George Stephanopoulos' Exclusive Interview with Sen. Hillary Clinton

ByABC News
January 1, 2008, 7:33 PM

December 30, 2001— -- STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, Peggy Noonan accepts the premise ofyour question this morning in The Wall Street Journal, but she goes onto say that's exactly the reason not to pick you. She says, "Mrs.Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctivelydistrusted political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon."

CLINTON: (LAUGHTER) Oh, George, I mean, I'm not surprised. Areyou?

Obviously, I'm running a campaign to try to keep focused on thebig issues that the country faces. And I think that people in Iowaand around the country are resonating to that.


CLINTON: But obviously, there are people who disagree with me.They disagree with me ideologically, philosophically, on a partisanbasis. That's not a surprise to me or to you.

And for those who now think they're against me, I look to NewYork, where a lot of people ended up voting for me who never thoughtthey would.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But even our polling here in Iowa shows thatthis issue of trust is a hurdle for you with Democrats.

CLINTON: Well, that's not what I see. You know, I trust mytouch and my feel more than I trust, with all due respect, thecommentary that goes on. And whoever becomes the Democratic nomineewill face a very high negative, because we know that's what theRepublicans are better at, including the person that you quoted from,than anybody else.

STEPHANOPOULOS: On this issue of experience, Senator Dodd tookoff on you yesterday. He said your experience as first lady wasbasically not relevant. You were sitting on the sidelines.

And he said, "That's not experience, that's witnessingexperience." How do you respond to Senator Dodd?

CLINTON: Well, I'm a big fan of his. I consider...


CLINTON: Oh, sure. Look, it's a campaign. We're getting downto the very end. I've been around long enough to know that people whoare friends before and will be friends afterwards are obviously tryingto make a political point.

But I think the reality and the evidence is far different. Youknow, I was intimately involved in so much that went on in the WhiteHouse, here at home and around the world.

You know, just in the last few weeks, the new leaders of theNorthern Ireland government, Dr. Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness,made a special effort to see me. Why? Because I helped in thatprocess, not just standing by and witnessing, but actually getting myhands into it, creating opportunities for people on both sides of thesectarian divide to come together.

When I went to Beijing, I wasn't a witness. I was a spokespersonand proud to be for the proposition that women's rights are humanrights. And that cascaded across the world.

I was entrusted with a lot of missions in both paving the way anddealing with very specific challenges our country faced. And Ibelieve since I've been in the Senate, especially serving on the ArmedServices Committee, I've deepened and broadened my experience.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about in the White House? The New YorkTimes wrote this week that you did not attend National SecurityCouncil meetings, you did not receive the president's daily briefing,didn't have a security clearance. And that calls your experience inthe White House into question.

CLINTON: Well, I just disagree with that. You know, I canimagine what the stories would have been had I attended a NationalSecurity Council meeting. You were there. I think you can vouch forthat.

But I had direct access to all of the decision-makers. I wasbriefed on a range of issues, often provided classified information.And often when I traveled on behalf of our country. I traveled withrepresentatives from the DOD, the CIA, the State Department. I thinkthat my experience is unique, having been eight years in the WhiteHouse, having, yes, been part of making history, and also been part oflearning how to best present our country's case. And now, seven yearson the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.