Hugs and kisses were exchanged on the set of ABC’s The View when Hillary Clinton bounded on stage to surprise Barbara Walters on Friday morning — her last day on the hit morning show after five decades in television news.
Walters and her three castmates leapt to their feet when Clinton came from backstage, shocking the studio audience in New York. With old pictures of Walters flashing on the walls, the Friday broadcast was the news icon’s big send-off.
“Oh, my friend, I wouldn’t miss it,” Clinton told Walters as the two embraced. “Mwah.”
The former secretary of state has appeared on Walters’s annual hour-long program, “10 Most Fascinating People,” a total of four times, more than any other public figure.
Clinton, who is about to go on a publicity tour to promote her new book, Hard Choices, appeared at ease with Walters and the other women on the show.
Co-host Sherri Shepherd started the interview, which lasted about five minutes. “What an honor to have you here, Hillary,” said Shepherd. “Because you’ve been on Barbara’s ‘Most Fascinating People’ list…”
Walters cut in. “I don’t call her by her first name.”
“Hillary’s fine,” Clinton laughed.
“You’re right, I feel like calling her Hillary, too,” Walters said later.
Clinton was asked what advice she had for Walters, who is transitioning into retirement. After Clinton stepped down as secretary of state last February, she jumped back into headlines when she started giving speeches around the country and launched new initiatives at the Clintons’ family foundation.
“I’ve been thinking about this,” Clinton said. “First of all, take some time off. I mean, really.”
Walters cut in again. “You’re in no position to tell me to take some time off.”
Clinton shrugged. “That’s what I’ve been doing!”
“Take a real vacation,” she went on. “Let down, and enjoy. For like, a week at least.”
Walters also tried for one last news-making interview. “As long as you’re here,” she said, “Let me ask you a question.”
“The question I want to ask is, are you gonna run, but…”
“Well, I am running…” Clinton paused. “Around the park.”
Clinton, who has said she’s thinking about another White House bid, also got a chance to promote her upcoming book, which is scheduled for release on June 10. The memoir, her second, will focus on her four years at the State Department, but will also be personal, “because you go through these experiences kind of carrying everything you are and everything you believe in,” she said.
Clinton noted that she got a chance to visit the new 9/11 Museum in New York on Thursday. The decision to go after Osama bin Laden, she said, is one of the “hard choices” she will discuss in the book.
“I could feel a sense of just such emotion and gratitude that we have this incredible testimony to the people, not only who died, but those who were so heroic in saving so many hundreds of people,” she said.
Clinton said she tried to frame the conflicts she dealt with as secretary through the lens of other people’s lives.
“Because everybody has to make hard choices,” she said.
The interview provided a glimpse at lines Clinton will likely use on her Hard Choices tour — and the friendlier audiences and interview settings she’ll seek.
“That’s not the usual language that you use when you’re talking about things like relations with Ukraine or Russia or China or whatever, but it all starts from home, just like who you are as a person,” Clinton said.
“I love that,” Walters said.