March 13th, 2016
11:59 PM ET

Full Rush Transcript Hillary Clinton Part//CNN TV One Democratic Presidential Town Hall

RUSH TRANSCRIPT, Mandatory credit: CNN 

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

TAPPER:  Now, please welcome former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Hi.  

 

TAPPER:  Hi. 

 

(CROSSTALK) 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

MARTIN:  Please have a seat. 

 

Thanks for coming to our party. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

TAPPER:  So, welcome, thanks for being here. 

 

CLINTON:  Thank you, thank you. 

 

TAPPER:  I understand that you were just speaking to the Ohio Democratic Party. 

 

CLINTON:  Right. 

 

TAPPER:  And you had a few choice words about the Republican frontrunner. 

 

CLINTON:  I did. 

 

MARTIN:  A couple?

 

(LAUGHTER) 

 

TAPPER:  Specifically about the violence at his rallies and some of the comments.  We talked about that with senator sanders.  What are your concerns?  

 

CLINTON:  Well, I think all Americans should be concerned.  It's clear that Donald Trump is running a very cynical campaign, pitting groups of Americans against one another.  He is trafficking in hate and fear.  He is playing to our worst instincts rather than our angels of our better nature. 

 

He actually incites violence in the way that he urges his audience on, you know, talking about punching people, offering to pay legal bills. 

 

And then on the specifics, you know, we know that he has been incredibly bigoted towards so many groups.  He talks about deporting 11-12 million immigrants, we are a nation built on immigrants.  He talks about preventing Muslims from coming into our country, we believe in religious freedom.

 

There is just so much of what he is doing that I think we all have to reject.  Because, it is so at odds with our values.  You don't make America great by tearing down everything that made America great. 

 

And so let's stand up and with one voice reject that. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

TAPPER:  So Donald Trump - to play devil's advocate, Donald Trump says that it is supporters of Senator Sanders and supporters of yours who came to Chicago and shut down his rally with violence.  Obviously, when we all looked at those horrific pictures from that night, it was not easy to discern that one side was wrong and the other side was right, or what was going on, there were a lot of people fighting.

 

Do you think that there are Democrats who also need to be cautioned violence is not the way to go here? 

 

CLINTON:  Well, let's start with what I think is the truth.  Donald Trump is responsible for what happens at his events.  He is the person who…

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

CLINTON:  … has for months now been not just inciting violence, but applauding violence.  The images of the, you know, young African-American protester being attacked totally without any provocation whatsoever, and having Donald Trump say that he would pay the legal bills of the attacker.

 

So clearly people who engage in protests should follow civil disobedience principles, and should be peaceful, should be nonviolent, but I do think that, as I said the other day, what Trump has done is like a case of political arson. 

 

You know, he has lit the fire, and then he throws his hands up and claims that he shouldn't be held responsible, and he should be held responsible.

 

MARTIN: Secretary Clinton, yesterday you were in St. Louis, and you talked about carpenters and the rebuilding of the country, the folks who built this nation.

 

CLINTON: Right.

 

MARTIN: And, both you and Senator Sanders have significant union support, yet many of the trade unions that - we walk about built the country, they've locked out black folks and other minorities for decades. Would you, even right now, and even as president, call a meeting with the trade unions and say it's time for you to open up those doors and bring in more African-Americans and Hispanics, and others be because those are high-paying jobs. And, if we keep saying rebuild America with a huge infrastructure and billions of dollars, they're the ones who are going to do it. And, black folks and others are going to be left on the outside looking in.

 

CLINTON: Roland, I certainly agree. I have been an advocate for opening up unions, businesses, academic institutions, every institution in our country, and it is, for me, a special commitment that we would open up apprenticeships for the full diversity of our country.

 

MARTIN; I don't mean any disrespect, but apprenticeships - those are jobs (ph). I'm talking about the people who are already trained, who are grown, who've been in it. They've been shut out. Often times they bring up apprentice jobs, that's the early folks. I'm talking about the skilled folks right now.

 

CLINTON: We should to the whole gamut, you know? I've been now in a number of training facilities, and at least during my visits, and this goes back to my time in the Senate, there is a very diverse representation.

