'Instrument of Bold, Practical Solutions'


Gibson: Let me get to some of those. I'm constrained by time because you wanted to do this in interview in unedited fashion, and so I'd like to lay down some benchmarks on issues that I hope we'll talk about more in the coming year, and I've tried to frame them as much as I can as yes or no questions.

Would you take a pledge to sign a bill that would not raise taxes? Clinton: I'm not going to take any pledges on any issues because I want to be in a position to bring people together and figure out the best ideas to solve our problems and not get locked into this partisan ideological debate that's been so sterile so many years.

Gibson: Can we finance this war without raising taxes?

Clinton: Well, we've never had a president that took us to war and refused to pay for it. Hopefully, we're going to get this war and its costs, which are growing exponentially, into the budget, which he also wouldn't do and we're going have to make some tough decisions but we also don't want to be straitjacketed because if we miss the opportunities for energy independence and expanding health care and taking the burden off the competition that we face globally, we will not be in a position to be as rich and strong and powerful in the future as we should be.

Gibson: Was your vote to authorize war in Iraq a mistake?

Clinton: I've said many times that I would never have expected any president, if we knew then what we know now, to come and ask for a vote, there would not have been a vote, and I certainly would not have voted for it.

Gibson: Is Barack Obama qualified to be president?

Clinton: Well, he's a terrific guy and we're going to have a great group of talented competitors in this contest and I'm looking forward for everybody putting out their qualifications and let the voters decide.

Gibson: That's something of a dodge. In your mind is he qualified to be president?

Clinton: You know Charlie, this is such an intensely personal decision that voters make.

We're all going to get out there, we're going to say what we believe in, put our experience out there before the voters and that is what is so great about our system, all of the people watching you tonight are going to make that decision -- about me and everybody.

Gibson: Senator, appreciate you being with us.

Clinton: Thank you.

Gibson: We look forward to talking with you again.

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