Hillary Clinton Says She "Won't Endorse" Anytime Soon

Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Hulu
Hillary Clinton

The former secretary of state talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the 2020 election and her headline-making comments regarding Bernie Sanders at the New York premiere of her Hulu docuseries, 'Hillary.'

Even though a number of prominent Democrats, including former 2020 candidates, have endorsed Joe Biden in recent days, don't expect Hillary Clinton to endorse any of the remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination anytime soon.

"I won't endorse," the former secretary of state and 2016 presidential candidate told The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday at the New York premiere of her Hulu docuseries, Hillary. "I'm going to support the nominee, no matter who the nominee is, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that voters know what's at stake. We have got to defeat Donald Trump."

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (Clinton's 2016 Democratic opponent) are currently leading the Democratic presidential race, each amassing hundreds of delegates on Super Tuesday. Of the six women who announced they would seek the Democratic nomination, only one — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard — is still in the race, and through Super Tuesday her delegate count stands at one. (Before announcing she would be dropping out of the race on Thursday afternoon, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren had won only 65 delegates to Biden and Sanders' 500-plus each.) Clinton admitted that, four years after she became the first female presidential nominee for a major political party, it's unlikely another woman will follow in her footsteps this year.

"I know how hard it is, and I know how many double standard judgments still block women from really being seen as the incredible potential president that they could be," Clinton told THR. "I was thrilled that so many women ran this time, but it looks like we're not going to be successful this time, but I hope that doesn't discourage people. I still want to see a woman president in my lifetime."

Executive producer Ben Silverman, meanwhile, indicated that women are key to the 2020 race, even if the person at the top of the ticket won't be female.

"I think at this moment, all men and women in the Democratic party just want to beat Donald Trump, and however they coalesce around that, they will do it," Silverman said when asked about the doc hitting Hulu. "I will say it is so clear how powerful women are to this moment and this campaign, and we witnessed that last night on Super Tuesday with [Minnesota Sen.] Amy Klobuchar carrying a state that Joe Biden didn't even step in, so that power and energy is coming through. And I imagine what we could have is the first successful ticket to put a woman in the executive branch. And I am almost 100 percent confident that either one of our current presidential nominee leaders from the Democratic party will pick a woman to be their running mate."

Clinton made headlines six weeks ago when viewers first learned of her critical comments about Sanders in the docuseries. Of the senator, Clinton says, in part, when reflecting on their 2016 nomination fight, "Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done."

While that assessment was quickly picked up by media outlets as people, including Clinton, not personally liking Sanders, the full quote features her alluding to his Senate track record and support from his colleagues.

"He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him," she says. "He was a career politician. It's all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it."

Speaking to THR, Clinton reflected on the intent behind her criticism.

"I hadn't thought about it because I said it about a year and a half ago, when we were doing the film. But I stand by the comments because I think it is important when someone is putting out policies that you're expecting them to tell you how it would work, how it would get paid for, how it would get passed, what would the coalition be, and I think that's an important part of judging any candidate," she said.

In recent weeks, Clinton has indicated she would support Sanders if he's the nominee, and she spoke glowingly of her former colleague Biden in her Tonight Show appearance on Wednesday.

Clinton, Silverman and fellow executive producer Howard T. Owens greeted each other and reporters with elbow bumps amid concerns about shaking hands during the coronavirus outbreak.

As Owens, Hulu and Clinton's team considered filmmakers to turn nearly 2,000 hours of campaign footage into a documentary, they wanted the director to be a woman.

"Hillary's story is really a uniquely female story," Owens told THR when asked why they insisted on a female perspective. "She was the first at so many things and took so many shards and so many hits and blows and we felt that another female would experience that in a way that was so important."

The co-director of the Robert Evans documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture, Nanette Burstein, ultimately landed the gig, with Owens revealing that he had been courting her to direct a project and that she and Clinton had an "intellectual and a personal" connection.

Burstein added that she feels that her gender gave her an advantage in framing and understanding the issues at play in this documentary.

"I'm not sure that a male director would have come to the same conclusion of how to frame the story," Burstein told THR. "But to me it was so striking, how the history of the feminist movement and arc of her life coincided, and I can relate to that personally."

Hillary interweaves moments from Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign with her biography, exploring larger themes of gender roles and feminism and Clinton's evolving public persona.

As for how she decided where and when to make those jumps between timelines, Burstein said, "I tried to tell the story chronologically both in 2016 and in her past and in trying to break when a pod of the story was over. The real challenge was finding those connections from the past to the present — it's always a challenge in the edit room when you interweave two different timelines. On the upside, there was a lot of the way the past commented on the present and made it more informative and more interesting that way."

Each hourlong episode of the four-part series opens with The Interrupters' "Take Back the Power," which Burstein says she selected because she "wanted the beginning to be a bit punk rock."

"[Clinton's] always accused of being a centrist, but in fact she was considered a radical bra-burning liberal and I do think that that song and that attitude — she didn't live through punk rock; she never had a mohawk — sort of embodied the spirit of who she is," she said.

March 5, 1:30 p.m. Updated following the news that Elizabeth Warren had dropped out of the race.
March 8, 4:25 p.m. Updated with more from Owens and Burstein at Wednesday's premiere.