 

Now, we do need to work much more diligently to open up all of the trades, all of the businesses, and you will certainly see me pushing that. And, there's going to be so much work if I have my way, if I'm so fortunate to be president, that we're going to need a much bigger workforce to do infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, clean energy jobs. And, it would be counterproductive as well as wrong to keep anybody out.

 

So, I have a tax credit to expand apprenticeship programs. You're right, we've got to focus on those who already have the skills, but we're going to need a big pipeline.

 

And, I came from a really interesting meeting I had in Marion, Ohio, before coming here. And, I talked to people who have been running some great tech programs. I know Senator brown is supporting something called RamTech (ph), and it is really focused on making the case, and I need your help in the media to make the case, there are very many good jobs in the trades but a lot of people are not really encouraged to go that direction.

 

MARTIN: We do it on TV One, yes.

 

CLINTON: Please do it because right now in Ohio, I was told there are 60,000 jobs available for skilled work in the trades and these are jobs that go $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 to start.

 

I met a woman welder in Merion who, you know, she got into the program, got her certification in welding, and she's already moved from $14 dollars an hour to $19 dollars an hour with more increases in sight. So, we have got to open up the trades, but we also have to encourage more people to think about those as an occupation profession.

 

TAPPER: Let's meet some more voters, if you could, Madam Secretary. If you'll walk up here, I'd like to introduce you to Thomas Kelly.

 

CLINTON: Hi.

 

TAPPER: He is a steel worker and he says he's still undecided. Mr. Kelly?

 

CLINTON: Hi, how are you?

 

QUESTION: Hi, thank you. Nice to see you. I'm a 47-year-old laid off steelworker from Laurion (ph), Ohio. I have a wife, three kids, two cars and a house. There's thousands of steelworkers that are getting ready to lose everything because of the illegal dumping of foreign steel.

 

CLINTON: Right.

 

QUESTION: And, the federal government came out and helped the auto industry by giving out or giving them loans so they could keep running, and they also helped out the banking systems.

 

My question to you is, do you think, or do you believe it is possible for the government to do the same for the steel industry, and if not, why? 

 

Thank you.

 

CLINTON: How long have you been laid off?

 

QUESTION: Since November, but I have friends that have been out since March of 2015.

 

CLINTON: Well, I just finished speaking about this at the Democratic Party dinner. And I think, number one, we have to take much more aggressive action to stop the dumping.  I believe that the dumping is illegal, and that we have to summon up the political and the legal arguments to take it on. 

 

And this is not new for me.  I fought for our steel companies and workers in New York when I was a senator, and I testified before the International Trade Commission.  And this is something that I know Congresswoman Beatty and Senator Brown and I all agree on which is, you know, you shouldn't have to be a business or a union or a worker to bring these kinds of unfair trade practices to a legal forum. 

 

I want the government the do it.  I want the United States government to stand up for steel, to stand up for the companies and the workers.  Now… 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

CLINTON:  I also have proposed for the first time ever a trade prosecutor who would report directly to the president, and more investigators so that we don't wait until the damage is done, we try to get in early to prevent it, and then make it possible for there to be some kind of recovery. 

 

I happen to think a steel industry is in America's national security interests as well as our economic interests.  And so what I will tell you… 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

CLINTON:  … is that in addition to enforcing laws and trying to really go after the major rule-breaker in the global economy, namely China, we have to look at how we keep a steel industry going. 

 

Standing here tonight, I can't tell you exactly what that would look like, but I can pledge to you that I'm committed to keeping a steel industry and steel workers working in Ohio and America. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

TAPPER:  Madam Secretary, let's bring in Anne Valentine.  She is a trial lawyer.  She says if she had to choose right now, she would choose you, but she is still torn, and she has a question. 

 

CLINTON:  Great. 

 

QUESTION:  Good evening, Senator Clinton, thank you for taking my question. 

 

One of my concerns for the new president is the prospect of yet another war.  I have nephews and a godson very dear to me.  And my question is this, in a recent New York Times Magazine article for which you were interviewed, it was said about you given a choice between action and inaction, you'd rather be caught trying. 

 

Does that mean that we are destined for more conflict under your watch? 

 

CLINTON:  No.  No, and I don't think it is an either/or kind of question.  I believe that we have to use every tool at our disposal, our diplomacy, our development, and our strong cultural influence around the world as well as defense. 

