OBAMA: Well, look, I have no doubt that she is an intelligent, capable woman. There's no doubt that Bill Clinton had faith in her and consulted with her on issues, in the same way that I would consult with Michelle, if there were issues. On the other hand, I don't think Michelle would claim that she is the best qualified person to be a United States senator by virtue of me talking to her on occasion about the work that I've done.
And I think that Senator Clinton certainly has experience that she should tout, and I don't think anybody would suggest that somehow she's not qualified to be president of the United States, in terms of the work that she's done in the United States Senate. I think she's done some good work. But I think that, you know, there is a tendency to overestimate some of the experience that is out there. In fact, our most successful presidents have been people who were successful not because of their wealth of Washington experience, but because of the life lessons and schools of hard knocks that they had gone through. And that's true whether you're talking about Lincoln, or FDR, or any of our greatest presidents.
MORAN: And you're now calling her out on that?
OBAMA: Well, I just think it's important that if we're going to talk about who can be a most effective agent for change in this contest that the issue of that particular kind of experience I think is less relevant to the American people right now than who can break down the grip of lobbyists in Washington, who is actually going to be able to deliver on promises that have been made, who is going to break out of the partisan gridlock that has prevented us from dealing with issues like health care, energy, or education? nd not only do I think that I'm best equipped to do that, but I think increasingly a lot of Americans are concluding that, as well.
MORAN: So change, let's look backwards for a moment. What does the word "Clintonian" mean to you?
OBAMA: You know, well, I wasn't sure that -- I didn't know that that was a verb or an adjective.
MORAN: You've never heard that word, that it's a "Clintonian" tactic or a "Clintonian" style of politics?
OBAMA: Well, you know, it's something that probably bounces around on the cable shows, and I don't watch them enough to know. I haven't heard it used on "Nightline" that much. Be more precise.
MORAN: All right, I'm raising an issue, I guess, of character, and that is sort of what is surfacing here around the edges of what you're saying about Senator Clinton. Is she the person that can be believed in when she says she's the agent of change? Is what she represents really what the country needs? Are you raising questions about her credibility?
OBAMA: Well, I am suggesting that she is running what Washington would consider a textbook campaign, which is you avoid answering real, tough questions, in part because you don't want to make yourself a target to Republican attack in the general election, that you shift positions when necessary in order to garner votes. This isn't unusual. I mean, this is, I think, stock and trade political practice.