As a young girl, Hillary Clinton was voted most likely to succeed. As a Yale law student, she met Bill Clinton. As his wife, she broke the traditional mold of First Lady. Hillary Clinton was the first working mother in the White House, the first to lead a major, cabinet-level policy committee, and the first to become a United States senator. She joined us at University at Albany for the Hardball College Tour.
SHE’S RECOGNIZED around the world, not only for her contributions and challenges as the former first lady, but also as an advocate for democracy and human rights.
Many are convinced that she should — or will — make a bid for the White House come 2004. Pollster John Zogby has been quoted saying that she would be a strong candidate. In the polling of possible Democrats who could bid for the White House, including former Vice President Gore, Sen. John Edwards, Rep. Dick Gephardt, and Sen. John Kerry, among others, Clinton “always finishes a strong second to Gore,” he says.
Where does Hillary see her political career headed? What did she think of the election results? Chris Matthews went one-on-one with the senator from New York — at University at Albany.
“Hardball” was broadcast live at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on Nov. 20 from the Page Hall auditorium at the Albany Downtown Campus.
Hillary Clinton’s official site
Hillary Clinton’s official bio
University at Albany
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READ THE SHOW TRANSCRIPT
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: I’m Chris Matthews live from the University at Albany. Tonight, the HARDBALL “College Tour” for a full hour, a woman of historic proportions, a woman who excites political passions on both sides, who may be the first Democratic woman candidate for president, United States Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
I’m Chris Matthews. Let’s play HARDBALL.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. How are you doing?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: How are you? Welcome to Albany.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Thank you. Well, we’re obviously in a Democratic bastion. I’ve already polled the audience. They’re all Ds.
CLINTON: Oh. Well.
MATTHEWS: You’ve packed the house. Let me ask you a question I just thought of on the way in tonight. Will you be running for president in the year 2004?
CLINTON: No. Are we done?
MATTHEWS: Well you may-will you be running for president in the year 2008?
CLINTON: You know, I have said the same thing to everyone, to every important public figure and commentator...
CLINTON: ... no one of your stature, however, has ever asked me this question and unfortunately you’re going to get the same answer. I have absolutely no plans, no intentions...
MATTHEWS: No plans, but you said you weren’t going to run in 2004, but you - I have no plans to go to Hawaii in 2008 either, but I might go. It’s true. There’s a difference, isn’t there? There’s a difference between saying you won’t do it and you have no plans.
CLINTON: Well how many times have you been to Hawaii?
MATTHEWS: Never, but I might go. I might go - I might run - I might go there in 2004, but you still haven’t answered the question. Do you want to just leave it at that?
CLINTON: That’s absolutely where I want to leave it...
MATTHEWS: That’s a killer, just leave it at that.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about something. This is a principal question and I know you’re really a consistent and unrelenting feminist, and some day do you think we’ll have a woman president?
CLINTON: I sure hope so. Don’t you?
MATTHEWS: And-this is so much fun. And when that day comes, and that woman is married, she will not have a first lady, she will have a first gentleman.
CLINTON: First mate.
MATTHEWS: Well, I’m going to get to that question later. That’s later. Well, you do amaze me. First mate. That first mate, if it is a male, will be a first gentleman. Will that person have the responsibilities traditionally accorded to the first lady, which is to run the White House social life?
CLINTON: Well, somebody has to.
MATTHEWS: So you think it would be an appropriate role for the first gentleman to run, decide where to put the ambassador, who gets the right seating next to the president, sits over in the East Wing, designs the-wouldn’t you like to give that job to somebody you know?
CLINTON: Well, you know, I remember when my soon-to-be colleague, Elizabeth Dole was running, that’s what Bob Dole said he wanted to do. So...
MATTHEWS: He wanted that job.
MATTHEWS: East Wing.
MATTHEWS: Do you think it’d be appropriate for the first lady, when she becomes the first president is a woman, do you think it’s appropriate for her to give an office in the West Wing to the first gentleman?
CLINTON: Well, that would have to be negotiated.
MATTHEWS: What do you see as the issues to be negotiated?
CLINTON: You know, I hope...
MATTHEWS: You can kill this right now, you know.
MATTHEWS: I am just going around in circles to get you to say that you only don’t have plans to run in 2008 and that’s where it stands.