 

And I think in the world in which we are living today, it is really important for the president to build coalitions, to support our friends, our partners, our allies, to be able to take on challenges that confront them. 

 

Obviously, force should be always a last resort, not a first choice.  And I will give you a quick example.  You know, when President Obama went into office and I became the secretary of state, the Iranians had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle. 

 

They had built covert fuel facilities.  They had stocked them with centrifuges, all of that had happened while George W. Bush was president.  And we had done, you know, sanctions, and everything that we could think of as the United States government and Congress, but it had not stopped them. 

 

And there were a lot of other countries in the region who said they would take military action if necessary. So I led the effort to impose sanctions on Iran, to really bring them to the negotiating table, the negotiations started under my watch, ably concluded under Secretary Kerry, to put a lid on the Iranian nuclear weapons program. 

 

That is my preference, smart power.  Using our intelligence, our diplomatic efforts, everything we can bring to bear.  But leading the rest of the world, not going off and doing it on our own, to try to end conflicts where we can, to prevent them where we can, and if you have a situation like we do currently in Syria and Iraq, provide support as we are doing for others to carry the conflict forward through military action. 

 

So that is in a kind of the capsule how I see what the next president should do. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

MARTIN:  Secretary Clinton, since 1976, we have executed 1,414 people in this country.  Since 1973, 156 who were convicted have been exonerated from the death row.  This gentleman here is one of them.  

 

This is Ricky Jackson, wrongfully convicted of murder in 1975, he spent 39 years in prison.  He is undecided.  Ricky, what is your question? 

 

QUESTION:  Thank you, Senator.  Thank you for taking my question.  

 

As stated, I did spend 39 years of my life in prison for a crime of murder I did not commit, and it was only through heroic efforts of the Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati that I was ultimately exonerated and am able to stand before you today.  

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

QUESTION:  Thank you. 

 

Senator, I spent some of those years on death row, and - excuse me, I'm sorry. 

 

MARTIN:  It's OK, brother. 

 

QUESTION:  I came perilously close to my own execution, and in light of that, what I have just shared with you and in light of the fact that there are documented cases of innocent people who have been executed in our country, I would like to know how can you still take your stance on the death penalty in light of what we know right now. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

CLINTON:  You know, this is such a profoundly difficult question.  And what I have said and what I continue to believe is that the states have proven themselves incapable of carrying out fair trials that give any defendant all of the rights a defendant should have, all of the support that the defendant's lawyer should have.

 

And I have said I would breathe a sigh of relief if either the Supreme Court or the states, themselves, began to eliminate the death penalty. 

 

Where I end up is this, and maybe it is distinction that is hard to support, but at this point, given the challenges we face from terrorist activities primarily in our country that end up under federal jurisdiction for very limited purposes, I think that it can still be held in reserve for those. 

 

And the kind of crimes that I am thinking of are the bombing at Oklahoma City, where an American terrorist blew up the government building, killing, as I recall, 158 Americans, including a number of children who were in the preschool program. 

 

The plotters and the people who carried out the attacks on 9/11, but a very limited use of it in cases where there has been horrific mass killings.  That is really the exception that I still am struggling with, and that would only be in the federal system. 

 

But what happened to you was a travesty, and I just can't even imagine what you went through and how terrible those days and nights must have been for all of those years. 

 

And I know that all of us are so regretful that you or any person has to go through what you did.  And I hope that now that you are standing here before us that you will have whatever path in life you choose going forward and that you will get the support you deserve to have. 

 

MARTIN:  I have to ask Ricky Jackson…

 

QUESTION:  Thank you, Senator. 

 

MARTIN:  … is that answer satisfactory for you? 

 

QUESTION:  Yes.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, Senator. 

 

CLINTON:  Thank you, sir. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

TAPPER:  All right.  We're going to have more questions from the audience for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after this very short break.  Stay with us.

 

(APPLAUSE)   

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

 

TAPPER: Welcome back, we're in Ohio with Hillary Clinton, and our town hall meeting. Let's continue. Madam Secretary, I want you to meet Teresa O'Donnell, she is an office coordinator from Powell, Ohio. She says she is leaning in your favor, but has not yet made the firm and complete decision.

