Hillary Clinton has said she is “ready to come out of the woods” and help Americans find common ground.
Clinton’s gradual return to the public spotlight following her presidential election loss continued with a St. Patrick’s Day speech in her late father’s Pennsylvania home town of Scranton.
“I’m like a lot of my friends right now, I have a hard time watching the news,” Mrs Clinton told an Irish women’s group. But she urged a divided country to work together to solve problems, recalling how, as first lady, she met female leaders working to bring peace to the North.
“I do not believe that we can let political divides harden into personal divides. And we can’t just ignore, or turn a cold shoulder to someone because they disagree with us politically,” she said. The speech was one of several she is to deliver in the coming months, including a May 26 commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College in Massachusetts.
The Democrat also is working on a book of personal essays that will include some reflections on her loss to Donald Trump.
Mrs Clinton was spotted taking a walk in the woods around her home town of Chappaqua, New York, two days after losing the election to Mr Trump.
She quipped she had wanted to stay in the woods – “but you can only do so much of that”.
She told the Society of Irish Women that it will be up to citizens, not a deeply polarised Washington, to bridge the political divide.
“I am ready to come out of the woods and to help shine a light on what is already happening around kitchen tables, at dinners like this, to help draw strength that will enable everybody to keep going,” said Mrs Clinton.
She was received warmly in Scranton, where her grandfather worked in a lace mill.
Her father left Scranton for Chicago in search of work during the Great Depression, but returned often, and she spent summers at the family’s cottage on nearby Lake Winola.
She fondly recalled watching films stretched across a bedsheet in a neighbour’s yard, and told of how the cottage had a toilet but no shower or tub. “Don’t tell anybody this, but we’d go down to the lake,” she said.