CLINTON: I’m not sure we’ll be here tomorrow.
MATTHEWS: Do you have any plans for 2008, period?
CLINTON: I’m going to Hawaii.
MATTHEWS: I’m done. One of the leading lights of the Democratic Party sits across from me on this beautiful rug here and since you are one of the...
CLINTON: At this great university.
MATTHEWS: ... at this great university. And since you are...
MATTHEWS: All politics is local. And since you are in the opposition now, thanks to the election of November, you’re on opposition, so as an opposition leader, I want to ask you this, has-what is the biggest mistake that President George W. Bush has made in the realm of foreign policy?
CLINTON: We don’t know yet. I’m serious. I mean I think that clearly the current situation where we are still fighting the war against terrorism and where we know that we have to confront a global network of well organized terrorists, has called on all of us to think differently and act differently.
And it’s really been unprecedented, and I think up until this point certainly, the military aspect of that has gone well, except we haven’t done enough to provide support to the Karzai government in Afghanistan and to support a lot of our allies who face internal problems, like Pakistan. I think that certainly the administration’s main problem from my perspective, both domestically and internationally, is that they don’t seem to have a real sense of the consequences, where we go, the day after.
MATTHEWS: After we invade Iraq?
CLINTON: Yes, well, or even look at Afghanistan. I mean...
CLINTON: ... today in the paper, I was glad to see that they’re finally going to be putting some additional troops to do what used to be called nation building, they’re calling it reconstruction. I don’t care what they call it. I think it’s important for the United States to stand behind its actions and since you know, we did route the Taliban, and we know that the country is in no way under control, and we’re well aware that al Qaeda operatives are regrouping, at least in northwest Pakistan or in the-even inside Afghanistan, we’ve got to do more, and today in the paper they said they would. So I think...
MATTHEWS: Well let me ask you the key question...
CLINTON: ... that’s a good step forward.
MATTHEWS: ... because let me lead you toward something and you decide if I’m wrong or not. It seems to me the key decision of this administration was not to react to the fact that the World Trade Center was attacked and that all those people were killed and the Pentagon was attacked. Any president would have reacted.
MATTHEWS: They reacted in a very forthright way for three months.
They went after Afghanistan...
MATTHEWS: They began to use our international cooperation with the Germans and others to try to track down al Qaeda. Then came the State of the Union address and the president made his first big strategic decision. He said we’re going after this axis of evil. We’re going to start off with Iraq.
Was that a decision you’re comfortable with or do you think we still should have stuck with - to our guns and going after Osama bin Laden and tracked down the killers?
CLINTON: Well, Chris, I think we can do more than one thing at a time.
MATTHEWS: But what should we have given precedence to?
CLINTON: Well I think that the idea, as I understand, and have studied this with the administration, is that they believe that they were on the road to routing al Qaeda. We now unfortunately know that it’s likely bin Laden is still alive, and as that sends a signal to not only the al Qaeda network, but want-to-be terrorists around the world that you know we haven’t gotten him, so the job is not done.
The attempted linkage between Iraq and what happened to us on September 11 has never been proven, but there is a very strong argument that any rogue state, particularly one headed by a person of such megalomania and a history of gross miscalculation, like Saddam Hussein, in this new world where you’ve got organized terrorists with money and means and global reach, who could therefore get access to weapons of mass destruction, means that we have to put some attention there. I don’t think it can be either or. Now you know I voted for the Iraqi resolution, and it was a very difficult vote for me.
No, you know I think - I think - I think that it was a very, very difficult vote, and it is the kind...
MATTHEWS: Do you think you might be proven wrong?
CLINTON: I’ll tell you, up until this point, I believe that what we did in the Congress helped to move the Security Council to a 15-0 vote, and the reintroduction of the inspectors. That’s what I thought we needed to do first, so I don’t think up until this point. Now the real issue is what does the administration do with the inspectors, and are they going to take whatever happens in the slightest bit that is possibly confrontational or...
CLINTON: ... provocative as an excuse...
MATTHEWS: But what’s to stop...
CLINTON: ... for military action.
MATTHEWS: ... the president now? You gave him a blank check. I read the resolution, the provision is clear. He can do anything he wants under the provision you agreed to, to protect the United States security vis-a-vis Iraq. It’s an absolute blank check. You can give speeches now. He can go to war and you can’t stop him because of what you signed.
