"Countdown" host Keith Olbermann spoke to presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, about her name being mentioned consistently in Tuesday's Republican debate, her vote about the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, her opinion of former vice-president Al Gore and other political headlines of the day.
Below are some highlights from the interview.
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST, ‘COUNTDOWN:’ The Republican debate the other night—you certainly did seem to come up fairly frequently. Do you think they’re doing you a favor, a campaign favor, an advertising favor, by mentioning you so often?
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, D-NY, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I guess if you don’t have anything positive to say about yourself or your record or your vision for America, that might be an alternative, but you know, I’m running my campaign. I can’t worry about what they’re doing. It is something, though, that a lot of my friends have noticed, and one of them I thought, rather funny, who said to me, you know, when you get to be our age, it’s kind of nice to have all these men obsessed with you. I guess I could put that spin on it.
OLBERMANN: Senator, a lot of people were mystified, couldn’t fathom your vote on the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment that urged naming the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, since it’s part of their governmental military structure, no matter what we might think of that government. With one constitutional scholar on our program who wondered if just the vote by itself might not constitute a kind of declaration or even act of war. Do you think it’s one of those?
CLINTON: Absolutely not. And I think people have either misunderstood or decided to misrepresent the meaning of that vote. I believe in using pressure and sanctions as a tool of diplomacy, and that includes against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
There is no doubt that they are a key sponsor of terrorism and that they have been providing weapons and advice to the people who are attacking and killing and maiming Americans in Iraq.
But I’ve also been, I think, among the first when I went to floor in February, to say the president had absolutely no authority to take any action against Iran. And I have joined up with Senator Jim Webb to put that into law.
But it’s interesting to me, because a lot of the people who are saying that have seemed to focus all of their attention on me. We had a number of Democrats who did not vote to authorize the ‘02 resolution who have voted with me, including Senator Durbin and Senator Jack Reed and Senator Levin and others, because we want diplomacy used. In fact, in the resolution that actually was passed, the nonbinding resolution, it clearly said that diplomacy should be pursued.
I want the United States to begin diplomatic negotiations with Iran, but I want us to go with some leverage. And I think there is a possibility of either threatening to or naming the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and many of their leaders as terrorists, and thereby going after bank accounts and investments around the world, is important leverage.
So in fact, I saw that vote as moving us toward the kind of diplomatic negotiations that I have long advocated, which the Bush administration has refused to pursue.
OLBERMANN: What do you think of the “draft Gore” stories, and do you think that, even after all this time, you will wind up facing him in the primaries, still?
CLINTON: Well, Keith, I am so hoping that he wins the Nobel Prize. There isn’t anybody who deserves it more, for the work he’s done for the last 20 years or more on behalf of sounding the alarms in the world concerning global warming. So I’m waiting to hear the announcement from the Nobel committee, and I hope that they give that well-deserved honor to Vice President Gore.
You know, I think we’ve got great candidates running. We have a wonderful field. We don’t have to be against anybody. All you have to do is to find who you’re for. And I’m just going to keep doing the best job I can to earn the support of as many voters as I can reach.
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