Nora Ephron and Alex Witchel Feel Bad About Hillary Clinton


Photo: Getty Images

Last night, while voters expressed their doubts about Hillary Clinton in the Potomac primaries, director Nora Ephron did the same on the Upper East Side. Ephron, en route to Paris for her new film, Julie and Julia, made a stop at the 92nd Street Y to discuss The Spare Wife, a new book from Times reporter (and Ephron pal) Alex Witchel. Their dialogue mostly focused on the perils of growing up middle class in Scarsdale and the benefits of wearing all black, but once the Q&A began, talk turned — as it inevitably does these days — to Hillary Clinton. “If she’s nominated, I will be wildly excited at the prospect of a woman nominee,” said Ephron. “But I’ve lost my beating heart for her.” Ephron recalled meeting the Clintons at a New York party in the early eighties. “He spoke, and blew the room away. Afterward, she came up to me and introduced herself,” Ephron said, noting that both she and Clinton are Wellesley grads. “We started talking, and I thought, This woman is a pistol – she’s great; she’s fantastic.” But now, Ephron said, “I do believe she’s a different person.… She was permanently changed by her early years in the White House, and it disappoints me that she’s so careful.” When asked whether or not Clinton’s measured persona might be in reaction to the overzealous scrutiny both she and her husband face in the press, the former journalist responded, “It’s not easy to be one of those people, but I did not ask them to do it.” Witchel was more empathetic. “To be Hillary Clinton must be one of the hardest things in the world,” she said. — Kate Dailey