 

QUESTION: Hello.

 

CLINTON: Hi.

 

QUESTION: I have voted for Obama, and then my health insurance skyrocketed from $409 a month to $1,090 a month for a family of four. I know Obama told us that we would be paying a little more, but doubling – over doubling my health insurance cost has not been a little more. It has been difficult to come up with that kind of payment every month. I would like to vote Democratic, but it's cost me a lot of money, and I'm just wondering if Democrats really realize how difficult it's been on working class Americans to finance Obama care.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

CLINTON: Wow, Thank you for asking me that, because. May I ask you, before you were buying your family health insurance in the individual family market? Were you getting it through the employer? How were you insured before? 

 

QUESTION:  I was purchasing it privately, because we both had bouts of unemployment. 

 

CLINTON:  So you were going to a broker and buying a health insurance policy. 

 

QUESTION:  Yes. 

 

CLINTON:  And in effect, it nearly tripled after you went on to the exchange and bought a policy under the Affordable Care Act, is that right? 

 

QUESTION:  We could not do that.  It was much more expensive than just purchasing private insurance from the insurance company. 

 

CLINTON:  So you are still buying private insurance directly? 

 

QUESTION:  Yes. 

 

CLINTON:  OK.  Well, first of all, let me say I want very much to get the costs down, and that is going to be my mission, because I do think that for many, many people, but there are exceptions like what you are telling me, having the Affordable Care Act has reduced costs, has created a real guarantee of insurance, because if you'd had a pre-existing condition under the old system, you wouldn't have gotten affordable insurance.

 

So it has done a lot of really good things, but, it has become increasingly clear that we are going to have to get the costs down.  And what I would like to see happen for you and your family is that if we can get the co-pays down, the deductibles down, get the prescription drug costs under control, that you would find an affordable plan on your exchange. 

 

And one thing that I would like you to do, and I'm not saying it's going to make a difference, but I would like you to just go shopping on that exchange.  As I understand it, Ohio has the federal exchange, is that right, Joyce?  Because they did not set up a state exchange.

 

So you have the federal exchange.  And to go on and keep looking to see what the prices are, because we have to get more competition back into the insurance market.  One thing that I want to work on with my friends from Congress who are here is we've got the get more non-profits that are capable of selling insurance back into the insurance market. 

 

You know, Blue Cross and Blue Shield used to be non-profits.  And then they transferred themselves into for-profit companies.  And there was some effort made under the Affordable Care Act to get some competition from non-profit institutions, some of them worked and a lot of them didn't.

 

I want to know what we can do, because if you could get a range of insurers, some of who were not-for-profit companies, that would lower costs. 

 

So there is a number of things I am looking at.  And what I want to assure you and your family of is I will do everything I can as president, working with members of Congress where necessary, to try to get the costs down. 

 

But I do want you to keep shopping, because what you are telling me is much higher than what I hear from other families, and so I want to be sure that if there is a better option out there for you, you're going to be able to take advantage of it.  

 

And then I'll work as hard as I can to get the costs down for everybody, and that includes prescription cost drugs, which are skyrocketing and increasing costs for everything else. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

MARTIN:  All right.  We want to Gayle Saunders, she is a shot-caller, big baller, CEO of her own PR firm, and she is leaning towards your way, so let's see if you can pull her over the finish line. 

 

CLINTON:  OK. 

 

MARTIN:  Gayle, go for it. 

 

QUESTION:  Good evening, Secretary Clinton.  Thank you for taking my question.  

 

I believe that the number of prisons that are built in this country is absolutely shameful.  And we know that black and brown people are disproportionately represented in a system that in one instance allows an "affluenza defense," and in other instances really makes tougher penalties on people because they live in a particular zip code. 

 

CLINTON:  Right. 

 

QUESTION:  So my question of you, Secretary Clinton, as president, what will you do to address this system to make it more fair and balanced and address a system that many are calling modern day slavery. 

 

CLINTON:  Well, your description of the problem is absolutely right.  And the very first speech I gave in this campaign was about criminal justice and incarceration reform.  So there are a number of things that I have laid out. 

 

I want to just give you a sort of the overview, but please go to my Web site, hillaryclinton.com, that lays out my comprehensive approach. 

