Jane Pauley Spoke to Hillary R. Clinton ‘69 and Classmates During Their 45th Reunion

June 17, 2014
Jane Pauley and Hillary Clinton stJane Pauley and Hillary Clinton stroll on footbridge near Lake Waban as crew filmsroll on footbridge near Lake Waban as crew films

In an embarrassment of riches, Wellesley hosted two Secretaries of State over Reunion weekend, and the media continues to share their Wellesley stories.

Careful viewers may have spotted Wellesley’s iconic lamps and landscapes during the broadcast of CBS Sunday Morning on June 15. Journalist Jane Pauley was on campus to interview former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69 and some of her classmates at their 45th Reunion, in conjunction with the release of Hard Choices, Clinton’s book describing her stint in the State Department. During the interview, Pauley and Clinton discussed the Secretary’s time at Wellesley and afterwards, walked along Lake Waban, and broached the everyday question about presidential aspirations.

Clinton laughed at photographs of her younger self, featured in Life magazine back in 1969. Hillary Rodham first made national headlines when she became the first student commencement speaker in Wellesley’s history, giving a speech in which she critiqued the U.S. senator who gave the commencement address just before her, and made an impassioned plea for a better world on behalf of her generation.

As Pauley recounted in the interview, the night before her historic student commencement speech, an older woman told Clinton she wouldn't trade places with her for anything, given what the world was coming to: She was afraid. The young Clinton responded, "Fear is always with us, but we just don't have time for it, not now."

Pauley asked Clinton about crucial moments of her time in the State Department, and touched on her legacy as well as her friendship with one-time rival President Obama. “ When then-President-Elect Obama called me, he pushed me hard to accept his offer to be Secretary of State,” said Clinton, reflecting. “And finally I said, 'Yes.' And he said, 'Contrary to reports, I think we can become good friends.'" Together, the pair worked to promote American foreign relations on a number of issues, from diplomatic negotiations to, perhaps most visibly, the killing of Osama bin Laden.

When asked about her upcoming decision to make a presidential run in 2016 or not, Clinton said, "Look, the most important questions for anybody thinking of running for president are not, 'Will you run and can you win?' There is, 'What is your vision for America? And can you lead us there?'" Clinton said. "And if you don't have a clear-eyed sense of what it's going to take to restore our strength and our fairness, our justice, and what we're going to do in this increasingly complex, interconnected world, you shouldn't run. It's not a contest for, you know, who looks good and who can have the quick answer, and all the rest, who can get the most outside money. We don't have time for that right now."

Extra Footage

Spenta Captain Kandawalla ’69 talks about longstanding friendships with Jane Pauley.

Eleanor Acheson ’69 talks to Jane Pauley about her grandfather, former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, meeting Hillary Rodham at graduation.