CLINTON: Well, but Chris...
MATTHEWS: Doesn’t that put you in a dangerous position...
MATTHEWS: ... as an opponent of the war?
CLINTON: You know I have to tell you, from my perspective and having spent, you know, eight years on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, we have one president and one...
MATTHEWS: Yes, but you were elected to...
MATTHEWS: ... be at the other end...
CLINTON: Wait a minute.
MATTHEWS: ... of Pennsylvania Avenue.
MATTHEWS: You were elected to represent the people of...
MATTHEWS: ... New York State...
CLINTON: That’s right...
MATTHEWS: ... not the White House...
MATTHEWS: ... because it’s an institution you’re familiar with.
CLINTON: But I think I have a very...
CLINTON: I think I have a very particular perspective, which leads me to believe that supporting the president at that time was in America’s national interest.
Now I have no way of determining how they will use that authority and when I spoke on the floor before casting that vote, I said this is not a vote for preemption. This is not a vote for going to war and skipping putting together an alliance and getting the United Nations behind us, which I think would be grave errors.
Now so far, as you well know, because you have been an outspoken and very eloquent critic of the administration’s policy here, so far Secretary Powell has been able to move the administration despite the hawks within it and those who came into office looking to remove Saddam Hussein...
MATTHEWS: Here’s where we do agree.
CLINTON: ... into a position where it is a much more reasonable approach than we had before.
MATTHEWS: You are very concerned. You said in that very dramatic speech you gave before you cast your vote on the floor of the Senate. You said this is not a vote for any new doctrine of preemption.
Tell me about your vote on preemption. This new doctrine, if we’re going to strike first, even if we think they might someday in 10 years come at us, we’re going at them now.
CLINTON: Well I think it’s a very dangerous idea to put into a doctrine, and I don’t think it even needs to be articulated. If, for example, we knew that Saddam Hussein was within days, weeks...
MATTHEWS: Oh yes.
CLINTON: ... months of acquiring nuclear power, that would not be to me preemption. That would be defensive. That would be acting in our self-interest. When I went and looked at all the evidence we had, there is no linkage with al Qaeda despite...
CLINTON: ... the administration’s tortured logic to the contrary. There is, however, a very clear-there’s a very clear history and intention of not only building stockpiles and adding to what they already have of biological and chemical weaponry, but attempting to obtain nuclear capacity. And when I talked to the AEI people, you know the Atomic Energy Institute people and the like, and I said well, what do you mean? How far are we away from that? They said, you know, six months to seven years. Six months is a very short time period. So...
CLINTON: ... from my perspective, preemption is not a doctrine, it is an excuse and it should not be part of American foreign policy. We should continue to act according to our values and in your words in your latest book, as you quote both George Washington and Colin Powell, we should be reluctant warriors. Part of the genius of our country and our democracy is we have never wanted to dominate other people and for this administration - no...
MATTHEWS: We’ll get back to that because I agree with her on that.
CLINTON: ... no, for the - for this administration to put into writing an idea that we have to be globally dominant sends the wrong message to a lot of people who want to be partners in building a better world and...
CLINTON: ... acting on the values that are in the best of America.
MATTHEWS: Anybody wants to argue with that get in line and ask a question. Back with Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States senator from New York.
MATTHEWS: We’re back with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. We’re at the University at Albany. You just saw that-that reminds me of the old days. Let’s go to-we’re going to take the questions right after we do this, but we’re going to do like we always do, we’re going to hit some domestic issues, interesting New York State issues.
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MATTHEWS: We’re going to deal with this. OK, you know, I get the message. We got the message. You know, it’s something we try to do here is-get in line and ask some questions. Let me ask you this about some domestic issues in New York State. This state is always the sort of the social beginnings of so much in this country.
People come here, a lot of immigrants. The “New York Times” recently began posting the celebrations of gay unions. Not just straight people getting married, but gay people who want to announce their unions. Do you think New York State should recognize gay marriage?
MATTHEWS: No? OK. Would you - let’s talk about - I’m going to run through these and then we’re going to this kid right here. Would you apply an abortion litmus test when reviewing judicial nominees, especially the Supreme Court? Would you insist that a person be pro-choice before you accepted them?
