Hillary Clinton Wonders If She Should Have Told Trump: "Back Up, You Creep."

This morning, MSNBC's Morning Joe debuted two excerpts from Hillary Clinton's upcoming memoir, What Happened. The two audio clips — one explaining what the book covers, and one recalling Donald Trump's creepy behavior during the second debate — featured Clinton reading the excerpts in her own voice.

Morning Joe Co-Anchor Willie Geist: Welcome back to Morning Joe. We have obtained an exclusive excerpt from Hillary Clinton's new book, and, for the first time, we're hearing exactly what she thought about sharing a stage with Donald Trump. First, here's what the Democratic nominee had to say about why she's revisiting last year's losing bid for the White House.

Hillary Clinton: [in voiceover, reading an excerpt from her book] I don't have all the answers, and this isn't a comprehensive account of the twenty-sixteen race. That's not for me to write. I have too little distance and too great a stake in it. Instead, this is my story. I want to pull back the curtain on an experience that was exhilarating, joyful, humbling, infuriating, and just plain baffling.

Writing this wasn't easy. Every day that I was a candidate for president, I knew that millions of people were counting on me — and I couldn't bear the idea of letting them down. But I did. I couldn't get the job done. And I'll have to live with that for the rest of my life.

In this book, I write about moments from the campaign that I wish I could go back and do over. [chuckles] If the Russians could hack my subconscious, they'd find a long list.

I also capture some moments I want to remember forever — like when my tiny granddaughter raced into the room while I was practicing my convention speech, and what it was like, hours later, to step onstage, to deliver that speech, as the first woman ever nominated by a major political party for President of the United States.

Geist: [in voiceover, over footage from the second presidential debate] In the excerpt we have, Secretary Clinton also addressed this moment from October — you'll remember this — when Donald Trump stood directly behind her while the two candidates debated at Washington University in St. Louis.

Clinton: [in voiceover, reading an excerpt from her book] This is not okay, I thought. It was the second presidential debate, and Donald Trump was looming behind me. Two days before, the world heard him brag about groping woman. Now we were on a small stage, and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely — staring at me; making faces.

It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled. It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, "Well, what would you do?" Do you stay calm, keep smiling, and carry on as if he weren't repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, "Back up, you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can't intimidate me, so back up."

I chose Option A: I kept my cool, aided by a lifetime of dealing with difficult men trying to throw me off. I did, however, grip the microphone extra hard. I wonder, though, whether I should have chosen Option B. [chuckles] It certainly would have been better TV!

Maybe I have overlearned the lesson of staying calm, biting my tongue, digging my fingernails into a clenched fist — smiling all the while, determined to present a composed face to the world.
It kills me — it will always kill me — to hear Hillary Clinton talking about disappointing her supporters, letting us down. I'm sure, I know, there are indeed people who voted for her who are disappointed, let down, angry, blameful. I am not one of them.

What I wanted and expected of Hillary Clinton was that she would do her very best to win. I never expected her to be perfect; I never expected that she would never make a mistake. I wanted and expected that she would run with integrity; with tenacity; with a commitment to workable, detailed, progressive policy; and with her love for people and for her country front and center.

That is what she promised, and that is what she did. She owes me no apology.

She also does not owe me the second-guessing of the split-second decisions she had to make in difficult moments. Would I have loved with the power of ten thousand suns if Hillary Clinton had turned to Donald Trump during that second debate and told him to back the fuck off? Hell yeah I would have!

Did I also love that Hillary Clinton was indubitably unflappable even as a toxic, predatory bully stalked her around the stage trying (and failing) to intimidate her? Hell yeah I did!

Of those two options, there frankly wasn't a bad one. They were just different.

And that's the reason, right there, that Hillary Clinton never let me down. She only saw two potential options, both of them valuable (and limited) in their own ways. The bad options never occurred to her.

Hillary Clinton campaigned for 18 months, day after exhausting day, keeping up a ruthless schedule that would drive most people half her age to collapse after three weeks, no less a year and a half. She gave up time with her family, her grandchildren; gave up anything resembling free time; gave up her privacy. She made countless sacrifices on behalf of this country, which has often been very unkind to her in return for her lifetime of service. She did her best, and it was pretty fucking good.

Hillary Clinton still doesn't owe me a goddamned thing. She gave it her all. And that is enough.

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