AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to a large crowd at the University at Buffalo Wednesday night, as part of the university’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
Clinton spoke to a sold-out crowd in Alumni Arena, and began her address by talking about the stagnation in Washington and its recent impact on the U.S. economy after a partial government shutdown.
“Recently in Washington, we’ve seen what happens when politicians operate on scorched earth, not on common ground,” Clinton said.
It was shortly thereafter a man stood up and started shouting, “Benghazi, Benghazi, you let them die.”
Clinton did not stop speaking, but addressed the heckler by saying that solutions to problems facing Americans start by sitting down and talking and listening, not yelling, which prompted the audience to give her a standing ovation.
After the audience stopped clapping and the heckler was escorted out, Clinton continued addressing the recent crisis in Congress, saying, “In a democracy, compromise is part of the deal. It detracts from what we are trying to accomplish when we lurch from crisis to crisis.”
Clinton says there is a need for cooperation and compromise in government, and that politicians need to drop the partisan battles to bring stability to America.
She told the audience she believes that America’s “problem solving” needs to begin with creating jobs, especially for young people, and by investing in education.
“I believe that together, we can meet any challenge our country faces,” Clinton said.
After wrapping up her speech, which lasted around 40 minutes, Clinton took questions from the audience.
On being Secretary of State, Clinton said she initially didn’t think President Barack Obama would offer her the position, and she said no the first time he asked. But she accepted in the end.
“Part of what we do as Americans is respect those who stand up for their values and ideals,” Clinton said. “You don’t just walk into someone’s office and say, ‘I’m from America and this is what I want you to do.’ You have to build relationships.”
Clinton was then asked what made her such a passionate advocate for girls’ education and women’s leadership development.
She responded by saying that as her awareness of women’s inequality around the world increased, it “ignited a passion.”
“[It] is fundamentally unfair that girls are denied the right to education and access to the labor market. It’s also counterproductive,” Clinton said.
When asked if she would run for president in 2016, Clinton sidestepped the question, saying instead the ideal president in 2016 would be someone who believes in America’s future.
“We need to get back to doing what we do best, rolling up our sleeves and getting back to work,” she said.