Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hillary Meets the Press: Supporting Sanders, Skewering Trump, and "Stronger Together"

Hillary Clinton appeared on Meet the Press today, and in a wide-ranging interview with Chuck Todd, she supported Sanders staying in the race, while also making clear that her eyes are on Trump and the general election.

Video can be found here.

Here are are highlights from the transcript.

On whether Senator Sanders is helping Trump by staying in the race:
Oh, I don't think so. I think that Senator Sanders has every right to finish off his campaign however he chooses. I do think there will then be the obvious need for us to unify the party. I faced the same challenge in 2008. I will certainly do my part, reaching out to Senator Sanders, reaching out to his supporters. And I expect him to do his. And he said about a week ago, he was going to spend seven days a week trying to defeat Donald Trump. And I believe that's the case.
On claiming the nomination:
Well, I think that having gone through 2008, as I did, it was much closer between then-Senator Obama and myself in 2008. I actually won nine of the last 12 contests in 2008, including Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, other states. And I wanted to make it clear that I know what this feels like, having lived through it. I have 3 million more votes. In the case of Senator Obama and myself, it was neck and neck in the popular vote.
I have far more pledged delegates. It was much closer between me and Senator Obama. And I am going to be the nominee. And I want to spend a lot of my time, as you've seen me do, really taking on Trump. Because I find what he says, the kind of candidacy he's presenting, to pose a danger to our country.
On Sanders asking the superdelegates to overrule voters:
Well, first of all, people have voted for me overwhelmingly in the Democratic primary process. And that is absolutely clear, and very different from where we were in 2008. I could make the case, which I did, that I was actually slightly ahead in the popular vote when we ended that primary. But I was behind in the pledged delegates. It's also fair to say that I have been vetted and tested, and I think that that puts me in a very strong position.
Let me say that I don't think he's had a single negative ad ever run against him. And that's fine. But we know what we're going into, and we understand what it's going to take to win in the fall. And finally, I would say that, you know, polls this far out mean nothing. They certainly mean nothing to me. And I think if people go back and look, they really mean nothing in terms of analyzing what's going to happen in the fall.
I just think that I'm in a much stronger position. Have been. And the voters who have turned out and given me 3 million more votes believe that as well.