 

One in three African-American men, if the trends that we see today continue, will spend some time in jail or prison.  That is absolutely unacceptable.  There is no justification for it.  There is no excuse for it.

 

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON:  And I have been going around speaking out that an African-American young man is more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted and incarcerated for doing exactly the same thing as a white man who is not.

 

And, what that means is we have got to be honest with ourselves. We have systemic racism that is really at work inside of the criminal justice system. And, we have got to be willing...

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

CLINTON: ...  To stand up - and question these inequities, and then go about the business of ridding them. We need to divert many more people out of the jail and prison system into diversion programs, job programs, skills programs. Where are doing this, although it is on too small a scale, it works.

 

And, we need to have much more in the way of treatment and help for people who have addictions, who have mental health issues so that they can be helped, not incarcerated. We need to end private prisons; they are a shameful blight...

 

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

 

CLINTON: ...  On our prison system - and, if we can eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline, and substitute a cradle-to-college pipeline that starts with early childhood education...

 

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

 

CLINTON: ... It starts with more health, earlier on, then we can begin closing prisons.

 

And, I guess the final thing I would say about this overview is I really believe states have got to stop building prisons and start investing in education.

 

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

 

Elementary, secondary, and higher education.

 

MARTIN: Jake? Jake, I'm sorry, just, if I can. Should Democrats stop taking money from private prisons? Should people - should Democrats stop taking money from private prisons...

 

CLINTON: ... Yes...

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

CLINTON: Yes, the answer is yes, and, you know? That certainly is what my campaign decided.

 

TAPPER: Let's talk about an issue of a lot of concern here in Ohio, fracking. Fracking is a technique for oil and gas drilling that's led to a significant increase in American energy production, it's also raised concerns about health and safety risks. There are almost 20,000 fracking jobs here in Ohio, and the industry brings in about $20 million dollars in revenue for the state each year.

 

Let's bring in Christine Hughes. She's a restaurant owner from Athens, Ohio. She's an anti-fracking activist, and she says she's undecided. She has a question for you.

 

QUESTION: Hi.

 

CLINTON: Hi. Athens is beautiful too.

 

QUESTION: Thank you.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, I depend on small farms in Ohio for my restaurant, and many farmers I know have been harmed by the fracking industry. Ohio allows fracking, pipelines, and injection wells on and around even organic farms. At the debate in Flint Michigan you said that you wouldn't allow fracking in communities that didn't want it. But, Ohio doesn't allow local fracking bans. As president, will you let farmers and communities say no to fracking, and fully support a clean energy future?

 

CLINTON: You know, as I said in the debate when asked this - because so much of what governs fracking right now is within state and local control, and the federal government, I think, has an important role to play including advocating for what you said that I had put forward, which is to give local communities the say over it.

 

I also said this, we need much more scientific research, but here's what we know. We know that methane releases are bad, they're bad for the environment, they're bad for greenhouse gas emissions. We know that if water is contaminated, that's bad. And, we can't allow that go forward.

 

We know that there is a loophole in the law that I disagree with that permits the fracking companies to not have to disclose the chemicals they're using in fracking.

 

We deserve to know; I think we have a right to know. So, I am going to push very tough rules. Now, I've got to figure out what I can do on the federal level as opposed to what we're going to have to work at on the state level.

 

Oklahoma, which, as you know, has been very pro-fracking, has suffered from tremors, little earthquakes around the state. 

 

And there is growing scientific evidence that fracking is connected to, I don't want to say cause, because the scientists have not reached that, but certainly connected to these tremors.

 

And so now even Oklahoma is saying, hey, wait a minute, we'd better stop and take a hard look at this.  So I will do everything I can as president to set the rules, to set the regulations, to try to figure out how to influence states.

 

I'm not sure given the present political makeup we could pass a federal law to end fracking, but we sure can try to regulate it very effectively under the rules we already have that give us federal jurisdictions over some of these chemicals and releases.  

 

So that is what I am going to try to do.  And, you know, I know that others say, well, we are going to ban it. I just want to tell you, I'm going to do everything I can to regulate it and to try to limit it.  No president can stand up before you and say, I'm going to ban it. 

