Fresh on the heels of her potential Republican challenger Rand Paul's visit to San Francisco, Hillary Clinton came to town yesterday as part of her tour supporting her new book, Hard Choices. And, much like the libertarian Kentucky Senator, she embraced high technology, visiting Facebook and Twitter's offices to field questions from around the world.
As the Chronicle points out, her Facebook chat turned a little wild and wooly, with un-moderated questions that ranged from the sexist (asking about her breast size) to internet in-jokes (like the one that posed to her the Reddit AMA staple: Would she rather fight one horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses).
During the half-hour Facebook forum, Clinton did offer some policy specifics that gave a glimpse into what her candidacy might look like, saying that she was in favor of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison and that she would work to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.
Then she jaunted up from Menlo Park to Twitter's mid-Market headquarters (no word if she took one of the commuter shuttles to get there). That event, which was moderated by Katie Staton, Twitter's VP of Global Media and a former Clinton staffer at the State Department, went more smoothly for the former Senator and First Lady. Questions were submitted through Twitter and asked by bold names like Kerry Washington, Amy Poehler, and Melinda Gates. (Yesterday was also Clinton's one-year anniversary as a Twitter user.)
In her responses, Clinton made a case for increasing the leadership roles of women and the role of social media in conflict resolution. In a more policy-specific vein, she defended Israel's recent incursion into the Gaza Strip as justified by Hamas rocket strikes, which she called a provocation. She highlighted what she saw as her successes at the State Department, including the "pivot to Asia," containing Iran's nuclear program, opening Burma to a more democratic system, and negotiating a Gaza ceasefire that had held until recently.
On the most pressing foreign policy subject of the week, the continuing fallout from the downing of a passenger plane in eastern Ukraine, Clinton had harsh words for Russian President Vladimir Putin. "There is no doubt in my mind that Russian sympathizers in the eastern Ukraine are very heavily influence, if not directed, by Moscow," she said. "It's very clear that Russian intelligence agents, special forces, and others have played a big role in the insurgency." Calling for an independent investigation, she stopped short of recommending a military response, but did argue that "the only way to stop Putin's adventurism is to make him pay a price for it," including international sanctions.
Clinton also drew a big laugh by quoting Eleanor Roosevelt's advice to women in the public eye: "She needs to grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros" and then adding that she could recommend "some good moisturizers."