George Stephanopoulos' Exclusive Interview with Sen. Hillary Clinton

STEPHANOPOULOS: On the issue of experience, Barack Obama's taken to quoting Bill Clinton, 1992.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is Barack Obama as qualified for the White House now as Bill Clinton was then?

CLINTON: Well, you know, by the time Bill ran, he was the senior most serving governor in America, and he'd had tough elections every two years, and then two more after that.

But I'm running on my own qualifications and experience.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So the answer is no?

CLINTON: Well, I am going to let voters make that decision, because ultimately, voters are trying to weigh each and every one of us.

What people know about me is that I've been vetted and I've been tested. I've been on the receiving end of a lot of Republican incoming fire for 16 years, and I have, much to their dismay, survived and thrived. I don't think that...

STEPHANOPOULOS: And he hasn't yet.

CLINTON: I think I'm talking about what I've been through, and I don't think there's much doubt that I'm ready to go the distance.

CLINTON: You know, I have all of this support from officeholders in so-called red states. Now, they might like me personally, but they're not on suicide missions. They have assessed the field, and they have concluded, as Governor Strickland has said, I am the person who can win Ohio. I am the person best ready to run a winning campaign and to be the best president for America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You want to be judged on your own terms, and of course you will be in the end, but President Clinton does play a big role in this campaign and a big part of your appeal here, right?

CLINTON: Right. Right.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, has he had a hard time, in your view, adjusting to the role of surrogate?

CLINTON: Not really. I think he's been actually more excited about it than he thought he would have been. I think that you know he loves being out with people.

He loves making a case. And he's been a tremendous asset in this campaign.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And a lot of people wonder what kind of role he will play in the White House. You've spoken about his role as a roving ambassador.

Take us inside the White House. Something happens like the assassination of Benazir Bhutto the other day. President Bush had a teleconference with his national security team. Would President Clinton be on that call in your White House?

Probably not. I think he would play the role that spouses have always played for presidents, which is a very important role. And I know that firsthand. But I also know from his...

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, no National Security Council meetings.

CLINTON: No. That wouldn't be appropriate. He will not have a formal official role. But just as presidents rely on wives, husbands, fathers, friends of long years, he will be my close confidant and adviser, as I was with him.

I doubt that there will be an important issue that I won't talk to him about. I don't think there was an important issue that he didn't talk to me about. I don't talk about everything we talked about, because obviously I don't think that's appropriate.

But I expect to rely on him in a personal way, and I expect to ask him to take on some very important assignments.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You had an office in the West Wing. Will he?

CLINTON: If he wants one. I don't know he'll want one. (LAUGHTER)

STEPHANOPOULOS: (inaudible) No, I asked him about that a few months ago. He said he'll go wherever you want him to go.

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