(NEW YORK) — Hillary Clinton weighed in on the crisis in Israel and Gaza for the first time Tuesday in an appearance on The Daily Show, a serious moment in an interview that had plenty of laughter as she bantered with the host about her potential presidential bid.
Host Jon Stewart asked the former Secretary of State about the current situation, noting her involvement in the previous 2012 crisis, and asked Clinton, “Can we at least agree the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is overwhelming and the world must do more for the people who are trapped by this conflict?”
“Yes,” she said. “They are trapped by their leadership, unfortunately,” Mrs. Clinton commented. “It’s a two-prong trapping. They have leadership that is committed to resistance and violence and therefore their actions are mostly about, ‘How do we get new and better missiles to launch them at Israel?’ Instead of saying, ‘Hey, let’s try to figure out how we are going to help make your lives better,’” Clinton told Stewart, referring to Hamas.
In a lengthy back-and-forth with Stewart she said Israel is “absolutely right” that it has to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks, but expressed sympathy for the people of Gaza who she said are “trapped.”
“They are trapped first and foremost by leadership that doesn’t really want to make the situation too much better because that gives them a lot of leverage over the poor people in Gaza,” she said, noting the current crisis is a “terrible dilemma.”
“Unless we can give people enough of a sense of security on both sides that they will be better off and their children are going to be better off, then the guys with the guns can always disrupt anything,” Clinton said.
“There are extremists on all sides and people with guns on all sides so leadership has to be very tough minded and very strong to make the hard choices,” Clinton said, plugging the name of her memoir, a reference that Stewart immediately jumped on: “What? You did not do that? Wow.”
The audience, as well as Clinton, burst into laughter.
Stewart opened up the show, before the interview, telling his audience Clinton would “publicly and “definitively” declare her candidacy, which drew huge applause from the crowd.
Almost immediately the 2016 talk started, even as Clinton began to discuss her memoir, the sales of which have reportedly been poor.
“I think I speak for everybody when I say nobody cares, they just want to know if you are running for president,” Stewart deadpanned.
Clinton, wearing a black pant suit with gray polka dots, played along, telling Stewart she “was going to make an announcement,” but his opener “spoiled it for me,” adding “I think I’ll just reconsider where I go do it.”
Stewart said he “sensed confusion” from Clinton and told her he would give her a “career aptitude test,” telling her it will help “hone in” on whether she even wants to be president.
The first question was whether Clinton likes “commuting to work” or if she prefers a “home office.”
“I spent so many years commuting, I kind of prefer a home office,” she quipped.
Stewart then asked if she has a “favorite shape” for that home office, asking if she would prefer it to have “corners or not to have corners?”
She answered since “the world is so complicated” she would prefer “fewer corners,” to loud applause from the audience.
Stewart ended the bit by saying it sounded to him like she “declared for president.”
The appearance was the third for Clinton on the show and Stewart noted the massive amount of press attention she gets, asking if she thinks it will stop if she decides against running. She answered, “I think a lot of people would lose their jobs if it stopped.”
“I’ve been amazed at what a cottage industry it has become,” Clinton answered, referring to not only press attention, but also books that have been written about her, including Ed Klein’s Blood Feud, which has tantalized readers with insider stories about a reported feud between the Clintons and the Obamas.
The Daily Show interview will aired Tuesday night.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Eric Bradner, CNN