Transcript: Hillary Clinton's Interview With ABC News Anchor David Muir
ABC's David Muir spoke with Hillary Clinton the night of the California primary.
The following is a transcript of the interview:
DAVID MUIR: Madam Secretary, thank you.
HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you, David.
MUIR: I’ll get you through this so you can make some history tonight.
CLINTON: Thank you.
MUIR: You’re about to walk out onto that stage as the first female presumptive nominee for a major party for president. And I’m curious, personally, what this moment means to you.
CLINTON: Well, I think it’s gonna take some real time to absorb and reflect on what it means to me personally, what it means to our country, but just as I look at this night and feel the joy and the sense of both possibility and responsibility, it means a great deal to have the faith and trust of so many people who share the view and vision I have for our country and I’m going to do everything I can not to let them down.
MUIR: This country has watched you as first lady, then elected to the senate, then a bruising campaign for president eight years ago.
MUIR: And then joining this president as secretary of state. Eight years ago to the day, you conceded.
CLINTON: That’s right.
MUIR: But now you’re back.
MUIR: As the nominee.
MUIR: What is that moment for you?
CLINTON: Well, I didn’t really believe back in 2008 that I would ever try this again, I was very happy being in the Senate, I had given that ‘08 campaign all that I had, and so, when I conceded and went to work immediately for then-Senator Obama, that’s where I saw my future in the Senate. And I would not have imagined being asked to be Secretary of State, it was a great honor to serve with President Obama in his cabinet. But then the more that I traveled the world, the more that I really regretted the dysfunction and the gridlock and the failure of our own country to live up to our potential and solve our problems in the kind of way that Americans do better than anybody else. I began thinking about running again.
MUIR: You have talked so often about the unfinished business, not only in this country but around the world when it comes to women’s rights. Is having the first female American President part of that unfinished business?
CLINTON: It is David, it is of course symbolic but the symbols mean something and symbols often can spark hope and action in people particularly young people and I think it will be a real milestone with my nomination for our country, but it will also send a signal around the world. I care deeply about women’s rights. I have been an outspoken advocate for them for many years and as secretary of state I carried that message around the world because empowering women, providing for women’s rights, their full participation in society, politics, the economy is not only a matter of individuals being able to chart their own futures. It’s good for democracy and it’s good for peace and prosperity.
MUIR: You conceded to then-Senator Barack Obama eight years ago tonight.
MUIR: In that speech about 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, you said the light shining through, filling us with the knowledge that the knowledge that the path will be a little easier next time.
MUIR: Was it easier?
CLINTON: It was. In --
MUIR: It was?
CLINTON: It was. Of course, every political contest is hard, that’s part of the DNA in America. We make it really tough to run for and hold the highest and hardest job in our country. But I was somewhat reassured and delighted to see that a lot of the challenges that we confronted back in ‘08 seemed to have diminished -- I’m not gonna say disappeared -- but diminished. There was a greater acceptance by people that a woman could be president, could be commander in chief.
And I didn’t really feel like I had to make that case. But instead, I had to present my qualifications, my experience, you know, what I wanna do with my agenda for our country.
MUIR: We remember eight years ago that meeting with presumptive nominee Barack Obama. He had just beaten you. I believe you were at Senator Diane Feinstein’s house.
CLINTON: That’s right.
MUIR: Do you think it’s time for a meeting with Senator Sanders?
CLINTON: Well I’m certainly reaching out. Our campaigns are talking to one another. I wanna unify the party and I look forward to talking with him personally, because I think his campaign has been a really dynamic and exciting experience for the millions of Americans, particularly young people, who supported him. And I want them to know that I’m going to be working on a lot of the same issues that Senator Sanders and I spoke about, that we both care about, and that we have so much more in common than we do with the Republican presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.
MUIR: Give me an example. Can you give me one thing that he has said on the campaign trail that resonates with you particularly?
CLINTON: I think his absolute commitment to universal health care coverage is something that I have believed in and fought for for 25 years, we have slightly different approaches toward how we’re going to get there but we made it a major part of this campaign and I’m very happy that we did. I think the stress on income inequality is something that every American should take seriously, we have got to figure out how we’re going to provide more economic opportunity -- good jobs with rising incomes -- and I’m excited to work with Senator Sanders in doing that.
MUIR: But back to that meeting with then-Senator Barack Obama, as it was described to me, there were two chairs.