 

We have got too many layers of law that we have got to work through and regulation we've got to deal with. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

CLINTON:  And that's what I'm trying to say very clearly, you know, I don't want to make a promise I can't keep.  I want to tell you what I think that I can do as president to be your ally in trying to stop that at the local level. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

TAPPER:  Secretary Clinton, I want to bring back somebody who asked a question of Bernie Sanders earlier, and we are going to let him ask you as well.  It is a Dr.  Amit Majmudar.  He's a radiologist from Dublin, Ohio, a little Majmudar trivia, he is also the poet laureate of Ohio.

 

CLINTON:  My goodness, wow. 

 

TAPPER:  So, Doctor, if you ask your question again. 

 

QUESTION:  Secretary Clinton, welcome to Columbus, and thank you for entertaining this question.  I think we are all interested to compare your response to that given by Senator Sanders just a few moments ago. 

 

Long story short, I'm a son of immigrants, and my parents have - are both citizens now and they both have done very well for themselves in this great country, and so have I. 

 

But as a 1 percent ethnic and religious minority, watching the rise of Donald Trump, for the first time, my family has started feeling a little uncomfortable, and to be honest, a little scared. 

 

If Donald Trump secures the Republican nomination, I'm going to have one mission heading to the ballot box, which is to keep him out of office.  So my question to you is which Democratic candidate is going to be best at helping me do that, not just offering the easy condemnations, but actually being able to defeat him? 

 

Leaving aside the negative rhetoric and attack ads, none of which have worked so far, can you share with us three specific points of your anti-Trump game plan? 

 

CLINTON:  Well, Doctor…

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

CLINTON:  Let me give you a little bit of context.  Where we are right now, before everybody votes on Tuesday, I am the only candidate who has gotten more votes than Trump.  I have 600,000 more votes than Donald Trump.

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

CLINTON:  And I am building a broad-based, inclusive campaign that I think is the best way to defeat, by convincing people that this really is the highest stakes election they have ever been involved in, and they have got to, whether they have ever voted before or not, to come out and vote against Donald Trump and for me. 

 

And because I do have more votes than everybody, anybody, I believe that I have been developing the base that is going to give me the chance to do that. 

 

Secondly, you know, one of my advantages, if I am so fortunate enough to be the Democratic nominee, is that the Republicans have been after me for 25 years.  And…

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

CLINTON:  … there isn't anything they haven't already said about me.  And in the course of dealing with all of this incoming fire from them, I have developed a pretty thick skin.  I am not new to the national arena, and I think that whoever goes up against Donald Trump better be ready. 

 

And I feel I am the best-prepared and ready candidate to take him on.

 

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: ... I am not new to the national arena, and I think that whoever goes up against Donald Trump better be ready, and I feel I am the best prepared and ready candidate to take him on.

 

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

 

CLINTON: Finally, I really believe that there are going to be a lot of arguments to make against him that we can look forward to, I'm not going to spill the beans right now.

 

But, suffice it to say that there are many arguments that we can use against him.

 

But, one argument that I am uniquely qualified to bring, because of my service as Secretary of State is what his presidency would mean to our country and our standing in the world.

 

I am already receiving messages from leaders - I'm having foreign leaders ask if they can endorse me to stop Donald Trump.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

I mean, this is up to Americans, thank you very much, but I get what you're saying.

 

TAPPER: And can you tell to tell us who?

 

CLINTON: Well, some have done it publicly, actually. The Italian Prime Minister, for example.

 

TAPPER: How about the ones that have done it privately?

 

CLINTON: No, Jake.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

CLINTON: We're holding that in reserve too.

 

But, I - you know, lots of times foreign policy doesn't play as big a role as I think it should, you know? The wonderful question that the woman asked me before about the use of military force and how you make those tough decisions, you know?

 

Only the hard choices come to the president. If they're not really hard somebody along the way has a chance to, you know, make a decision.

 

So, when you end up in the Situation Room on a serious foreign policy group like I was there with the small group advising the President whether to go after Bin Laden, it takes incredible seriousness, diligence, judgement, a temperament that is not going to be pushed one way or another depending upon who said what to you today.

 

And, I believe that I will have an opportunity to really focus in on how dangerous a Donald Trump presidency would be for our standing, for our safety...

