Hillary Clinton has held many titles in her 68 years: First Lady, senator, secretary of state, women and children advocate, and now Democratic presidential hopeful – but it was the title of “Grandma” that truly changed her perspective on running for POTUS.
TV host Amanda de Cadenet tells PEOPLE that when she sat down with Clinton on her talk show The Conversation for an interview airing Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime, she had one objective: to get to know Clinton not as a politician, but as a woman.
Clinton was more than happy to oblige. “She’s maintained her humanness. I found her completely open, completely receptive, incredibly spontaneous … She was not guarded,” de Cadenet says.
Being a grandmother is a different experience than being a mother, Clinton explained. Instead of focusing on the “daily demands” of your child’s life, “You can take a longer perspective. You know, I feel like I’m very anchored in the moment with Charlotte when I’m with her because she’s unfolding. The curiosity is exploding and she’s learning something every second it seems.”
“There’s just nothing better,” Clinton said. “I’m experiencing sort of what my mother experienced with Chelsea, because you’re so focused on just enjoying and marveling and loving to the Nth degree but you also have this perspective like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to make sure that the world is okay and that, you know, things are right, and we have to save the planet.’ ”
With another grandbaby on the way, Clinton has even more reason to work for a better future.
“For me, running for president, it gives me that perspective that helps me really kind of cut through a lot of the stuff that’s not important to kind of keep my eye on what is,” she explained.
For one of the busiest women in America, that includes making time to keep the spark alive in her marriage with Bill Clinton. In her interview with de Cadenet, Clinton opened up about her date nights with the former president, saying that while the two politicians try not to “talk shop” during outings to the movies and dinner, they often find themselves discussing world events, such as a new invention or theory.
But these days, the grandparents like to spend most of their spare time with little Charlotte.
De Cadenet tells PEOPLE Clinton’s face “lit up” and she was “beaming” when she talked about being a grandmother. The TV host says that even though Clinton has led an “extraordinary life,” she’s surprisingly open, “grounded and really down to earth.”
Which is especially impressive when you consider all the “negativity that comes towards her,” de Cadenet says. “We did talk about that and I think she was very honest in acknowledging that that is something she’s aware of.”
“It is important [to Clinton] to process that and not pretend it doesn’t exist – to take criticism seriously, but not personally. There was a lot of wisdom in how she chooses to live her life and what’s important to her.”
“She also said that she doesn’t feel like being the president of the United States is about her. It’s not about her feelings, it’s not a personal thing. It’s about her representing the American people.”
The two women also talked about how “there’s a very narrow road you can walk with expressing your feelings and your emotion without tipping into being called an emotional woman, and being dismissed as being emotional,” de Cadenet says. “But men don’t have that. That’s a gender issue. That’s a gender prejudice.”
“I’m interested in women’s issues and I’m interested in women who are pioneers She is a pioneer. It’s a historic moment when you get to interview the only female presidential candidate in the history of the United States I’m just so pleased that she picked my show to do this. I’m so pleased that she picked The Conversation. She chose The Conversation for a reason, and I think that’s because we’re an advocate for women and we’re really just interested in finding out who people are in an honest way.”
Although de Cadenet was eager to get to know Clinton on a personal level, she says she thinks the questions the presidential candidate is facing on the campaign trail about the past sexual allegations against her husband are not fair game.
“I find it very insulting when I’m interviewing a woman that has such a wealth of experience and so many achievements to her own name to ask about their husband. I don’t like it when I’m interviewed and people say, ‘Your husband’s in The Strokes and what’s it like being on tour?’ It’s like, ‘Go talk to him about that. I’m here to talk about what I’m doing.’ I find it really offensive and actually insulting because it takes away from [Clinton’s] work and what she’s doing and what her achievements are, bringing up her husband.”
“What her husband has or hasn’t done, and any allegations around that, are between her and her husband. I have been the subject of personal issues being made public and I will never discuss or bring those things up in a public space unless someone specifically says to me, ‘I want to address this.’ ”
De Cadenet says interviewing Clinton was a “dream” for her. But she hopes she’ll get another chance at it in the near future. “I would love to go on the campaign trail with her and right before the primaries I’d like to interview her, and hopefully if she makes it to the White House, I would love to interview her there.”
The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet premieres Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime.