In her new book, New York Times journalist Amy Chozick recounts the 10 years she spent covering Hillary Clinton‘s journey to the 2016 presidential election — and reveals a woman who can simultaneously “fascinate and inspire and infuriate.”
But one thing that isn’t complicated about the former first lady? Clinton apparently loves to flirt.
Chozick reveals this fun detail in Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling, which releases Tuesday and is a critical look at Clinton’s best and worst qualities — and the outside influences that barraged the campaign.
“For all the lesbian theories, Hillary enjoys nothing more than flirting with a handsome, preferably straight man,” Chozick writes. “She constantly talks about how she married a husband more attractive than she is, which isn’t really true, but it always told me a lot about Hillary that she thought it was.”
According to Chozick, “flirty Hillary” continued throughout the campaign. In one event in Hanover, New Hampshire, the author writes that Clinton remembered a blind date she went on with a photographer in college. Clinton dreamily described him as “artistic and he was kind of poetic.”
The flirting didn’t stop there.
“Even after the back-and-forth about her email server, Hillary loved to spar with Ed Henry,” writes Chozick. (In May 2016, reports revealed that Henry alleged cheated on his wife.) “She would regularly look past her almost entirely female press corps to call on the Fox New correspondent with his cherub cheeks and Emilio Pucci pocket squares.”
Unfortunately for Clinton, there was no end to her female-dominated traveling press corps.
“The thing about a mostly female press corps was that Hillary likes men, preferably the damaged, witty, brilliant kind,” writes Chozick. “She told aides she knew women reporters would be harder on her. We’d be jealous and catty and more spiteful than men. We’d be impervious to her flirting.”
Whether or not gender influenced Clinton’s interactions with reporters, Clinton has her own thoughts about the coverage she received during the campaign. In her post-election memoir What Happened, the former presidential candidate is critical of multiple players, including the media.
“Many in the political media … can’t bear to face their own role in helping elect Trump,” she writes, “from providing him free airtime to giving my emails three times more coverage than all the issues affecting people’s lives combined.”
She specifically points a finger at the Times, and calls the publication out for “shoddy reporting.”
“The Times was by no means been the only – or even the worst – offender,” she writes, “but its treatment has stung the most.”
Daughter Chelsea Clinton was on the defensive even before Chozick’s book hit stores. On Friday, she denied that she popped champagne on the night of the election.
“The 1st line (“Things were already looking bad when Chelsea Clinton popped the Champagne”) is false,” the former first daughter tweeted. “I would have been happy to tell you that if you’d asked, which you didn’t. Looking forward to the correction once you fact check. Thanks!”
Hi @amychozick! The 1st line (“Things were already looking bad when Chelsea Clinton popped the Champagne”) is false. I would have been happy to tell you that if you’d asked, which you didn’t. Looking forward to the correction once you fact check. Thanks! https://t.co/gqppfDEEW1— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) April 20, 2018
Despite Chelsea Clinton’s criticism, there’s no denying that Chozick’s memoir reveals a Hillary Clinton who, in the midst of a shocking and violent campaign, was very much human — and by no means impervious to the charms of a good-looking man.
“Whenever CNN’s Dan Merica, who when he grew out his strawberry-blond beard vaguely resembled a young Bill Clinton,” Chozick writes, “shouted an airy question at Hillary, she’d toss her head back and giggle and say, ‘Oh, Dan.'”
Chasing Hillary is on sale now.