CLINTON: That's right.
MUIR: Two glasses of water, you were alone in the room.
CLINTON: Actually, two glasses of wine too.
MUIR: Oh, yeah. That helps.
CLINTON: Diane had to pour us both some, you know, California wine.
MUIR: Have you heard from him yet?
CLINTON: We've continually talked throughout this process and I-
MUIR: But since the math added up for you, have you heard from the President?
CLINTON: We were supposed to talk tonight but we haven’t yet connected. We’ll probably will do it later tonight.
MUIR: Has he signaled to you that he’s ready to fight the fight for you?
CLINTON: Well I think he has signaled that he’s ready to fight the fight against Donald Trump and he's ready to fight the fight for the progress that we have made under his presidency and since I happen to agree that we have to maintain that progress, I think we’re gonna be fighting side by side.
MUIR: You bring up Donald Trump, he said just moments ago on national television that on the Democratic side of the system was rigged and he invited Bernie Sanders supporters to join him. Does that concern you?
CLINTON: No. (laughs) it really doesn’t concern me. This is just more of his rhetoric to try to muddy the waters about what he stands for. Anyone who supported Bernie Sanders who thinks we should raise the minimum wage, who thinks that we should have universal health care coverage, who thinks that the wealthy have not paid their fair share, and I could go on and on, would certainly not find that Donald Trump’s views are in line with theirs.
MUIR: Just today House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked about Donald Trump in his comments on the judge born in Indiana of Mexican heritage and Speaker Ryan said 'Claiming a person can’t do their job because of race is the textbook definition of a racist comment.' Do you think that Donald Trump is a racist?
CLINTON: Well, I don’t know what’s in his heart, but I know that that comment about the very accomplished federal judge who was born in Indiana to parents from Mexico was a racist attack and I think that has been made clear by the many, many voices speaking out against it and many from the Republican side because clearly this was shocking to people and it went against everything we believe in: that this is a meritocracy. People should be able to rise as hard, high as their hard work, their ambition, their talent will take them.
MUIR: You've said in recent days that electing Donald Trump commander-in-chief would be an historic mistake and you said it would undo much of the work that Republicans and Democrats alike have done over many decades. You spent years as a Senator, you reveled in the legislative process. Have you heard from some of your former Republican colleagues about Donald Trump?
CLINTON: Well, I’ve heard that, what they say publicly. We haven’t had any personal conversations. But I have a --
MUIR: You haven’t talked to any of your-
CLINTON: No, but I have a long history of working with them and I know them well enough to believe that a number are quite concerned. Take the issue of nuclear weapons: the cavalier casual way that Donald Trump talks about nuclear weapons is not only frightening but it goes counter to more than 70 years of bipartisan, presidential leadership of Republicans and Democrats who believed that we have to prevent other countries from getting nuclear weapons and we have to do what we can to decrease the number of nuclear weapons in the world.
MUIR: The last 24 hours, Senator Tester, a key Democratic leader, was asked about the idea of a Clinton-Warren ticket. Elizabeth Warren, of course. He answered, ‘Is the country ready for two women? I don’t know.’
CLINTON: Well, I’m not gonna get into vice presidential choices but I have the highest regard for Senator Warren.
MUIR: Let’s put her name aside though. Do you think the country would be ready for two women?
CLINTON: I think at some point. Maybe this time, maybe in the future. But we’re gonna be looking for the most qualified person to become president should something happen to me, if I’m fortunate enough to be the president.
MUIR: Is Bernie Sanders? Would he be vice president?
CLINTON: We’re gonna be looking at everybody who has something to contribute.
MUIR: How short is the short list, Secretary?
CLINTON: Well we don’t have a short list yet. We’re just beginning to gather up information and think about this.
MUIR: So let me ask you, you have said that Donald Trump does not have the right temperament to be president. He said of you that you lack judgemnt. He points to your emails. The last time we sat down, you apologized. You've said it was a mistake. But Trump says, FBI investigation aside, that what Hillary Clinton is guilty of is quote, 'stupidity and bad judgment.' And he asks, 'how can a person with this kind of judgment become the president?'
CLINTON: Well, again, I’m not responding to any of the personal attacks that come from Donald Trump, because he can say whatever he wants about me, and I have more votes than he does as we sit here today. More Americans have voted for me. Obviously they have believed that I would be the best choice for President and Commander in Chief and that’s what this election will be about.
