After a lifetime in the background, Huma Abedin steps forward | Podcast | News

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When Huma Abedin joined Hillary Clinton’s team in the White House as an intern in 1996, she could not have imagined she would still be working for the same boss, as her most trusted and intimate aide, a quarter of a century later. But that is far from the most surprising aspect of Abedin’s story.

In this episode, she talks to Nosheen Iqbal about the extraordinary upbringing that took her from Kalamazoo in Michigan to Saudi Arabia, and what it meant to be the Muslim daughter of an Indian father and a Pakistani mother working in Washington. She reflects on the privileges and costs of working at the centre of political power at such a young age, always having to choose between family and friends, and the job that turned into a vocation. And she talks frankly about her marriage to Anthony Weiner, whose scandalous and ultimately criminal behaviour made her a household name against her will. “I never wanted to be the story, or be part of the story. I didn’t even want to be in the picture,” she says. “So to be elevated in this way … yes, shame is the word.”

Throughout all of the crises that arose from Weiner’s behaviour – up to and including a huge and arguably terminal blow to Clinton’s campaign for the presidency – Abedin either stayed silent or spoke in brief, carefully constructed statements, even as she found herself hounded by the paparazzi or splashed across the front pages. Now she has written a memoir – and, she says, she has found huge strength in telling her story in her own words. “I know I have been judged; I know I will continue to be judged,” she says. “But it feels amazing, I have to say.”

• Read an extract from the book “If Hillary Clinton loses this election, it will be because of you and me” here.

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• Huma Abedin’s memoir, Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds, is published by Simon & Schuster at £20. To support the Guardian and the Observer, order your copy at Delivery charges may apply.

Archive: NBC; CBS; Clinton Library; CNN; ABC; AP; VOA News; C-Span

Huma Abedin.

Photograph: Christopher Smith/Invision/AP

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