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Clinton makes first appearance since stunning loss: 'Coming here tonight wasn't the easiest

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a little more than a week removed from her stunning loss to Republican rival Donald Trump, said in her first appearance since Election Day that giving a public speech "wasn't the easiest thing" to do.

Clinton was in Washington, D.C., Wednesday night to speak at the Children's Defense Fund's "Beat the Odds" gala. During the appearance, the former secretary of state opened up about her myriad feelings following the results of the election.

"I will admit, coming here tonight wasn't the easiest thing for me," she said. "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."

Clinton used much of her speech as a clarion call to liberals, who are at the moment scrambling to find their footing in the imminent Trump administration, reminding them that, though they were defeated, it's important to stay active in the political process.

"We have work to do, and, for the sake of our children and our families and our country, I ask you to stay engaged, stay engaged on every level," the Democrat said. "We need you. America needs you, your energy, your ambition, your talent. That is how we get through this."

Clinton's speech at the organization's event was somewhat poetic, given she began her career at the Children's Defense Fund and now has ended her long but ultimately unsuccessful journey to the White House at the group's gala.

Her appearance Wednesday night was already on the books, an aide told CNN, adding there "is no more fitting place for her first formal remarks following last week."

Clinton also opened up about the impact her mother, Dorothy Rodham, had on her life. Rodham, along with her younger sister, was put on a train to California to live with their grandparents, who were abusive. Soon thereafter, Clinton's mother returned to Chicago, Illinois, to create her own life.

During her Wednesday address, Clinton said she wished she could travel back in time to talk to her mother on that train ride to the West Coast.

"I dream of going up to her, and sitting next to her and taking her in my arms and saying, 'Look, look at me and listen. You will survive. You will have a family of your own: three children. And as hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will grow up to 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 said.

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