CLINTON: I would insist that a person follow the judicial precedent, and I believe that Roe v. Wade was an appropriately decided decision, and that would play a role in my...
MATTHEWS: And if somebody stood up there like Bork or someone else or Scalia and said I think that should be reviewed, you would say?
CLINTON: I would say, you know, it depends upon the person’s record, but if they had a record of what I consider kind of a radical, non-mainstream judicial philosophy, I don’t think that that’s appropriate. I think we need to...
CLINTON: ... have judges who follow precedent.
MATTHEWS: Would you filibuster a nominee who was pro-life?
CLINTON: No, it would depend upon who the nominee was. And there, you know, remember, Mario Cuomo, who...
CLINTON: ... was at one time considered for the Supreme Court, and is a staunch Catholic and...
CLINTON: ... also because of his understanding of our constitution and our laws and individual conscience and freedom is also pro-choice, you know he is somebody who said-who’s pro-life, but wouldn’t act on it, is somebody who said look, you know, we’ve got to leave to the courts what should be the courts.
MATTHEWS: All right, but if they’re judicially-if they’re judicially and constitutionally pro-life and believed that Roe v. Wade was a bad call, a bad decision, you wouldn’t accept them.
CLINTON: I would find it difficult to vote for someone who I thought...
MATTHEWS: ... imagine.
CLINTON: ... who I thought wanted the government to interfere with the most personal of all decisions. This is something that should be left to your conscience, your religious...
CLINTON: ... beliefs, your personal decision...
MATTHEWS: Should-right now...
MATTHEWS: ... right now the constitution as written originally prohibits immigrants from running for president. You have to be native born. Would you like to see that changed, to allow an immigrant to run for president, like the new governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm?
CLINTON: Well I think that’s one of the issues we should look at.
You know nobody’s ever asked me that before. I think...
MATTHEWS: Well I just did.
CLINTON: ... we ought to consider it. Yes, well we ought to consider it.
CLINTON: I never thought about it before.
MATTHEWS: If somebody came here and they were 2 weeks old or 6 years old or 20 years old...
CLINTON: Right. They’re Americans.
MATTHEWS: ... allowed to be president?
CLINTON: They’re absolutely Americans.
MATTHEWS: Should Arnold Schwarzenegger be able to be president?
CLINTON: Well now, we have to think about that.
MATTHEWS: In general terms, would you like to see the constitution reopened in that area and they reexamine and review...
CLINTON: You know I’m very reluctant to have the constitution reopened because unfortunately, there are a lot of...
CLINTON: ... very powerful interest groups who would do a lot of damage to what our founders tried to set up. So...
MATTHEWS: ... no to immigrant presidents and no to gay marriages.
CLINTON: Well I believe in civil unions. I believe in domestic partnerships. I think marriage has both, you know, has a different meaning and I think...
MATTHEWS: But you would recognize the union in New York State?
CLINTON: Yes, unions and domestic partnerships...
MATTHEWS: OK. Great.
CLINTON: ... yes.
MATTHEWS: Thank you very much Hillary Rodham Clinton. More questions coming right back.
MATTHEWS: Well, those-look at those great looking cheerleaders down here. They’re ready to join us later. Look at those ladies on the first row. I’m very impressed, and they’re going to be up here in just a minute - there they are. Let’s go to serious questions-first question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Clinton, do you feel that the talk from the Bush administration has been too eager, almost ominously headed toward war against Iraq, despite the fact that inspections haven’t even begun?
CLINTON: Yes, I do, and what worries me is that this kind of talk has been going on for quite some time, and you know, I think, you know, carry a big stick is one thing, but to talk all the time like you are inviting war, that you’re anxious to go to war, I think does a great disservice to our nation, and I just don’t agree with that approach.
MATTHEWS: Do you think that the real motive here is the weapons of mass destruction, or do you think they just want to go get Saddam for a lot of reasons?
CLINTON: I think there are a lot of reasons. I mean it is clear that a lot of people in this administration have some old scores to settle...
CLINTON: ... with Saddam Hussein. But I cannot discount the potential threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of somebody who has repeatedly demonstrated that he will do anything in order to keep and maintain his power. So it is-if you look at the world today, we have tyrants in other places, we have rogue nations. We don’t have anybody who combines all of those characteristics with his megalomania and his willingness to use those...
