"Coming here tonight wasn't the easiest thing for me," Hillary Clinton admitted at the Children's Defense Fund gala in Washington, DC, on Wednesday night. "There have been a few times this past week where all I wanted to do was curl up with a good book and our dogs and never leave the house again." In her first public appearance since conceding the election last week, Clinton urged supporters to "stay engaged on every level" and "never, ever give up," CNN reports. "We need you. America needs you, your energy, your ambition, your talent," she said. "That is how we get through this." She spoke of GOP-led work on children's issues and said: "Even if it may not seem like it right now, there is common ground to build upon."
Clinton spoke of the hardships faced by her mother and said she wished she could go back to her darkest days and tell her that her daughter would "be a United States Senator, represent our country as Secretary of State and win more than 62 million votes for president of the United States." Clinton, who first worked for the Children’s Defense Fund in 1973, was introduced by the organization's founder, Marian Wright Edelman, the Washington Post reports. Edelman praised Clinton for being the first female nominee of a major party—and the first to win a majority of the popular vote. "We're going to say she is the people's president," Edelman said.