of Communication in 1985 with a master’s degree, delivered an introduction for Clinton, whom he said will forever be a Chicagoan at heart.

In her address to the crowd, Clinton dove right into her term as Secretary of State, telling the audience that when President Obama first posed to her the idea of serving in his Cabinet, she encouraged him to look elsewhere.

Yet eventually, she decided to take the president-elect up on his offer, and credited Emanuel with putting Obama’s team together.

“He was a great source of support and encouragement,” Clinton said. “Rahm as Chief of Staff helped to keep everybody moving in the same direction.”

In the question and answer session, Emanuel immediately asked Clinton about the comments she had made before her book tour, implying that she and husband Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001.

“May have not been the most artful way of saying that Bill and I have gone through many phases in our life,” she said.

“We’ve been blessed and we have gone through ups and downs like a lot of people.”

Although unaddressed by Clinton in her one-hour presentation, most media frenzy surrounding the former senator speculates on whether or not she will run again for the presidency in 2016. Outside of the Harris Theater, supporters sold “Ready for Hillary” buttons and held signs with the same slogan.

Despite the fact that she did not address her own political future, Clinton did close the event with some election advice.

“Don’t vote for anyone who proudly says they are against compromise,” she said. “Because they are saying they are fundamentally against the American experiment in democracy. You gotta give a little to get something and you gotta keep moving forward.”