On Sanders’ role at the Democratic convention, and whether she would support his proposal to eliminate superdelegates:
Well, certainly we're going to talk with him when he's ready to talk, and listen to him. And we will take into account what he is asking for. I think that's part of the process.
I'm not going to negotiate with him today on your show. I'm going to say when it's time, I am reaching out to do my part to try to unify the party. I expect him to do the same. I did that when I lost a much closer race to Senator Obama. Because I knew that whatever our differences were, just as whatever our differences are between me and Senator Sanders, they pale in comparison to Donald Trump and the Republicans. And I think most of Senator Sanders' supporters understand that as well.
On turning attention to Trump:
I think what's important is we're not going to let-- at least, my campaign is not going to let Donald Trump try to normalize himself in this period...
which I am doing, as you have seen. I've said he was unqualified to be president. I believe that deeply. I'm going to keep focused on Donald Trump. Because I will be the nominee. I will be running against Donald Trump in the fall.
And I do not want Americans, and you know, good thinking Republicans, as well as Democrats and independents to start to believe that this is a normal candidacy. It isn't. What he is advocating-- look what he's done this past week. You know, attacking our closest ally, England. Heaping praise on a dangerous dictator in North Korea. Reiterating his call to pull out of NATO, our strong military alliance. Talking about letting other countries have nuclear weapons. Advocating a return to torture, and even murdering the families of suspected terrorists. That is beyond the pale. And it poses immediate dangers.
I go around the country, Chuck, all the time. And in my events in the last few weeks, I've had Republicans coming to tell me they are supporting me. They have different reasons. For a lot of women, it's the divisive, demeaning comments that Donald Trump has made about women. For others, a businessman just told me yesterday in Texas, he said, "I'm a Republican. I've always voted Republican. I'm here, giving you money, supporting you, because I do business all over the world. And I'm watching what this Trump effect is doing to our standing in the world."
On Trump having no ideas and dangerous rhetoric:
Well, first of all, I have 2 million more votes than Donald Trump. And I think voters, as opposed to, you know, the kind of back and forth in the public arena, when voters show up to vote, they take that vote seriously. And yes, I know he has a plurality of Republicans who have voted for him.
But I think in the course of this campaign, we are going to demonstrate he has no ideas. There's no evidence he has any ideas about making America great, as he advertises. He seems to be particularly focused on making himself appear great. And as we go through this campaign, we're going to be demonstrating the hollowness of his rhetoric.
And the danger of a lot of what he has said. And I am very confident that the American people are going to want change. Every election is about the future. I've laid out very positive approaches. I'm not running for anybody's third term. I'm running for my first term. But I also want to do what works. My goal is to produce positive results for the American people. More good jobs. Rising incomes. The kinds of tangible progress that I think people are yearning for, and they need and deserve to see.
On the big idea of her candidacy — that we’re “Stronger Together”:
Look, we are stronger together. We are stronger together, in facing our internal challenges and our external ones. We are stronger together if we work to improve the economy. And that's going to mean trying to get the Republicans to do what will actually help produce more jobs, like we saw in the 1990s. We are stronger together when we have a bipartisan, even nonpartisan foreign policy that protects our country. And that provides a kind of steady, strong, smart leadership that the rest of the world expects from us.
And I know that, you know, slogans come and go, and all the rest of it. But when I look at where we are in our country together, we need to unify the country. We are stronger together, when we act on a set of plans and priorities that will redound to the benefit of the American people.
On being a polarizing figure and being liked more when in office than when running for it:
When I have these jobs, Chuck, I actually get things done. And I work with people across the aisle. Honestly, I worked with Republicans in the '90s to create the Children's Health Insurance Program. And I worked with Tom DeLay, the Hammer in the House, to reform adoption and foster care. I worked with practically every Republican.
And I worked as secretary of state to get things done. To reduce nuclear weapons, for example, between Russia and myself. So I have a track record. And I'm going to remind people of that. Because it's not just rhetoric, for me. When I was secretary of state, I had a very high approval rating, as you can go back and check. Because I was doing a job that people could see. When I get into the arena, and all of the negativity that's been thrown at me for 25 years is recycled and put out there, I know I've got work to do. But I'm very confident that it's going to be successful.
On Bill Clinton’s role as First Laddie:
What I said in Kentucky and West Virginia is that there are parts of our country that have been left out and left behind for too long. And I am going to ask my husband, who has a great track record in creating jobs, putting people to work, revitalizing communities, to be in an advisory role working with me, working with our cabinet, to try to figure out what we can do. You know, every first lady has taken on special projects. And I think my husband's understanding of how to get this economy moving in places that have been left behind will be incredibly valuable.
On the Nineties, and both Trump and Sanders running against the first Clinton administration:
Well, they're not running against 23 million new jobs. They're not running against incomes going up for every American, not just those at the top. They're not running against median family income going up 17 percent, and for African-Americans 33 percent, and living more people out of poverty. And ending up with a balanced budget and a surplus.
Now, I have said I want to renegotiate NAFTA. I voted against the only multinational trade deal that came before me when I was in the Senate. I have stated my opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, based on what it was negotiated to include.
So I'm more than happy to take on that argument. But I ask people, when you criticize the '90s, what do they criticize? The peace, or the prosperity? Because I think a lot of Americans, as I travel around the country, think of that as being a time when they thought they were getting ahead. Then we ran smack dab into the failed Republican economic policy.
On the Veepstakes:
Well, the most important thing is to pick someone who you have absolute confidence in can be president. That's more important than any characteristic. And then someone you can work with. Someone that you believe will be a good partner, not just to you, but to the rest of the government. Someone who can go around the country, as Joe Biden has done very well, and explaining and advocating for the policies of the Obama administration.
I am absolutely intending to look far and wide. And I think that is the best way to find somebody who can really capture what's needed in the country, and businesspeople have, especially successful businesspeople who are really successful as opposed to pretend successful, I think have a lot to offer.
Closing thoughts on “Pretend Successful” Donald Trump:
I think he needs to release his tax returns. The only two we have show that he hasn't paid a penny in taxes. And yet he goes around talking about "Make America great." You know? That means paying for our military. That means paying for our roads. That means paying for the V.A. That means a lot of things. And if you've got someone running for president who's afraid to release his tax returns, because it will expose the fact that he pays no federal income tax, I think that's a big problem.
We'll find out. Because we have to get below the hype. We have to find what the reality is.
I don't think the country knows it.
I think that we're beginning to find out. But I don't think we know enough.
And that's why he should release his tax returns.

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