What Happened, Hillary Clinton’s highly-anticipated memoir about the 2016 presidential election, is finally here. In the book, the former Secretary of State provides her candid perspective on the events surrounding Nov. 8 — and on plenty more, too.
Below, here are the 12 most revealing lines from the book, from her post-election coping mechanisms (there may have been some chardonnay involved) to what it felt like to watch Kate McKinnon’s emotional performance of “Hallelujah” on Saturday Night Live.
On how she coped those first few weeks after the election
“It wasn’t all yoga and breathing: I also drank my fair share of chardonnay.”
On her relationship with Obama
“After his first rough presidential debate with Mitt Romney in 2012, I tried to cheer him up with a photoshopped image of Big Bird strapped to Mitt’s family’s car.
On the women’s movement
“It was and is the story of my life — mine and millions of other women’s. We share it. We wrote it together. We’re still writing it. And even though this sounds like bragging and bragging isn’t something women are supposed to do, I haven’t just been a participant in this revolution. I’ve helped lead it.”
On the email scandal
“It was like quicksand: the more you struggle, the deeper you sink.”
On James Comey reopening the email investigation after the feds seized Anthony Weiner’s laptop
“When we heard this, Huma looked stricken. Anthony had already caused so much heartache. And now this. ‘This man is going to be the death of me,’ she said, bursting into tears.
On watching Kate McKinnon open the first post-election SNL playing Clinton one last time, singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
“As she sang, it seemed like she was fighting back tears. Listening, so was I.”
On being a 29-year-old staffer on Jimmy Carter’s campaign in Indiana
“I had dinner one night with a group of older men who were in charge of the Democratic Party’s get-out-the-vote operations in the state…I started explaining once again what I needed to know from them and why. Suddenly one of the men reached across the table, grabbed me by my turtleneck, and yanked me toward him. He hissed in my face, ‘Just shut up.’”
On Bernie Sanders
“Throughout the primaries, every time I wanted to hit back against Bernie’s attacks, I was told to restrain myself…My team kept reminding me we didn’t want to alienate Bernie’s supporters. President Obama urged me to grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could. I felt like I was in a straitjacket.”
On her marriage
“We’ve certainly had dark days in our marriage. You know all about them—and please consider for a moment what it would be like for the whole world to know about the worst moments in your relationship. There were times that I was deeply unsure about whether our marriage could or should survive. But on those days, I asked myself the questions that mattered most to me: Do I still love him? And can I still be in this marriage without becoming unrecognizable to myself? The answers were always yes.”
On the importance of friendship
“If you’re unconvinced that friends are worth it, consider the data. (Here is where my friends would say, ‘Of course Hillary has data.’)”
On the NYT anti-Clinton coverage
“The Times has by no means been the only — or even the worst — offender, but its treatment has stung the most…I suppose this mini-rant guarantees that my book will receive a rip-her-to-shreds review in the Times, but history will agree that this coverage affected the outcome of the election. Besides, I had to get this off my chest!”
On James Comey
“Comey himself later said he was ‘mildly nauseous’ at the idea that he influenced the outcome of the election. Hearing that made me sick.”