January 28th, 2016
06:41 PM ET

Hillary Clinton on additional Democratic Presidential debates: "We have to agree that we're going to debate in New Hampshire..."

Wolf Blitzer

 

CNN's Wolf Blitzer sits down with former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a wide-ranging interview to discuss the possibility of more Democratic Presidential debates, tonight’s GOP debate, Donald Trump’s veterans event and much more. Please see below for a full rushed transcript.

 

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STORY: Clinton agrees to N.H debate— but won’’t commit to more

Text highlights: 

Clinton on the possibility of more Democratic Presidential debates:  [BLITZER]:"So you are willing to commit to three specific dates for additional debates after New Hampshire? [CLINTON]:  Oh, I said, look, I'm - we have another one shortly after New Hampshire, as I remember, on the calendar.  And I said we should start looking for dates and working to get those scheduled.  I'm perfectly fine with that.But first things first.  We have to agree that we're going to debate in New Hampshire, both the governor and I have agreed and we're waiting for the senator to decide to join us. [BLITZER]:  So I just want to be precise.  After the Democratic National Committee sanctions debates, you are now ready to commit to three more debates, is that right?[CLINTON]:  Well, I have been very public in saying I would like the DNC to work with all of the campaigns, because that's what it did when it set up this schedule and obviously, we want to be supportive.  But I am urging publicly that we do this debate next week in New Hampshire.  And then I've said I am more than happy for us to start scheduling additional debates as we go through the spring and April and May and try to get those on the calendar.”

 

Clinton responds to Trump’s veterans event and tonight’s GOP debate: "You know, I am certainly not going to get into the machinations of the Republican Party primary process, other than to say I deeply regret the tone, the rhetoric that you're hearing, not only from Mr. Trump, but a number of the other candidates, the kinds of insulting remarks they're making about groups of people in our country, their strong opposition to The Affordable Care Act, wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, coming back to trickle down economics.

You know, it's really quite a disturbing spectacle that we have going on.  So whether or not they are together when they debate and reinforce these positions, which I think would be so harmful to our country, is something that, you know, they have to decide among themselves.But I'm going to continue to point out the stakes in this election, because ultimately, it will come down to one Democratic nominee and one Republican, who are fighting for the future of America.  And I strongly disagree with the direction that the Republicans intend to take our country.  And that's why I'm fighting so hard to be that Democratic nominee, to be able to make the case that we want to build on the progress we've made and we sure don't want the Republicans ripping it all apart."

Clinton on female voter turnout in the election: "Well, look, I am thrilled to have so much support from leading women in our country, from elected women, from women activists, from organizations like Planned Parenthood fighting for women's rights.  I'm running to be president because I think I have the best combination of experience, qualifications, plans and ability to get the job done.

But I do think it's an asset to be running to be the first woman president.  And I want everyone, women and men, in all parts of our country, to join me in making sure we build on the progress we've made and not let the Republicans rip away the White House and set us back."

 

Clinton responds to the idea of appointing President Obama to the Supreme Court:  "Well, I have no idea that he'd ever be interested, but it was a fascinating idea.  And if I'm so fortune enough to be president and get the opportunity to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, which I hope I do, then I would certainly talk to him about it.  I think he has other plans for his future, but hey, it would be worth the effort. We know he's a brilliant writer.  He taught constitutional law.  So I think it's worth a try."

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST:

And joining us now, the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

 

Madam Secretary, thanks very much for joining us.

 

HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you.

 

It's good to talk to you again.

 

BLITZER:  As you know, the Bernie Sanders campaign says they won't agree to debate next week unless you agree to specific dates for three additional debates.

 

Are you willing to agree to specific dates in the spring?

 

CLINTON:  Well, first, Wolf, as I told you back in September, I have been willing to do more debates.  I like debating.  And I think it was important that my supporters, leaders in New Hampshire, said they wanted a debate.  They offered a time.  I agreed.

 

And I am prepared to do that.  And certainly with respect to future debates, we can start talking about scheduling those, but I look forward to debating the issues.  I think the voters of New Hampshire and the country want us to keep debating the issues.

 

So I hope that we'll all three be there next week in New Hampshire to talk about what our real plans are to deal with the economy and health care and rising prescription drug costs and so much else that people talk to me about.

 

BLITZER:  So you are willing to commit to three specific dates for additional debates after New Hampshire?

 

CLINTON:  Oh, I said, look, I'm - we have another one shortly after New Hampshire, as I remember, on the calendar.  And I said we should start looking for dates and working to get those scheduled.  I'm perfectly fine with that.

 

But first things first.  We have to agree that we're going to debate in New Hampshire, both the governor and I have agreed and we're waiting for the senator to decide to join us.

 

BLITZER:  So I just want to be precise.  After the Democratic National Committee sanctions debates, you are now ready to commit to three more debates, is that right?

