Hillary Clinton won’t back down. Or go away. – Washington Post

Hillary Clinton looked into their eyes, her voice dropping. “This is very personal for me,” the senator from New York told a small group of undecided voters in a Portsmouth, N.H., cafe in January 2008.

Her voice cracked with emotion. Clinton’s campaign for president was foundering. Another history-seeking Democrat, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, had won the Iowa caucuses, and polls showed him with a double-digit lead over Clinton on the day before the New Hampshire primary.

A woman asked how Clinton did it — how, after all she had been through, she remained so upbeat. Clinton paused, tears welling in her eyes. “I see what’s happening,” she said. “And we have to reverse it.”

She had, until that point, been scripted and cautious, intent on projecting the gravitas of a commander in chief. Voters struggled to connect, and the campaign appeared adrift, beset by bickering and leaks that Clinton seemed unable to control.

Then, whether it was authenticity or a Hail Mary by a desperate campaign, Clinton went off the familiar script. Her voice softened. “I just don’t want to see us fall backwards,” she said. “You know?”

The next day, she erased Obama’s lead and won New Hampshire, though Obama’s historic momentum would be too much to overcome. Portsmouth, though, was more meaningful than one primary win. “I found my footing,” Clinton wrote in “Hard Choices,” her second memoir, “and my voice.”

She refused to concede to Obama, even when it was clear she couldn’t win. And by the end of her campaign, 18 million people had voted to nominate a woman for president of the United States.

When the time finally came to withdraw, an 89-year-old woman wearing green entered the atrium of Washington’s National Building Museum to listen to Clinton’s concession speech. “When you’re knocked down,” Clinton told hundreds of supporters, “get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.”

The woman in green applauded, and Clinton continued.

“Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it,” she said as Dorothy Rodham watched from a few feet away.


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