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Clinton Question: Should It Be 'Madam President Or Mrs. President?'

OPB | April 8, 2014 9:13 p.m. | Updated: April 9, 2014 8:55 a.m. | Portland

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In a wide-ranging talk to an enthusiastic Portland audience, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked about everything from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stand on gay rights, to climate change, to what it’s like to live in the glare of the public eye.

John Rosman / OPB

Clinton appeared before the World Affairs Council of Oregon, to a crowd that frequently applauded her remarks.

She began her speech with a talk about Putin. She called him a “tough guy in a thin skin,” criticizing his opposition to gay rights, and his role in escalating tensions over Ukraine.

Clinton’s talk kicks off a World Affairs Council series on “Women Changing the World.”

John Rosman / OPB

She talked about how raising the status of women improves a nation’s overall economy.

“When women and girls participate throughout the economy, growth goes up for everyone,” she said.

But Clinton made sure to include a nod or two to her Portland audience. She offered to get doughnuts from local Voodoo Doughnuts to keep everybody going through her remarks. And she praised Oregonians for economic policies that look towards Asia.

After her speech, Clinton responded to a few written questions. One asked about life in the constant glare of the political spotlight. 

John Rosman / OPB

“I follow Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice: if you want to be in the public arena, grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros,” she said.

Clinton came to Oregon from California, where The Associated Press reported she said she’s seriously mulling the idea of seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, but that she’s not ready to commit to a long campaign.

“The hard questions are not, ‘Do you want to be president?’ ‘Can you win?’ The hard questions are, ‘Why? Why would you want to do this?’ and ‘What? What could you offer that could make a difference?’ ” she said, according to an AP report.

In Portland, Clinton dodged the only question that alluded to a presidential run. It was submitted by a girl who attends Glencoe Elementary School. The 6-year-old asked: “In 2016, would you prefer to be called Madam President or Mrs. President?”

Clinton shrugged, smiled, stood up to accept audience applause, and then left the stage.

John Rosman / OPB

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