“I’ve used his name in the past, but I’m trying not to do it anymore,” Hillary Clinton said during a private chat with Sneed late Thursday night after a campaign rally in Vernon Hills.
“I’ve called him out.”
“I’ve called him out on his bigoted comments,” said Hillary, who now cherry-picks words like “disgusting, shocking, racist and vile” to describe her political foe in stump speeches.
“Why do I have to give him a name?
“Who else talks like that? And says the things he says,” she added. “His rhetoric is abominable. It matters what you say!
“I just decided to let the Republicans figure out how to deal with him. He’s their nightmare.”
In an exclusive backstage interview with the former first lady, whom I met when she was catching flak for her “Hillarycare” initiatives during her husband Bill Clinton’s term in office, Hillary had just finished chatting with a coterie of old Park Ridge school chum campaign followers – and was heading to a night flight to California to attend the funeral of former first lady Nancy Reagan.
First lady Michelle Obama and former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush were also invited to the funeral.
“In a way, she was Nancy Reagan’s student,” a Hillary source said.
“Yes, she was very gracious to me,” Hillary said.
“When I became first lady, Nancy was incredibly supportive, advising me to take time to find my way around this new world, new home. To take time to figure things out.”
“I had met Nancy Reagan before. It was when Bill [Clinton] was chairman of the U.S. Governors Conference, and we had been invited to the White House several times by the Reagans.”
“She told me to listen, to hear, to note what people bring to the table based on their own experience. How to give support. How to give advice. How to confront challenges.”
“She was a great partner to President Reagan.”
Which leads to the obvious question: How does Hillary view hubby Bill’s role as first husband?
“He would be an incredible partner!” an animated Hillary exclaimed.
“Look what he brings to the family table. Look at his work with the economy! Nobody did it better in recent years!”
“Certainly I would ask for advice. Of course. Everybody brings their own experience when confronting challenges.”
“She had great respect for Mrs. Reagan,” a close Hillary source said.
“They operated in different ways as their husbands’ advisers; but they also had very different husbands.”
Hillary’s last-minute campaign stop Thursday night in Vernon Hills was initiated by Dem opponent Bernie Sanders’ surprising Michigan primary win. She was not leaving the Illinois voter base to chance.
While cheering lines snaked around the Vernon Hills rally auditorium, Hillary introduced herself as “a child of Chicago,” born in Chicago and raised in Park Ridge by a “small-business owner who worked in fabric printing.”
She also noted Vernon Hills “was still out in the country” when she lived here.
Insisting on talking about her Chicago roots, Hillary opined: “I feel so emotional when I come back here. I decompress. I had such a great childhood here. Raised on a solid base, a great place to grow up. To be free and safely on our own. To get on a bike and go. Really go. To go to a ballfield.”
“I’ve written about Park Ridge and you ad nauseam,” I chuckled.
“But I was wondering if you’ve been back to your old childhood home” where she once drew all over the basement walls.
“Not for some time, but guess what? Bill was just there . . . a couple of days ago!” she said.
“Bill stood in the front of my house and took three pictures he sent me.”
“He titled his text: ‘A Visit to the Shrine.’ ”
As Hillary and her top staffers, Nick Merrill, Huma Abedin and Jennifer Palmieri exited the event, Sneed noted a forgotten question.
The only question ensuring the true fealty of a Park Ridge native who was once a New York senator.
Is she a Chicago Cubs or a New York Yankees fan?
Stay tuned and Go Cubs!
Sneedlings . . .
Sunday’s birthdays: Common, 44; Charo, 75, and William H. Macy, 66. . . . And a happy Monday birthday to WVON Radio’s Cliff Kelley, ageless and priceless.