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

CLINTON: ... for the peace for the world, and I think we can be successful doing that.

 

TAPPER: We're going to take a very quick break. We have more questions from our audience for Secretary Clinton. You're watching the CNN TV one Democratic town hall from Columbus, Ohio.

 

Stay with us.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

MARTIN:  All right.  Folks, welcome back to the Mershon Auditorium.  Welcome back at the Ohio State University. 

 

Let's go back to our audience.  We have a townhall here in between the secretary taking selfies. 

 

(LAUGHTER) 

 

MARTIN:  All right, then, let's go right here to Ms. Vashitta Johnson.  She's a racial and social justice organizer at Equality Ohio, and she says she is still undecided so you have got a shot. 

 

CLINTON:  OK. 

 

QUESTION:  Thank you, Roland. 

 

Good evening, Secretary Clinton. 

 

My question is on March 4th, and I regret to inform you this, there were two separate shootings involving four children.  The first incident involved a 7-year-old boy being killed, his 5-year-old brother and 4-year-old sister were also wounded.  This incident was actually a gang-related retaliation shooting. 

 

The second incident was a 5-year-old boy being shot while he actually lay asleep in bed, and he is still in the hospital now as we speak. 

 

My question to you is, as president, what programs would you implement in poverty-stricken communities in this country, in an effort to decrease this type of violence? 

 

CLINTON:  You know, I want - I want everybody to know what you know, which is that on average 90 people a day are killed by guns in our country, that is 33,000 people a year.  And a shocking number of those killed and injured are children, some of them intentionally, and some of them accidentally. 

 

So here's what I believe with all of my heart, because I think that we are in a crisis when it comes to gun violence.  It is truly an epidemic.  And there is no doubt in my mind that we've got to do more to get more common sense gun safety reforms enacted in America. 

 

So I'm not saying that what I propose will solve everything, but I believe, and there is evidence for this, that failing to do anything, which is what we are doing right now, will only lead to more terrible loss of life. 

 

So we do need comprehensive background checks, and we need to close these loopholes, the so-called gun show loophole, the online loophole, what's now called the "Charleston loophole."

 

A lot of the guns that are used for the kind of random gun violence that we see too much of in so many communities are obtained illegally.  They are obtained from sellers who don't really care where the guns end up or what they're used for. 

 

And we've got to crack down on the makers and sellers of guns.  They should be held accountable for the use of their products and exercise more care as to how they end up in the hands of the people who use them. 

 

We have to end what this terrible law that was passed when I was in the Senate.  I voted against it.  My opponent voted for it, which gave immunity from liability to gun-makers and sellers. 

 

Right now the parents of the Sandy Hook victims are trying to sue the gun-maker and seller, as much as anything to try to do whatever they can to turn their grief into…

 

Right now the parents of the Sandy Hook victims are trying to sue the gun-maker and seller, as much as anything to try to do whatever they can to turn their grief into action and prevent other families from experiencing the horror of what they went through.  

 

We have with us tonight some of the mothers of the movement, mothers who have lost their children to violence, to police violence, and to senseless gun violence.  And I've gotten to know and just admire these women so much. 

 

And when you hear their stories or when you hear the stories, like you just told us, about children being killed, it - you just cry out and say, what are we doing as a country? 

 

And I believe what I am proposing is common sense.  I agree with what the president is trying to do.  And the obstacle is the gun lobby.  And the gun lobby exists for the purpose of scaring and intimidating people into doing what they want done. 

 

So we've got to figure out how we come together to try to take this on.  And, you know, maybe I've just - I've just met too many families now who have lost loved ones to gun violence, in some of the big mass shootings literally from Columbine to Sandy Hook to Aurora in Colorado, just the list goes on. 

 

The nine victims in Mother Emanuel murdered by a young man they welcomed into their Bible study, and he was so driven by hatred and racism.  He sat there, listened to the scripture and then pulled out the gun, he should not have been able to get except for one of the loopholes, and murdered those nine faithful people. 

 

So I'm going to take them on.  I don't know how much we can get done, but I am sick and tired of these murders and killings and random horrible incidents of gun violence. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

MARTIN:  Secretary Clinton, I have a voting (ph) question, but I need to pick up on what she said.  She mentioned poverty.  We think about poverty in this country based upon what the media does, people think the face of poverty is African-American. 