 

CLINTON:  Well, I have been very public in saying I would like the DNC to work with all of the campaigns, because that's what it did when it set up this schedule and obviously, we want to be supportive.  But I am urging publicly that we do this debate next week in New Hampshire.  And then I've said I am more than happy for us to start scheduling additional debates as we go through the spring and April and May and try to get those on the calendar.

 

BLITZER:  OK, let's move on.

 

Talk a little bit about Susan Sarandon, who supports Bernie Sanders.

 

I want you to listen to what she told her - Bernie Sanders' supporters.

 

Listen to this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SUSAN SARANDON, ACTOR, BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER:  Well, I think it's very patronizing to think that women vote for any woman that gets up there.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

BLITZER:  Are you confident that women voters out there are going to turn out for you in the way you - in the ways - the way you need them?

 

CLINTON:  Well, look, I am thrilled to have so much support from leading women in our country, from elected women, from women activists, from organizations like Planned Parenthood fighting for women's rights.  I'm running to be president because I think I have the best combination of experience, qualifications, plans and ability to get the job done.

 

But I do think it's an asset to be running to be the first woman president.  And I want everyone, women and men, in all parts of our country, to join me in making sure we build on the progress we've made and not let the Republicans rip away the White House and set us back.

 

BLITZER:  Bernie Sanders is also criticizing you for attending a fundraiser in Philadelphia at an investment firm last night while he was holding a rally speaking to caucus-goers in Iowa.

 

Does that make you look bad?

 

CLINTON:  Oh, I don't think so.  Look, I was in Iowa yesterday, all week.  I'm back in Iowa right now.  I'll be in Iowa through the caucus.

 

I went to Philadelphia for two things.  Some of my supporters, including my good friend, Jon Bon Jovi, had a fundraiser for me.  And I had a longstanding meeting scheduled to meet with 50 African-American state leaders from across our nation.

 

And it was a wonderful conversation.  We ranged widely over everything from the terrible water crisis in Flint to what we need to do for criminal justice reform, how we guarantee economic opportunity and good jobs with rising incomes, equal rights and equal pay for women.

 

It was just an absolutely stimulating and inspirational meeting.  And here I am, back in Newton, ready to go talk to hundreds of citizens who are still either making up their minds or learning more about what to do when they go caucus for me next Monday.

 

BLITZER:  As you know, Donald Trump has planned a so-called special event to benefit veterans tonight, at the same time the Republican candidates are holding their debate.

 

What - is that appropriate?

 

Do you think he should boycott that debate?

 

CLINTON:  You know, I am certainly not going to get into the machinations of the Republican Party primary process, other than to say I deeply regret the tone, the rhetoric that you're hearing, not only from Mr. Trump, but a number of the other candidates, the kinds of insulting remarks they're making about groups of people in our country, their strong opposition to The Affordable Care Act, wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, coming back to trickle down economics.

 

You know, it's really quite a disturbing spectacle that we have going on.  So whether or not they are together when they debate and reinforce these positions, which I think would be so harmful to our country, is something that, you know, they have to decide among themselves.

 

But I'm going to continue to point out the stakes in this election, because ultimately, it will come down to one Democratic nominee and one Republican, who are fighting for the future of America.  And I strongly disagree with the direction that the Republicans intend to take our country.  And that's why I'm fighting so hard to be that Democratic nominee, to be able to make the case that we want to build on the progress we've made and we sure don't want the Republicans ripping it all apart.

 

BLITZER:  Madam Secretary, on national security, while I have you, the Pentagon now acknowledging that some U.S. troops already are inside Libya and they're also signaling that the U.S. could get much more involved in Libya soon.

 

Would you support significantly increasing the number of U.S. troops inside Libya, which, for all practical purposes today is a failed state with ISIS in control of big chunks there?

 

CLINTON:  Well, I haven't been briefed on the specifics of what the Defense Department is considering.  There are certainly operations that Special Forces are conducting in a number of places throughout the Middle East in support of local forces and local government authorities and also to try to help defeat ISIS and its affiliates.

 

So I can't comment specifically, Wolf.  There has been a great effort recently, led by the United Nations, to try to get the two factions in Libya to cooperate.  And yes, there is one part of Libya that has been claimed by ISIS.  And there's a great deal of concern among Libyans and Europeans, as well as Americans and others in the Middle East about that.

 

So I will - I will hold my judgment about exactly what is being carried out until I have more information about it.

 

BLITZER:  One final question, Madam Secretary, before I let you go.

 

You said it would be a great idea to appoint - to nominate President Obama to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Have you given more thought to that possibility?

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

CLINTON:  Well, I have no idea that he'd ever be interested, but it was a fascinating idea.  And if I'm so fortune enough to be president and get the opportunity to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, which I hope I do, then I would certainly talk to him about it.  I think he has other plans for his future, but hey, it would be worth the effort.

 

We know he's a brilliant writer.  He taught constitutional law.  So I think it's worth a try.

 

BLITZER:  Madam Secretary, thanks so much for joining us.

 

CLINTON:  Good to talk to you again, Wolf.

 

Thank you.

 

END

 

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