CLINTON: ... weapons.
MATTHEWS: ... thank you, senator. We’re going to have more with Senator Hillary Clinton and her prescription for the Democratic comeback that she sees coming very quickly.
And Jack Welch is going to be here December 4. The former - how dare you - the former leader of GE. He’ll be here on HARDBALL’s “College Tour”. Right back from Chicago.
MATTHEWS: This half-hour on HARDBALL, the University at Albany with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on why the Democrats were beaten so badly this November, but first the news.
MATTHEWS: We’re back with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a woman who arouses passions on both sides of the political spectrum. Is that true. I mean, people like this really love you, right?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D) NEW YORK: Or?
MATTHEWS: Or other people don’t. When you get-I never thought of this, but you walk onto like an airplane, a commercial airplane and you know you’re in first class, sometimes. You’re probably mostly in first class.
CLINTON: I’m on a shuttle.
MATTHEWS: The shuttle. Most of the people up front are Republicans, we know that right. You know that’s true. It’s like most people late for the movies are Democrats. Let me ask you this. Do you get a kind of look like that first look when somebody sees you, they go oh, my god and then people go wow? What’s it like to have that off again-on again thing every time you meet somebody new? Because the polls show this tremendous polarization on you, tremendous. You’re like the voodoo doll for conservatives.
CLINTON: They have made a lot of money off of me over the years. But I just have a great time. I’m loving what I’m doing. I love representing the people of New York. It’s the greatest place in the world, and I get to see a lot of people all over who care about the same things I do.
MATTHEWS: Do you think if people really, really knew you, the conservatives, I mean, the people on the right, the Limbaugh fans, if they really, really knew you would they really, really like you or really, really, really hate you?
CLINTON: I don’t have any idea.
MATTHEWS: OK, let me ask you, enough psycho babble. Let me ask this question. This is so pertinent, we cannot skip it.
MATTHEWS: If former Vice President Al Gore seeks the Democratic nomination and announces it this coming January as he said he will make an announcement one way or the other, will you support his candidacy?
CLINTON: I’m a very good friend of Al Gore and Tipper Gore and I’m going to wait and see whether he decides to run. I think that has to be his decision. It’s so personal and I’m going to support whoever the Democratic nominee is.
MATTHEWS: If I have a really, really good friend, as you’ve described Al Gore to me, a really, really good friend, and he was telling me I’m thinking of running for president, I’ll announce in January.
CLINTON: He hasn’t said that to me.
MATTHEWS: But if he did announce that, say I’m with you before hand. I would wait and say well, if you run I’ll be with you. You’ll say, I’m with you buddy all the way? What have you said to him?
CLINTON: He hasn’t talked to me about it.
MATTHEWS: He hasn’t solicited your support?
CLINTON: No. I think he has now on several occasions in media interviews, you know, said this is a very personal decision. They’re going to make it over I guess the holidays, and then he’ll let the world know.
MATTHEWS: OK come January 6 or so when I think he’s going to make his announcement, will you support him then?
CLINTON: You know, I’m going to Hawaii.
MATTHEWS: OK. But you will-as he will make a decision, you will make a decision whether to endorse him or not at that point?
CLINTON: No, Chris, I don’t endorse the Democratic primaries.
MATTHEWS: So this whole conversation is meaningless because you will not endorse him not matter what I ask or how I ask it. You will not endorse anybody.
CLINTON: I am not going to endorse anybody.
MATTHEWS: You endorsed your husband.
CLINTON: Yes and I would again too.
MATTHEWS: And he was a really, really good friend.
CLINTON: He was a really good friend.
MATTHEWS: But that doesn’t help here. Why are you shying (ph) back from a guy you spent eight years with?
CLINTON: No, no, it’s not that at all. It’s the same thing that I did here in New York. I know everybody in the Democratic party who runs for anything and they are a lot of them good friends of mine and they bring a lot of strengths and qualities to the offices they seek.
MATTHEWS: So you’d alienate these guys if you endorsed Gore.
CLINTON: Well, it’s not only that, I want to be there on the day our
nominee is picked and do everything I can to help that person win because I
think there’s going to be a lot of issues, both domestically and
MATTHEWS: So you’re going to wait. You’re going to wait all the way to the convention, all the way to the convention (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and you’re not going to endorse Gore.