MUIR: He did bring up the emails, though, again tonight. He’s going to in this general election, you know that.
MUIR: Can you assure the American people, and the Bernie Sanders supporters who you now have to court, that there isn’t anything coming from this FBI investigation that’s going to change the course of your campaign?
MUIR: You’re confident?
CLINTON: Absolutely, yes.
MUIR: I wanna ask you something personal. It takes us back to our last interview. You told me in September that you still hear your mother's voice.
CLINTON: Uh-huh. Right, I do. I do.
MUIR: What would you say to you as you walk on the stage tonight?
CLINTON: Well, she would be really excited and proud. She would be like I am, overwhelmed by this historic moment. She taught me so much in my life, including how to stand up to bullies, which apparently is going to be very much in demand in the upcoming campaign.
And, she would just give me that unconditional love and support that came to me as a child and kept going until the very last day of her life with me.
MUIR: Do you think that she could have predicted this moment? Not you -- your mother.
CLINTON: I don’t know. After 2008 I, I doubt it. I think that she was very supportive of me, but I’m not sure she would have predicted that, number one I would do it again. But number two, that it would turn out differently.
MUIR: Donald Trump has talked about the allegation against your husband, the former president. You have not responded. And I’m curious what will be off limits for you. Donald Trump’s marriages, his personal life, will that be off limits to you in your campaign?
CLINTON: I think you’ve seen what kind of campaign I’m running against him. I’m running on, based on the issues. I’m running about what he has said, what his experience lacks in order to be qualified for president, raising the issues that I think most voters care about. And that’s what I intend to do throughout this campaign.
MUIR: Has the former president seen the speech tonight?
CLINTON: Yes he has. Absolutely.
MUIR: Does he approve?
CLINTON: He’s always got good advice. And he’s been helping all through this campaign. I’m so grateful to him and my daughter.
MUIR: He once famously said you get two for the price of one. Is it --
CLINTON: That's true.
MUIR: -- true this time?
CLINTON: I think that having Bill Clinton in the circle of people advising about the economy, particularly coming up with creative ideas about how to help those parts of our country that are the most distressed, feeling the most left out and left behind, parts of the country that honestly, David, I don’t think are gonna vote for me whether it’s coal country and parts of Appalachia or--
MUIR: Why won’t they vote for you?
CLINTON: Well, I think that, you know they just have a different political philosophy, I understand that, but I’m going to do everything I can to be the best president I can be for all America. The struggling, the striving, the successful among us, but I’m going to pay particular attention to how we can help and this is where Bill has so much understanding, how we can help provide a better future for places that are not realizing the benefits of our progressive economy and the opportunities that are out there for people.
MUIR: Are you ready for that debate stage against Donald Trump?
CLINTON: I am so looking forward to it.
MUIR: You are?
CLINTON: Absolutely, I really am. I think it'll be a singular moment in American history because I think I’ll have a chance to make clear why I believe that he is not qualified and temperamentally unfit to be president.
MUIR: Let me ask you about the young people I’ve met on the campaign trail, in particular the Bernie Sanders supporters who told me that for their whole lifetime, you have been in a position of power. Would you make the case to them that this is still making history even though their whole lives they have seen Hillary Clinton with enormous influence and power?
CLINTON: Absolutely, well of course it’s historic. There’s no doubt about that but what I want the young people who supported Sen. Sanders to know is that my history of working to even the odds, to create opportunities for people, particularly young people, to bring economic and social justice and political opportunities to people started long before I was ever on the national scene and I’m going to bring all of that work and my passion for these issues to the White House and I’m going to fight as hard as I can to make sure they have the futures that they deserve here in America.
MUIR: You told me looking out through that window at all those supporters out there that eight years ago you could not have imagined returning, but this time [winning.]
CLINTON: Yes right. That’s right.
MUIR: Is it sinking in?
CLINTON: It’s a really overwhelming feeling of both gratitude, excitement, and a sense of great responsibility. And I wanna do the very best job I can to fulfill the trust and faith that people have in me.
MUIR: Well thank you for inviting us to witness history.
CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much.
MUIR: Thank you Madam Secretary.
CLINTON: Good to talk to you.
MUIR: You too.
END OF TRANSCRIPT.
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