Hillary Clinton speaks at University of Miami

– The one question on everyone's mind was the one she didn't answer.

Hillary Clinton spoke for 62 minutes Wednesday evening without giving a clear indication of whether she plans to run for president in 2016.

There were a few tantalizing tidbits, though, from the former secretary of state, former U.S. senator, former first lady, and unsuccessful candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.


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The final question of the night, read to Clinton by University of Miami President Donna Schalala, asked her to amplify on the "TBD" on her Twitter biography.

She laughed and the audience roared. "I'd really like to [answer]," she joked, explaining couldn't because she was out of space on her Twitter profile.

As to what she'll do next, Clinton said, "I will certainly ponder that."

Speaking to about 6,100 University of Miami students, faculty, staff and guests – starting and ending her time on stage by making the school's "U" sign with her hands – Clinton:

•Described Venezuela as a democracy more in theory than reality. "Other than elections, there "aren't many characteristics" of democracy, citing the need for a free press, protection of opponents' rights and an independent judiciary.

•Praised Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's veto of anti-gay legislation, which Clinton termed "discriminatory." Her comment drew one of the strongest rounds of applause of the night.

•Urged young people to get health insurance through Obamacare – she used the formal name Affordable Care Act – for the same reason they insure their cars, that it's impossible to predict if they'll have accidents or health crises.

•Argued against "living in an evidence-free zone where we just argue past each other all the time." For example, she cited the "false equivalencey" of balancing the overwhelming majority of scientists who say climate change is real and pairing them with deniers. "You sit there and think this is ridiculous."

Schalala, who was a member of President Bill Clinton's cabinet for eight years, told reporters that Clinton's appearance was "a highly discounted engagement," but she declined to disclose the fee.

Her possible 2016 candidacy drew a huge media presence, with dozens of journalists and 14 video cameras recording her. Clinton wasn't made available to answer reporters' questions.

Student Brandon Levokove, 18, of Long Beach, N.Y., said he'd "for sure 100 percent" vote for Clinton in 2016. Even though he wasn't alive when Bill Clinton was first elected president, Levokove said "it would be good to see them both back."

And Solange Sierra, 27, of Miami, said she hopes Clinton runs. "I believe she would change everything. She'd be a great leader."

A third Clinton in three months – daughter Chelsea – plans to visit South Florida. Details at SunSentinel.com/BrowardPolitics.

aman@tribune.com, 954-356-4550