- There’s no question that the “vast right-wing conspiracy” you described almost 20 years ago will be mobilized in force to undermine your presidency. There will be lawsuits, a blizzard of FOIA requests, constant congressional investigations, and who knows what else. From what you’ve seen, how does that opposition affect the work the administration does? Are there lessons from how your husband’s administration and Barack Obama’s administration dealt with it — not to mention your own experience with things like Benghazi and the email controversy — that you plan to apply?
- You’ve said it was a mistake to use a private email system while you were in the State Department, and you apologized for it. One of the issues that controversy raised is the question of the security of intra-government communication. If you become president, how do you think people who work for you should communicate electronically, and what would you like to change about the way federal government systems operate now? Are you going to be giving special instructions about what people should and shouldn’t use email for?
- You often point to the successes that your husband’s administration had, particularly on the economy. But there’s a case to be made that he was mostly lucky to be in office when the first tech bubble inflated. How much control do you think the president really has over the state of the economy? How do the limits of that influence affect the policy choices you’ll make?
- The Affordable Care Act has been a great success in many ways, but the exchanges are experiencing problems now, with some insurers departing because they say they aren’t making enough money. Can you name two or three of the most important changes you’d like to make to the law to shore it up? Do you think it’s possible to get Republicans, who have voted to repeal the ACA over 50 times, to ever pass a bill to improve it when they’re so determined to destroying it completely?
- We have constant arguments about the scope of presidential power; Democrats thought George W. Bush pushed the limits of that power, and Republicans think President Obama has done the same. Do you feel that the executive branch has too much, too little, or the right amount of power right now? Are there areas you’d like to pull back from the authority Obama has claimed? Areas where you’d like to go further?
- The terrorism problem has continually morphed in response to events and our own actions; we had success in degrading Al Qaeda, a relatively centralized organization, only to watch the rise of ISIS, which is happy to encourage people to launch attacks anywhere with little supervision. If ISIS is eradicated, there will probably be some successor. Is some degree of terrorism inevitable? How do we minimize the impact of the next terrorist movement?
- You have proposed some changes to the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, but they’re not exactly dramatic (a no-fly zone is one). Is this an example of a situation where the U.S. has no good options and it isn’t within our power to determine the outcome of a local conflict without doing something like invading, which causes more problems than it creates? When we face situations like that, should the president tell the public up front that there are some problems we can’t solve?
- The Obama years have taught us that “reaching out” to the opposition doesn’t work if they have their own incentives not to cooperate with the president. If they hold on to one or both houses, Republicans could conclude that the strategy of total opposition has worked pretty well for them, and they ought to just keep it up. You have a lot of liberal policy ideas that would require legislation. What will you do if they refuse to enact any of them, and you have to fight just to keep the government open?
- No one can deny that your relationship with the press has been less than comfortable, and pretty much every president thinks their coverage is less than fair. What do you think reporters ought to do when it comes to covering the president that they haven’t done in the past?
- You’ve seen two presidents up close. What’s the most difficult thing about that job, and how are you preparing to handle it?
August 29, 2016 at 12:41 PM EDT