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📺 Watch Gina Raimondo and Hillary Clinton chop it up

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, left, participated in a panel discussion with former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, right, on Alumni Weekend at Yale Law School in October, 2023. The panel was moderated by law school Dean Heather Gerken, center.Vimeo

Former Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo has been crisscrossing the world as President Biden’s commerce secretary, but she was back in New England last month for Alumni Weekend at Yale Law School to celebrate her 25th reunion.

While she was in New Haven, she sat for a panel discussion with another powerful woman in politics: former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who happened to be celebrating her 50th Yale Law reunion.

You can watch the video here:

It’s an interesting discussion because Raimondo and Clinton were in a comfortable setting where they weren’t forced to dive into current affairs. They swapped stories about their experiences at Yale, with Raimondo joking that “I had more time to socialize than most” because she knew she didn’t want to be lawyer when she was attending the school.

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Raimondo and Clinton also discussed the role of women in politics, with Raimondo sharing a story about what focus groups thought of her when she was governor. She acknowledged that despite an undefeated record in electoral politics, “I was never very popular as governor.”

Raimondo said that during one focus group, Rhode Island voters said they especially didn’t like her when they saw her in a business suit or dress, so she chose to where khakis and t-shirts in her campaign ads. She admitted that it was depressing to have to change her look to make voters feel more comfortable voting for her, but she drew applause when she said, “You can be depressed, or you can win.”

”Women in power scare people,” Raimondo said. “We’re scary because it’s different. It’s different. It’s an image that’s hard.”

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter that also contains links to other important Rhode Island stories, information about local events, and more. If you’d like to receive it via email Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.