Hillary Clinton Talks with Nightline's Cynthia McFadden

ByABC News
September 7, 2006, 4:43 AM

Sept. 7, 2006 — -- Spend the day with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and you learn a lot of things you didn't know about one of the most famous and controversial women in the country.

"I have a pretty good idea how difficult it is to be universally liked, and I don't expect that," she said.

"Nightline's" Cynthia McFadden had exclusive access to the junior senator from New York as she campaigned for re-election through several upstate communities, hoping to lock in an overwhelming victory in November and highlight her popularity with rural voters.

So what about the burning questions over her relationship with Bill?

"I just don't pay any attention to it. I really don't. My attitude is I have no control over what somebody wants to talk about or write about. My life is mine, and I'm not going to cede it to anybody. I'm not giving up any piece of it. I'm not letting anybody have control over it."

Is she running?

"I haven't made any decision about it," she said.

We didn't think she'd really spill the beans, but you had to ask.

So why does she need all that money, if she's not going for the top job?

"This is how I stay on top of my political situation."

In theory, however, would she want to run? Why would anyone want to run?

"That person would have to believe that you could provide service to the country and leadership at a time when it's desperately needed. So whoever would come next would have to believe in their heart that they could do that, and that's what the country needs more than anything right now."

What does she think about President Bush?



"I believe if you're a responsible decision maker, you can never close your mind to the facts on the ground or to people who might have a different point of view. But in this White House, it's a small circle of people. Frankly, it's an echo chamber. And it's time that they break that up."

If she's now openly criticizing the conduct of the war in Iraq, will she call for a pullout?

"I've taken a lot of heat from my friends who have said, 'Please, just throw in the towel and say, "Let's get out by a date certain."' I don't think that's responsible either. And it may be frustrating for some, but I don't think complicated situations in life or, frankly, in foreign policy and military affairs often lend themselves to answers that can be put into a sound byte."

After a day of golf, former President Clinton joined his wife at the day's final event, a barbecue on a family farm in Cazonvia, N.Y.

He said to McFadden, "I'm very careful. I know what I'm supposed to say and not say."

Still, the world's most enthusiastic campaigner has a hard time hiding his preference.

Urged by a supporter to "get your wife to run," the 43rd president couldn't help but reply, "I'll try."

Oh and one last thing -- what about that guy whose also not running, yet, for president?

What does Hillary think of Sen. John McCain.