PARK CITY, Utah — Hillary Clinton threw a hand-grenade at the 2020 Democratic presidential primary election Saturday with her new documentary, “Hillary.”
The one-sided, four-part Hulu series about her life premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and everything you’ve heard is true — Clinton comes off like Rambo when she talks about current Democratic candidate, and former rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
In behind-the-scenes footage from the night of the 2016 Iowa Caucus, we see Clinton seething over the shock success of her competitor, who she sees as little more than a Vermont snake oil salesman. On Feb. 1, Clinton and her team were enraged that Sanders had gotten to within a percent of her victory in the midwestern state, and sought to deprive the man of even a sentimental victory.
“I just don’t want him to get out there and say the revolution is working, [that] people ‘felt the Bern,’” she says, before quickly leaving the room to beat him to a speech. Clinton adds that she found his socialist proposals unrealistic and phony. “I had people in my campaign say, ‘Just say ‘‘Free college.’’ Millennials love it,’ ” she says. “And I said ‘no.’ ”
Whenever Sanders is onscreen, his underscoring is brooding and villainous, like Darth Vader just took off his helmet for a breather. In a hallway before a debate in New Hampshire, Sanders asks a tense Clinton how she feels about his suit. “Buttoned or unbuttoned?” he says. Irked, she tells him to undo the button as soon as he gets “worked up.”
Last week, it was revealed that Clinton said of her former rival in the doc: “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”
Suddenly magnanimous, Clinton pivoted on that passionate stance Saturday, when an apparent Sanders voter in the Sundance audience took her to task.
“It’s no surprise that you’re not a big fan of Bernie Sanders,” he said. “So what would you say to the Bernie Sanders fans?… Who should they vote for?”
“Once we have a nominee, close ranks,” Clinton responded to loud applause. There was a lot of clapping throughout, with Sundance being Utah’s largest annual liberal convention.
Clinton’s change of heart didn’t come off as particularly genuine, though, since less than a week ago when the Hollywood Reporter asked if she’d endorse Sanders in the general election, she said, “I’m not going to go there yet.”
Former U.S. Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at the Woman’s National Democratic Club in Washington, U.S., November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts – RC113EB26F20
During a screening that would exhaust even Martin Scorsese, there were just a handful of new revelations.
Bill Clinton was candid in his interview about his affair with then-intern Monica Lewinsky. When asked if he had worried about the risk that the tryst posed to his family and the nation, he said he hadn’t. “Nobody thinks they’re taking a risk,” he says. “That’s not why we do stupid things.”
He added, “Everybody’s lives have pressures” and that his affair was something he did to “manage my anxieties… I’m a different person now.”
The doc also throws President Obama under the campaign bus. In a scene that takes place in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine tells her Obama had recently called him up to trash Donald Trump.
Kaine claims the president told him, “Tim, remember, this is no time to be a purist. You’ve got to keep a fascist out of the White House.”
We also learn that after James Comey reopened the investigation into Clinton’s private emails, discovered on disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop, it led to Clinton aide and Weiner’s ex Huma Abedin breaking down on the campaign plane.
“He’s gonna kill me, he’s gonna kill me!,” Clinton recalls Abedin crying over the soul-crushing pain Weiner brought to her life.
For the most part, though, the overlong “Hillary” isn’t so much a documentary as a memoir. It’s mostly narrated by Clinton herself, with contributions from close friends, family members, campaign staffers and a couple journalists from the Washington Post and the New York Times. Several of the newspaper writers teared up when recalling Clinton’s loss.
And “Hillary” premiered just 10 days before the Iowa Caucus. Funny, that.