2008 Clinton: “I wasn’t at my best the other night”
posted by November 6 at 14:25 PMon
CNN just emailed out a rush transcript of a new interview with Hillary Clinton and CNN’s Candy Crowley. It’s really worth a read.
Clinton answers questions about her debate performance, presidential documents, drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, charges of sexism, and the possibility of Joe Biden as vice president.
Here’s the sexism excerpt:
On charges of sexism against Clinton
CROWLEY: You said after the debate, I donít think that all of those men came after me because Iím a woman, but because Iím the frontrunner. Yet you have Ė there are two people out there who support you, Geraldine Ferraro, Eleanor Smeal, who said, it looked like the Anita Hill hearings. This is sexism. So this is a mixed message. Itís the sort of thing that people look at and say, you know, the Clinton campaign wants to have it both ways.
CLINTON: Well, I can only speak for myself. I am deeply grateful for the strong support that I have across the country and a lot of people watching it reach their own conclusions and are certainly free to speak out but I know that in a campaign where people are trying to score political points and I am ahead Iím going to be attacked. Thatís what happens in campaigns. I donít have any problem with that.
If they want to use their energy attacking me, thatís their choice. I am going to use my energy focusing on a new energy policy and so much else. Iím not running anybody elseís campaign and I love what Harry Truman said if you canít stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. And Iím really comfortable in the kitchen.So Iím staying in.
CROWLEY: Senator, I have worked with your campaign as some of your folks can attest to. Itís a really tight ship. If you wanted Eleanor Smeal or Geraldine Ferraro to not suggest that this is about your being a woman, you could do that.
CLINTON: Well, Candy, I didnít speak to either one of them. So I donít have any idea. I donít believe my campaign did. If they did, I donít know about that.
Other excerpts in the jump…
On presidential documents
CLINTON: Well, we have pushed the Archives. In fact, he has been much more aggressive in trying to get the Archives to get his information out more quickly than any other president.
And you know, we keep being told that, you know, the Archives has a process. They have to follow the law. They have to read everything. They have to record everything. And they are doing it as quickly as they can. And I have no reason to doubt that.
CROWLEY: So nothing you all can do to speed it up?
CLINTON: We have tried and, as I said, he has done more than any other president and has never withheld any document that has been processed to be ready to be released.
On her debate performance
CROWLEY: Let me talk to you about politics. Post-debate you have gotten pretty hard hit. And if you boiled down the criticism on the various subjects, it is this. She lacks candor, when the questions get tough, she dodges. What is your reaction to that?
CLINTON: Well, I understand the necessity for criticism. We are getting toward the end of a very long presidential primary process. And I wasn't at my best the other night. We have had a bunch of debates, and you know, I wouldn't rank that up in my very top list.
But I have answered probably -- oh, I don't know, more than 5,000 questions in the last 10 months. And I have been very clear about where I stand and what I want to do for the country.
I have laid out very specific plans on how we are going to have a different energy agenda, how we are going to have a health care plan that covers everybody, how we are going to improve our education system and all of the other issues that people talk to me about, as well as what we need to do to restore America's leadership around the world. And I have even put out how I'm going to pay for each and every one of the policies that would cost money.
On driverís licenses for illegal immigrants and whether sheís been evasive
CROWLEY: If I wrote a story that said: "Absent a broad illegal immigration bill, Hillary Clinton agrees about giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants," is that correct?
CLINTON: No. What I have said is that I support what governors are trying to do. And governors are on the front lines because of the failures to get comprehensive immigration reform.
There are already eight states that issues driver's licenses without any verification of citizenship. That is a decision that the governors and legislatures and the people of those states have made. I understandÖ
CROWLEY: But you see why people thinkÖ
CLINTON: Well, but you know, CandyÖ
CROWLEY: Ö that you are not answering the question.
CLINTON: Well, but you know, Candy, well, but I think that if you go back and look at the complexity of this issue, I donít think a lot of these hard questions lend themselves to raising your hand. And I know that thatís easier in a 30 second context to try to do.
I think the fact that governors are being forced into this position is really unfortunate. They should not be making immigration policy. The federal government should be making immigration policy and thatís what Iím going to try to do as president again and I do not believe that in the context of federal immigration reform that that would be an issue that governors would have to contend with.
CROWLEY: So itís Ė I know itís not a yes or no question to you but youíve had some time here and the problem is that people canít quite get a hold of is for a governor at this time, do you think itís a good idea for them to offer driversí licenses to illegal immigrants?
CLINTON: It depends upon what state theyíre in. It depends upon what they think the risks are. You know. A governor of New York that has a lot of immigrants, many of whom we know are not their legally, has to worry about security. A governor of another state where thatís not a problem doesnít.
This issue has been so politicized and I understand that because you can score points. You can score all kinds of political demagogic points but the fact is if we donít have comprehensive immigration reform, which for me includes toughening the borders, much harder sanctions on employers, doing more to help local communities that are stuck with the bill on all kinds of services. And bringing immigrants out of the shadows.
And if they ever committed a crime where they came from or here, immediately deport them. But for the others, have a tough path to earned legalization. Pay back taxes. Pay fines. Learn English. Wait in line.
And once you got somebody on the record registered, deported the criminals, instead they had to keep on the right side of the law, keep making a living and do all of these other things Iíve outlined, that would be the appropriate time to give them some kind of license.
But I understand Ė Iím not going to be second guessing governors who have to do the hard work of figuring out whatís best for their state.
On Joe Biden, Bill Clinton and vice presidents
CROWLEY: Did talk to Joe Biden yesterday and he said if he didnít win the nomination he thought you would and that he wouldnít be your vice president because essentially thatís Bill Clinton. Heís a very strong guy and thatís going to be his role.
CLINTON: Well, thatís going to be news to my husband as well as to me. I really like Joe Biden. I am very fond of him and very much an admirer of his. When I get the nomination I will begin to think about who the vice president should be but I intend to use former presidents including my husband.