Hillary Clinton Visits Silicon Valley, Holds Twitter Q&A

For a year now, Hillary Rodham Clinton has been a fixture on Twitter, posting observations with #TweetsFromHillary at @HillaryClinton. But when the former secretary of state made the rounds at Facebook, Twitter and Google on Monday, the hashtag became #AskHillary, as she switched to interactive mode.

Monday’s trip and Twitter Q&A was part of Clinton’s “Hard Choices” book tour, which many have said is an opportunity for Clinton to test the waters for a 2016 presidential bid. If that’s the case, it’s no surprise that she would make a stop in Silicon Valley, courting the tech magnates who she’ll need to finance her campaign.

Clinton’s Q&A, which Twitter live streamed on YouTube from its San Francisco headquarters, kicked off with several questions about women’s rights. Twitter hosted members of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit aiming to close the gender gap in STEM jobs, in the front of the audience, who cheered and screamed that they loved Clinton as she entered the room.

Twitter took the first question from Malala Yousafzai, the young girl who was shot in the head while advocating for female education in Pakistan. Yousafzai was featured in Time Magazine’s 2013 “The 100 Most Influential People” issue and wrote about Clinton for the same Time feature in 2014.

In addition to Twitter employees and the public, two celebrities known for their political TV roles submitted Tweets to the Q&A.

Clinton passed advice from first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the audience, saying that a woman in the public arena “needs to grow skin as thick as the hide of a rhinoceros.”

“I have certainly, as you can tell, have had to learn how to do that, and there’s a lot of good moisturizers I can tell you about if you’re interested,” Clinton joked. “The second thing is to learn how to take criticism seriously but not personally.”

Clinton described Poehler’s imitation of her during the 2008 presidential election as “wicked.”

“We were standing next to each other, and even I got confused,” Clinton said.

Clinton moved on to addressing a major concern for Millennials — the high cost of higher education.

She also discussed some of the foreign policy decisions she outlines in “Hard Choices.” She made strong comments about the current Middle Eastern conflict, stating Israel was “provoked” by Hamas when asked about how Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces use Twitter.

She also spoke firmly about the importance of Internet freedom.

“We have to continue to stand up against censorship and the undermining of the Internet,” Clinton said. “I think Internet freedom is a fundamental human right. … What I have found is more and more countries are trying to restrict the Internet.”