Hillary Clinton’s surprisingly normal life as bookworm, ‘movie freak’

FILE - In this July 21, 1992 file photo, then-Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton stands with his wife, Hillary Clinton, during a campaign stop at General Butler State Park in Carrollton, Kentucky. (AP file)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) — The last few decades of Hillary Clinton’s life have passed in the hermetically sealed environs of chauffeured cars and marble buildings.

Aides attend to her every need. Secret Service agents clear paths and ensure safety.

But the Democratic nominee’s early years, from suburban Chicago all the way to Connecticut, began far less fancily.

A review of several sit-downs in 1993, when the new first lady displayed far more candor with journalists, proves the public-private wall she built over several decades in the unforgiving public eye wasn’t always so high.

Behind it, we find a shockingly normal person.

In fact, Clinton’s interests and indulgences match those of many average American: movies, books and dancing.


Clinton is a bibliophile through and through.

Speaking to Parade Magazine’s Dotson Rader in February 1993, Clinton tells him, “I record all the names of all the books I read.”

She has to, because the list spans seven decades.

Growing up, Clinton says, “I read voraciously and I read lots of things,” including one stone cold conservative you’d never expect: Ayn Rand.

Of Rand, a favorite of Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Clinton recalls during her teens that “there wasn’t any one person or particular movement that captured me so much as just the explosion of knowledge I was exposed to.”

Clinton also got really into the “scary” possibility of “overwhelming control invested in anything, government or big business or anything.”

That’s why Clinton was “fascinated” with George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.”

Today, the Democratic standard-bearer and devout Methodist is still known to carry a dog-eared Bible in her bag wherever she goes.

‘Movie Freak’

One of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s shared loves is movies.

In New Haven, Connecticut, during their time at Yale Law School, the couple would go on frequent dates to a little house-turned-cinema called Lincoln Theater, which the former secretary of state remembers being “an old garage.”

Clinton described the duo as “movie freaks” who would “go to four movies in a row.”

At the time, the Lincoln Theater mostly showed foreign films.

During one particularly bad blizzard in the 1970s, Hillary and Bill got the idea to veg out in front of the silver screen. But there were two problems: they couldn’t drive there and the theater was likely closed.

Fortunately, they called and the theater owner told them “If you get here, I’ll put the film on.”

Mission: accepted.

Clinton remembers, “We must have walked through knee-deep snow for two and a half hours to get there and just laughing. I mean, you know, we had just so much fun. We just had a great time.”

As the nation’s first family two decades hence, the Clintons took it one step further, frequently inviting Hollywood power players to the White House to wine, dine and screen new films.

Dancing shoes

Most Washington elites prefer to cut a deal, not a rug — Clinton excepted.

As an undergraduate student at Wellesley in the late 1960s, “She enjoyed parties; dancing to Elvis, the Beatles, and the Supremes,” reports Carl Bernstein in his book “A Woman in Charge.”

That’s not to say Clinton is spectacularly skilled on the dance floor, but she surely enjoys it.

In a now-famous trip to South Africa in 2012, the soon outgoing secretary of state danced in a shimmering blue dress coat — employing both hands and feet — as a woman wearing an animal print halter dress grinds on her in front of a semicircle of encouragers.

Most other dance breaks have been of a milder nature.

Clinton showed some fancy footwork a few other times this election cycle, including some Latin-inspired moves at a New York event and learning the “Nae Nae” alongside Ellen DeGeneres.

Follow Chance Seales on Twitter: @ChanceSeales

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