CLINTON: We’re going to have our nominee by March, a little over a year from now.
MATTHEWS: Is this up in the air right now? Is this up in the air who is going to win this thing or does Gore have the lock? Has he got the lead locked up?
CLINTON: Well, I think he certainly is going to go in with a big head start if he runs, because look, he has worked hard. He was a great vice president. He brought a lot to the table during eight very successful years of the Clinton-Gore presidency. He won the popular vote. We all know that. I think he’s going to bring a lot to the table.
MATTHEWS: You said-was he elected president or was he selected president? Which is-I heard something you said something the other day in L.A. somewhere. Do you believe he was elected president or he was selected president?
CLINTON: What’s an S between friends?
MATTHEWS: OK. In other words, you’re still hedging.
CLINTON: No, I’m not hedging.
MATTHEWS: Was he elected president-was Bush elected president?
CLINTON: The election is over.
MATTHEWS: But was Bush elected president?
CLINTON: You know, he was elected president under our system and that’s what we abide by and that’s what makes us great.
MATTHEWS: Well said. Why did the Democratic party get beaten so badly, even losing your United States Senate, when everybody thought, that would be one body you’d hold?
CLINTON: I think there were be a lot of reasons, but it mostly had to do about the intense efforts that the president put in the security issues not only in the war against terror but also with respect to Iraq and so it created a lot of anxiety in the country and a lot of people...
MATTHEWS: Excuse me, miss, miss. You with the flag. You with the flag. Do you have ears or just a mouth? Come here. Come here. You with the flag, come here. Come here.
MATTHEWS: Miss, please come up. This is a town meeting, you’re allowed to speak, but don’t give me any more songs. Words, speak in prose, what is your concern? Speak in prose. What’s your concern?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My concern is that on October 22, where were you when (UNINTELLIGIBLE) when you promised you would send your inspectors in to see what was going on?
MATTHEWS: OK, thank you very much for coming up. Thank you. Do you want to respond on that?
CLINTON: I’ll have to look into it (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you.
CLINTON: I’ll have to look into it.
MATTHEWS: Let’s go. OK. Let me ask you about-it’s a great country. Let me ask you this about Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe, great fund raiser, should he be the spokesperson for the Democratic national party? Is he a good symbol, an emblem of your party for this coming fight in the year 2004?
CLINTON: He certainly is one of them, but he is not as the chair of the Democratic party supposed to develop and deliver the message as to what the Democratic party...
MATTHEWS: Has anyone told him that? Every time there’s a news item, he’s got an official Democratic statement from the chair of the Democratic party. He puts it out. Should he stop?
CLINTON: No. Not at all. You know, part of the reason the Democratic party is the longest lasting political party in the history of the world despite ups and downs which we have suffered, is because we do have diversity of opinions and we have a lot of people who stand up and are willing to speak out on the issues they care about, and it’s very important to me that we continue to do that, that we support that.
MATTHEWS: Do you think it’s-do you think it’s smart for a party to pick fund raisers as chair people?
CLINTON: You know, look, I think there are three major jobs that you have to do in a political campaign, and in a political movement. You’ve got to have money in our system. You’ve got to have the mechanics to get the vote out and you’ve got to have a message and from my perspective, he’s done a great job on those things.
MATTHEWS: You know, this is really wild. You know, we’ve got one person out here who is against the war. We’ve spoken about the war, we’ve spoken about this guy, we’ve spoken to this guy.
CLINTON: But you know, Chris. Look, I think it’s great that there’s so much energy and enthusiasm and, you know, opinions. For a long time people were saying that our campuses were dead. They didn’t care about issues. We now have people on our campuses who are willing to express themselves. See, that’s what you’ve done, it’s just been since you’ve done the college tour.
MATTHEWS: I think it’s great - how many people here want this to go on and how many hear what’s going on here? Look, we’re going to go to break. We’re coming right back to hear all these points of view. Every point of view will be heard here at the HARDBALL college tour with Hillary Rodham Clinton, standing up against the noise makers. Back in a moment.
