Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hillary Clinton: I Want to Be Me

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hillary Clinton: I Want to Be Me

Article excerpt

In a suite at the Waldorf as big as all outdoors, Hillary Rodham Clinton sits on a sofa and talks about Whitewater, commodities trading, her daughter, her friends, why most men favor long hair and whether she should give regular press conferences at the White House.

"I can see people saying, "Who does she think she is, having press conferences?' " said Clinton, whose conversation is now liberally larded with anticipated objections to the way she leads her public life.

It has been a difficult time in the difficult life of the woman who calls herself "a transitional figure" in America's political mythology. She gave a press conference in which she denied knowing of anything untoward in the transactions that enabled her to turn $1,000 into nearly $100,000 in the volatile commodities markets.

And she went on "Larry King Live" and faced questioning about allegations by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, that the president, while governor, had sexually harassed her.

Clinton, who normally speaks in cogent paragraphs, replied with the negative semigrunt "uh-uh" when asked if the charges upset or bothered her.

It's been difficult sometimes not to believe that she has modulated her behavior to make her strength unthreatening, that in terms of image she is still veering between making policy and making cookies: the seated posture and pretty-in-pink sweater at the press conference, the trip around the aisles of a Safeway last week pushing a cart.

She denies the calculation or the contradictions. She says the sweater went with the longer skirt she chose because her shorter ones would have made for potentially embarrassing camera angles.

"I don't know if I can convey to you what it's like living in the White House when you're our age and you have so little control over your own life," she said of the supermarket.

"And you can't do something as simple as going to a store without it being a major production, as my father used to say `a federal case.' And I felt great talking to this produce manager about jicama."

It's not so great talking to reporters who wonder whether there was something fishy about her trading profits. …

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