Hillary Clinton was supposed to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show a month ago. But two days before her planned trip out to Los Angeles, the Democratic candidate nearly passed out from pneumonia-induced dehydration during a 9/11 memorial and decided to take a few days off from the campaign trail.
As it turned out, Clinton is on much more solid ground electorally than she would have been had she sat down with DeGeneres then. On that day in mid-September, Clinton was hovering around the 60 percent range in FiveThirtyEight’s heavily-scrutinized polls-only forecast. Today, after two debates, one tape of Trump bragging about sexual assault and at least seven different allegations against the Republican, Clinton has increased her chances to 85 percent.
But as she told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview taped on Thursday, this election is not “over” yet.
"Obviously there is a lot that’s coming out, which is distressing on many levels,” Clinton said when DeGeneres suggested Trump’s campaign is “crumbling” under the weight of new sexual assault allegations. “But I don't want anybody to think this election's over, because it's been so unpredictable up until now that I’m not taking anything for granted.”
“Who knows what can happen?” Clinton asked. “So everybody who's watching and everybody’s who’s been watching this election, please turn out and vote."
Clinton also discussed her now-iconic “shimmy” from the first debate — “I didn’t even know I was doing it” — and the moment in the second debate when Trump was forced to say something nice about her. “On the one hand, Donald Trump said you don’t have the stamina to be president and then the one thing that he complimented you on is that you never give up and you’re a fighter,” DeGeneres remarked. “So which is it?”
“That was the only thing he said that I agreed with,” Clinton quipped. She also accused Trump of trying to “dominate” the space in the second debate. “Because of the revelation of the public video, and everything that came out on Access Hollywood, you know, he was really all wrought up, and you could just sense how much anger he had,” Clinton said. “And so, he was really trying to dominate and then literally stalk me around the stage.”
“I would just feel this presence behind me, and you know, I thought, ‘Whoa this is really weird,’” Clinton said, confirming what many commentators said about the Republican’s attempts to “invade” her personal space. In DeGeneres’ words, “It’s like debating a teenager.”
Later in the interview, DeGeneres asked Clinton to weigh in on Michelle Obama’s searing, emotional speech on Thursday in which she said the revelations about Trump’s attitude toward sexual assault have shaken her “to her core.”
“The speech that she gave put into words what so many people are feeling and not just women and girls – men and boys,” Clinton said. “Nobody wants to be associated with this kind of violent and hateful language. And it’s not just what Trump has said about women, as terrible as that has been, but what he said about immigrants and African-Americans and Latinos and people with disabilities and POWs and our military and Muslims and everybody. He has been so insulting and derogatory.”
Echoing the sunny outlook that DeGeneres puts forward on her daytime talk show everyday, Clinton added, “I’m proud of so many things about our country, but one is that clearly we lift each other up, we don’t put each other down. We show respect for each other. And that’s what I want to try to ask people to do in these closing days of this campaign.”
“Let’s show some kindness and respect toward each other,” she continued. “And let’s really repudiate the meanness, the divisiveness, the bigotry, the bullying we’ve seen from the other side.”
The candidate ended by expressing her hope that after the election America can “heal all of the divide that unfortunately is between us right now.” If Clinton wins, as she’s poised to do for the time being, that will much easier said than done.