MATTHEWS: We’re back at the University of Albany up in upstate New York. We had a little bit of a revisit from the 1960’s. We may have more tonight. But it’s great to have you here. Let’s go to some regular questions here. You first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Clinton, what do you think the Democrats should do to win back Congress in 2004 and do you think that includes being more outspoken on Bush’s foreign policy?
CLINTON: I think it includes making very clear where we agree and disagree with the president, and I have serious disagreements on the way the economy is being handled which I think is absolutely going in the wrong direction. I worry about the policies of this administration when it comes to education and health care and the environment are absolutely going in the wrong direction. And on international issues, I think we need a good debate and I appreciate a good debate, because that’s what America is really founded on, our free people expressing their opinions. This administration is I believe trying to quell disagreement, trying to intimidate people from expressing their opinions and trying to control information which I don’t agree with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Clinton, do you think it’s actually possible in today’s society for a female president to be elected?
CLINTON: Well, that’s going to be up to the American people. I think in our country we should believe that an individual is judged on his or her merits and there are many capable women serving in both public and private life in high leadership positions. So I hope that when the time comes and someone does offer herself, that she’ll be judged on what kind of president she would be and not how she wears her hair or hat her clothes are, things like that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, Senator Clinton. I would like to know what are your personal views on reparations and affirmative action?
CLINTON: Well, you know, I think that-my husband summed up affirmative action absolutely the right way when he said, Mend it, don’t end it. There are ways of making sure that the pipeline is filled with people who are willing to work hard and do what it takes to be successful in our society, but we still have to look for these people and oftentimes it means making sure that you know, we really do help people get to the starting line with good preschool education, good health care, good support. We’ve got to make work pay so that working families are able to raise their children in dignity and send their children off into the world with the advantages we should expect in America. So I think that there is still room in our society for recognizing that not everybody has the same chances as everyone else.
MATTHEWS: What about reparations?
CLINTON: No, I don’t support reparations. I believe that reparations however raises a very important issue, which is how do we keep trying to make our country the more perfect union with the opportunities that all Americans should have as part of their legacy as Americans.
MATTHEWS: Wasn’t reconstruction a disaster because they never really finished the job of giving a black man a role in American society back in the 19th century?
CLINTON: There’s a lot of arguments you can have about reconstruction and clearly there was a backlash which interrupted the flow of American history toward equality and we didn’t get back to that business until the 1950’s and ’60s.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I’m interested in a future in politics and I would like to know as a woman what is it like to be a senator in the U.S. Senate, especially representing a very powerful state as New York state?
CLINTON: It is wonderful. It is absolutely the greatest honor and privilege. You know, there are some things that are totally the same, whether you’re a man or a woman in the Senate. You’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to educate yourself. You have to make tough decisions. You can’t please everybody. You’ve got to live with yourself so you wake up in the morning and you say I’ve got to do what I think is right and then have the energy and the intellectual commitment to defend it.
But there are some things that are different, and the women in the Senate, there are 13 of us now, we’re going to have another woman join us, we spend a lot of time supporting each other because there still are differences about you know, what’s expected of you, and the kinds of issues that we want to give emphasis and priorities to, so it’s a great, great opportunity.
MATTHEWS: What does it mean to say did you ever pick your nose at Poughkeepsie?
CLINTON: I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: What does it mean? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Next question.
CLINTON: I have no idea. Maybe somebody does.
MATTHEWS: It’s Popeye Doyle’s question in the “French Connection.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all...
MATTHEWS: It’s a New Yorker thing. Just kidding.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, senator, on behalf of the faculty, students and staff at the University of Albany, I would like to apologize for what just happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And my question is, senator and my question is senator, we’ve recently had a lot of education budget cuts on the state level that have affected tab (ph) as well as e.o.p. (ph) I’m wondering what as a U.S. senator you plan to do on the federal level to possibly compensate for these budget cuts?
CLINTON: I really am glad you asked that and thank you, but I am just so happy to be here at this great university. It’s my privilege and pleasure, thank you very much. And you know, let me-let me say that I am very concerned about what’s happening to our budget here in the state, and I hope that despite the very tough decisions that have to be made here in the state capitol, we do not cut assistance to students. I think the best investment we can make is making sure students can afford to go to college.
MATTHEWS: Are you still-back in 1998, senator, you supported the - you said it will be in the long-term interest of the middle east for Palestine to be a state. Are you still there on that, they need to have a state?