 

There are a lot of broke white folks in America. 

 

CLINTON:  One hundred percent right. 

 

MARTIN:  Broke is broke.

 

CLINTON:  That's right. 

 

MARTIN:  Make the case to poor whites who live in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, who vote Republican, why they should vote for you based upon economic policies versus voting for a Republican? 

 

CLINTON:  Well, first of all, I was happy to carry those states you mentioned, and I carried the white vote in those states too, that voted Democratic now, I don't want to get carried away here. 

 

Look, we have serious economic problems in many parts of our country.  And Roland is absolutely right.  Instead of dividing people the way Donald Trump does, let's reunite around policies that will bring jobs and opportunities to all these underserved poor communities. 

 

So for example, I'm the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country.  Because we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right, Tim (ph)? 

 

And we're going to make it clear that we don't want to forget those people.  Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories. 

 

Now we've got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don't want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on. 

 

So whether it's coal country or Indian country or poor urban areas, there is a lot of poverty in America.  We have gone backwards.  We were moving in the right direction.  In the '90s more people were lifted out of poverty than any time in recent history.

 

Because of the terrible economic policies of the Bush administration, President Obama was left with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and people fell back into poverty because they lost jobs, they lost homes, they lost opportunities, and hope.  

 

So I am passionate about this, which is why I have put forward specific plans about how we incentivize more jobs, more investment in poor communities, and put people to work. 

 

MARTIN:  Got to go to a commercial.  We'll be right back.  Final questions with Secretary Hillary Clinton after this short break. 

 

(APPLAUSE) 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

TAPPER: Welcome back. We're here with Secretary Hillary Clinton for some final questions as the voters of the state get to know you, they've probably known you for a while now.

 

CLINTON: (LAUGHING)

 

TAPPER: But, there are some questions. You said at the debate earlier this week that you're not a natural politician like your husband or President Obama. You have to do just the best that you can. What do you mean by that? What do you wish you were better at as a politician?

 

CLINTON: Well, I guess what I really mean by that is that a lot of the - a lot of the work that goes into the campaign and a lot of the, you know, demands that you are faced with in a campaign, I think are challenging and I have worked at it, tried to get better at it, but I'm much better when I actually have a job to do rather than trying to get the job, you know?

 

I don't want to be hired to be...

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

CLINTON: A constant candidate. I want to be hired to be the president because I think that I, at this moment in our countries history, bring the combination of skills and understanding and experience that can really be put to work immediately to do all parts of the job.

 

But, you know, look, I watched my husband campaign. I watched President Obama campaign, it is poetry. I mean, it is just.

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

CLINTON: I mean, I get carried away, and I've seen them a million times, you know? I go, Oh my gosh, you know? Both of them.

 

You know, that's not necessarily my forte, but I think what I have always been able to do is to really produce results in every job that I've had. You know, one of the funny things I've had that goes back to the question the doctor asked. I have a whole archive of nice things Republicans have said about me, including Donald Trump. And, it's about working with me. It's about coming together to find common ground.

 

And, so when I start running for something, you know, the immediately start attacking me, but the work, you know? Whether it's Senator, Secretary of State, or even First Lady, I really love the work. I love trying to help people, you know?

 

I was raised to believe you do all the good you can to all the people you can for as long as you can. And, that is how I feel I am really trying to approach running for, and hopefully being elected president.

 

TAPPER: That's all the time we have, Madam Secretary.

 

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

 

CLINTON: (LAUGHING)

 

TAPPER: Thank you so much.

 

CLINTON: Thank you.

 

TAPPER: Appreciate it. Our thanks to the candidates and members of the audience for the great, great questions. Thanks also to the Ohio State University and Roland Martin and TV One.

 

Martin: Appreciate it. Folks, tune in tomorrow on TV One, 7:00AM to 9:00 AM, I'll have a two hour special from the campus of The Ohio State where we going to'(ph) bring the funk (ph) TV One style.

 

TAPPER: Just two days from now it's another Super Tuesday with five states including this one holding primaries. We'll have all-day coverage on CNN.

 

END

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