Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., added her name to the list of White House hopefuls Saturday, and her announcement immediately kicked the 2008 race for president into higher gear. During a live interview on "World News With Charles Gibson," she described her decision and explained why she believes she is qualified to run the country. The following is a transcript of her interview:
Charles Gibson: Sen. Clinton joins us from Washington. Good to have you with us.
Hillary Clinton: Thank you.
Gibson: I'd like to get your mission statement, if I could, in 20 or 30 seconds as to why you think you should be the person elected president.
Clinton: I think my experience and my understanding of the problems facing our country equip me to be the best person to take over in January 2009, when we will be facing a lot of problems at home and abroad and frankly inheriting many of the problems that have been made worse by this administration.
Gibson: A lot of people think you have been running for president for years. But you said you were undecided. We took you at your word. Can you tell me was there a moment that tipped the scales, and you said, "OK, this is it I'm going to run and this is why"?
Clinton: You know, after my election in New York, where I was really determined to do the best job I could as the senator from New York, I then started to think about what people had been talking to me about, literally, for years, and it was a hard decision. A lot of people had me already running, but that wasn't the way that I felt about it. And the more I thought about it, and looked at the challenges that we face as a country, I believe that I can build on all of the positive activities that we saw in the Clinton administration but go beyond that.
I want to be an instrument of bold but practical solutions, whether it's health care, making it universal, energy independence, finally dealing with climate change, restoring our leadership and respect for America around the world.
And I am very fortunate that I have had a wealth of experiences going back many years that I think equips me for this particular moment in our history.
Gibson: You are a strong, credible female candidate for president of the United States, and I mean no disrespect in this, but would you be in this position were it not for your husband?
Clinton: Well, I don't know. You can't go back and live your life in some other way than you've lived it. Bill and I started a conversation 35 years ago about our country. We both love this country, and I worry about her future.
I never thought I would be in the Senate. I certainly didn't think I would run for president. But, you know, life has a way of putting challenges in front of you and you decide to meet them or go another direction. And I care too much about what's happened in our nation. I care too much about my daughter, and every other child who should have a good future, but there's a cloud over it. And I think we need to get back to doing what Americans do best, rolling our sleeves up and solving problems instead of living with this sense that things are just not going right.
We're not being asked to make any real commitment or any sacrifice. We've had leadership the last six years that has not really risen to the occasion, and it's time to get back to what we do as Americans, and that's charting a good future.