CLINTON: Eventually, there is going to have to be.
MATTHEWS: Do you want them to have a state?
CLINTON: So does the president. So does everyone now. Everyone recognizes that.
MATTHEWS: So you trust the president on this? You trust that crowd in the White House to make Palestine a state?
CLINTON: Well, it doesn’t appear that they are really committed to any kind of process.
MATTHEWS: Well, Rumsfeld’s against it.
CLINTON: Well, the process has to be one where the parties themselves
reach agreement and I think -
MATTHEWS: But you are in principle for the Palestinian state.
CLINTON: But I’m also for the security of Israel and absolutely secure borders and being able to have a situation in the middle east where both Israeli and Palestinian children can pursue their lives and their dreams in peace. That should be the...
MATTHEWS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a Palestinian state as long as there’s so many settlers living on the west bank of Israel, a lot of them from New York?
CLINTON: These are decisions, Chris, as you well know that have to be decided in a process. I think there needs to be a process again where people-that people have to, you know, figure out how they’re going to make the necessary decision to create a secure and safe future for Israel and to provide opportunities for the Palestinian people.
MATTHEWS: So Hillary Clinton is for a Palestinian state, I just want to get clear?
CLINTON: But I’m also, as I said, for safe and secure borders and for getting rid of terrorists who are going to disrupt any kind of opportunity for peace, whether in Israel or anywhere in the world.
MATTHEWS: More questions when we come back with Hillary Rodham Clinton, senator from New York.
MATTHEWS: We’re back. You know, senator, thank you. I’ve got one last question and I don’t want to rush you on it. Take a couple minutes. I heard you in the beginning, I’m serious. In the beginning you made a comment that resonated with me which is, it’s not your fear with the war. It’s what comes after with Iraq. Tell us about your fears.
CLINTON: Chris, I have no doubt about our military superiority and any military action that we undertake will be successful. But then we assume a tremendous responsibility, not just in Iraq for the future of the Iraqi people, but in the entire region. And as this administration came into office and as it has repeatedly pointed out, they don’t believe in what they called nation building. They are not in the tradition of Harry Truman and George Marshall about trying to invest in the futures of other people in order to make America safer and provide better opportunities for us. And I don’t see the level of commitment.
I’m also concerned because this will be a very expensive undertaking. Right now we’re back into deficits. Our country’s economy is stalled at best. Many of these young people are going to go out into a job market that is not producing the jobs that we need to put them to work and give them a good future. That kind of commitment requires sacrifice. This administration has not asked for one single sacrifice from anyone. And they are about to have us come back into session in January where they’re going to want to make the tax cuts permanent, where they want more tax cuts, further undermining our fiscal position. And that is something that we can’t afford.
If we’re going to fight a war because this administration believes it is necessary to disarm Saddam Hussein-and I agree with that. I do not want this man to have weaponized biological and welfare, nor nuclear weapons.
However, that is not an undertaking that comes cheaply. If you go so far into deficits as we currently are, then you’re not going to be able to fund student aid. Pell grants and other kinds of aid are not going to be fundable. You’re not going to be able to fund public education like we heard promised from this administration. We’re going to see a dramatic drop off and we’re not going to have the kind of funding and resources for homeland security to continue the fight against terrorism. So there are a lot of unanswered questions that I would like to see better answers to.
MATTHEWS: You talked in your speech on the floor about before you cast your vote about the hatred, the enabled hatred that led to what happened September 11 in this state at the New York trade center. Do you think that going to war with Iraq will increase or reduce the amount of Islamic hatred towards the United States that led people to kill themselves and sing with glee as they rode into the World Trade Center?
CLINTON: Well, I think that there are many people in our world right now who are misunderstanding of our values, who don’t believe-who don’t believe what we have always been raised to believe. And I think we’ve got to do a better job to communicate.
MATTHEWS: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, thank you very much.
CLINTON: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Great to have you here. As the senator was kind enough to mention, the name of the book “American: Beyond our Grandest Notions.” It’s about for better or worse why we’re the envy of the world.
We’re also going to have Jack Welch join us on December 4 and former Vice President Albert Gore is going to be here in New York state it looks like on the 11th of December. Tomorrow, we’ve got Bob Woodward whose books are always No. 1. He’s talking about Bush and war.