"I'm not going anywhere except in the middle of the debate" is what 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said to cheering crowds at the University of Michigan's Hill auditorium on Tuesday night.
The former Secretary of State spoke for more than 20 minutes and then answered questions for more than an hour in front of a mostly supportive crowd in Ann Arbor. It's important to note that Clinton did not take questions from reporters before, during or after the appearance. The moderator was University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan, who is a contributor WUOM in Ann Arbor but not a journalist.
"The outcome in Michigan was not what I hoped or worked for," said Clinton. "But I want today as I talk about the book I wrote, to really urge everyone do not grow weary. We have a lot of work to do to stand up for the values that we share and the causes we believe in. That is more important now here in Michigan and across America than it's ever been."
Clinton is on a worldwide book tour to promote What Happened, a memoir about the 2016 presidential race. Although she lost the electoral vote, Clinton won the popular vote.
"I do talk about some of the moments that still frustrate me," she said about her book.
But she said there are positive moments like accepting the Democratic party's nomination for President. She called a campaign rally on the day before the November 2016 election in Grand Rapids "exhilarating."
"Writing this book was sometimes a very painful process," said Clinton. "It turned out to be cathartic for me and ultimately reinvigorating because as a person when people ask me 'how I am?' I say 'okay'. But as an American I'm really concerned."
Clinton touched on four points she wanted the crowd to know about her memoir.
"Everybody gets knocked down... and what matters is if you get back up and keep going," said Clinton to cheers.
In addition to spending time with friends, long walks, yoga, she said she started a new organization called Onward Together following her defeat last year.
"To encourage the outpouring of activism and engagement that we are seeing right now," said Clinton. "Nothing makes me feel better than channeling my frustrations into action and I hope many of you have come to the same conclusion because our future depends on it."
Six pages of Clinton's book is devoted to the Flint Water Crisis. And she warned the crowd not to forget about the most vulnerable Americans.
"Those families still face very difficult circumstances," said Clinton. "The lead levels are going down which is encouraging but it could still be a year or more before people can drink from their faucets. It's just heartbreaking and outrageous. This is not something that should happen in America. Period."
Her second point aimed at taking on sexism and misogyny in society.
"The only way we will get sexism out of politics is to get more women into politics," said Clinton. "The research is clear, like ability and professional success go hand in hand. In other words, the more successful a man becomes the more people like him. But with women it's the exact opposite. The more professionally successful we are, the less people like us."
"I hope women of all ages will read this book and be inspired to run for office, to compete, to get into the public arena. And I intend to do everything I can to help."
The final two points were critical of President Trump's administration. "There is no such thing as an 'alternative fact," said Clinton. "The Russian de-information campaign during the 2016 election was successful in part because America's natural defenses had been worn down over years by powerful interests and voices that wanted it make it harder to distinguish between fact or fiction... It is insidious and it is submersive to democracy."
"Fourth and final lesson... the forces at work in the 2016 election are still with us," said Clinton. She cited "deep currents of resentment" flowing through American culture; a political press focused on her emails; And Russian interference in the election and said it has not dropped off since the 2016 campaign.
"It's a clear and present danger to western democracy and its right out of Vladimir Putin's playbook."
Clinton also referenced how Russian linked social media articles targeted voters in Michigan and Wisconsin.
"Russians posed as Americans. They pretended to be LGBT activists, gun rights activists. They even held phony demonstrations. The propaganda was aimed directly at undecided voters, so-called soft Clinton voters who might be persuaded to vote for a third party candidate or not vote at all."
And she called out President Trump to act.
"Even Attorney General Sessions himself says the administration is doing virtually nothing to prevent future attacks. If you are an American, this should alarm you. It is shameful."
"The President swore an oath to faithfully execute the law and defend our Constitution and he should start doing his job."
"Watergate was a physical burglary," said Clinton about leaking of Democratic emails by Wikileaks. "This has been a cyber attack... to call it hacking really understates it. It's called theft."
Clinton wants full disclosure of funding sources for anything political in a social media accounts.
Clinton was asked how women develop thick skin if they want to run for office.
"You have to be really prepared," said Clinton. "Take criticism seriously but not personally."
Clinton also there are some things that could add more women into leadership.
"We have to start earlier, little girls, building their confidence," said Clinton. "By the age of six girls thinks boys are smarter than them."