In a smart move to become more accessible to the American populace, Hillary Clinton hosted a Facebook Q&A session Monday afternoon. Individuals were encouraged to write comments to ask questions on any subject, and Clinton provided some brilliant responses to questions about race, college debt, immigration reform, and more. The questions ranged from serious to humorous, and they allowed Clinton to showcase her knowledge on the issues, as well as give a better look at her personality and how she would act as president.
Although intended for private individuals, a few reporters managed to get some questions highlighting economic and social issues answered in the process, while some people who were weren't members of the press wrote in to ask more lighthearted questions, like the one about her favorite karaoke joints (no answer, unfortunately). The result was a new level of transparency and accessibility for the Clinton campaign, which has notoriously been off-limits with reporters.
On Monday, Clinton appeared lively and excited to talk, signing each comment as "H" to indicate she herself wrote it. And not every response was serious — the most endearing answer was Clinton's response to being asked how she liked being a grandma. "IT'S THE BEST THING EVER! -H" she replied.
Missed the Q&A? Here are some of Clinton's best answers.
On Race & #BlackLivesMatter
One question (asked by a sneaky reporter), pondered, "You chose not to speak at Netroots Nation this weekend, two of your Democratic primary rivals did -- both were interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters, who asked: 'As the leader of this nation, will you advance a racial justice agenda that will dismantle -- not reform, not make progress -- but will begin to dismantle structural racism in the United States?' How would you have answered?" Clinton responded:
Black lives matter. Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that. We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality. Black people across America still experience racism every day. Since this campaign started, I've been talking about the work we must do to address the systemic inequities that persist in education, in economic opportunity, in our justice system. But we have to do more than talk - we have to take action. For example - we should make sure every police department in the US has body cameras. We should provide alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders. We should invest in early childhood education for every child. We should fight for voting rights and universal voter registration. You will continue to hear me talking about these issues throughout this campaign and pushing for real solutions. -H
On The Economy
One of the first questions asked (also by a reporter) referenced a "gig economy" where jobs are replaced by technology. "Would you support a negative income tax?" on questioner asked. "What about flexible benefits, like workers compensation or unemployment insurance, that are independent of any given employer, similar to the the model of the Affordable Care Act?" Clinton responded:
I had a feeling this might come up! You are asking exactly the kinds of questions that we all need to be asking about the future of work in an age of accelerating technological change. I certainly don’t have all the answers. But we have to resolve these questions while embracing the promise and potential of these new technologies and without stifling innovation or limiting the ability of working moms and veterans and young people to get ahead. On the issue of benefits, the experience of the Affordable Care act shows that we need to make sure people have access to benefits and that they are portable as they move from job to job. -H
On First Time Voters
Youth voters were a power house during Obama's first election, and are a force Clinton will surely try to capitalize on again. "Hillary this will be my daughters first time voting for a president," a Facebook user asked. "What will you say to her and all first time voters to inspire them to come out and vote and to let them know not to loose hope in this great country of ours. Certainly things do not look to bright these days." Clinton responded:
Antoinette - thank you for asking this question, because every election has to be about the future. And this is about your daughter's prospects for making the most out of her own life here in our country. I believe it's important to vote because I don't want to leave voting to those with whom I disagree - whether it's about LGBT rights, climate change, student debt, or any other important issue. If you don't vote, you empower people who do vote who you don't agree with. I'm running a campaign that would be best for young people like your daughter, my daughter and granddaughter, to have a strong economy, a tolerant, inclusive society, and a country that lives up to our highest values. So I hope I can earn both your vote and her vote. I will be doing everything I can to make that happen. -H
Although Clinton didn't go on the attack in many questions, she didn't hold back any punches either. One question stated, "Senator Mitch McConnell said about you today: 'The gender card alone isn't enough.' How do you respond to an attack like that?" Clinton responded:
Wow. If that’s what he said, Mitch McConnell really doesn’t get it. There is a gender card being played in this campaign. It’s played every time Republicans vote against giving women equal pay, deny families access to affordable child care or family leave, refuse to let women make decisions about their health or have access to free contraception. These aren’t just women’s issues, they are economic issues that drive growth and affect all Americans. Anyone who doesn’t get that doesn’t understand what our lives are like. -H
On Immigration Reform
The most direct question by far was about Clinton's plans for immigration reform. "Are you going to make it easier for immigrants to have a pathway to citizenship?" one individual asked. Clinton responded:
Yes. This is a big difference I have with most of the Republican candidates. Donald Trump in particular is getting a lot of attention for some hateful rhetoric, but Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio actually agree with him on denying a pathway to citizenship and consigning hardworking immigrants to second class status. I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that includes that pathway to citizenship. -H
On Student Debt
Finally someone asked the question that's plaguing students across the nation. "What are you going to do - or at least try to do - to curb the burden of student debt? We are young and we just want to live our lives without struggling every month because of the enormous student debt looming over us." Clinton responded:
Nate, I am so sorry and angry about the situation you and so many young people find yourselves in. I borrowed money to go to law school, but I had the opportunity to pay it back as a percentage of my income over the years it took me to pay off. It's wrong that you and others who are trying to improve your education and opportunities for the future are anchored by debt that's often linked to unreasonably high interest rates. I'll be putting forward specific proposals to refinance debt so it becomes more affordable, encourage more people to use income contingency repayment program so you are paying back as a percentage of what you actually earn, to try to make college more affordable to start with so that students today and tomorrow don't end up with the amount of debt you and 40 million other Americans currently have. This is one of my biggest economic and educational priorities and I will be addressing it from the first day I become president. -H
On Pantsuit Preferences
By far the most pressing question asked referred to Clinton's deep and abiding love of pantsuits. "All serious questions aside, do you have a favorite pantsuit to wear?" one person asked. "Being an avid follower for years, there have been quite a few to cross those public forum stages. Surely you have to have a favorite." Clinton responded, plugging her own merchandise:
I never met a pantsuit I didn't love. Go to our website and you can get one of your own.
Images: Facebook (7)