Hillary Clinton photo

Interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News "This Week"

February 07, 2016

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're joined now by his [Sanders] opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She joins us now from Manchester, as well. Madam Secretary, thank you for joining us this morning. So you have had your own turn on "Saturday Night Live." How did he do?

CLINTON: Well, I didn't get to see it, but it's always a fun experience. I'm sure he did great. You know, it's a wonderful forum. It's a crash course in trying to figure out how to do live TV. And I had a great time doing it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We also had, of course, the Republican debate last night here at St. Anselm's. And Marco Rubio called you out on the issue of abortion. Take a look.

[begin video clip]

MARCO RUBIO: Why doesn't the media ask Hillary Clinton why she believes that all abortions should be legal, even on the due date of that unborn child? Why don't they ask Hillary Clinton why she believes that partial birth abortion, which is a gruesome procedure that has been outlawed in this country, she thinks that's a fundamental right. They are the extremists when it comes to the issue of abortion and I can't wait to expose them in a general election.

[end video clip]

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you going to get exposed in a general election?

CLINTON: You know, George, I — it's really quite sad to see what Senator Rubio is becoming in this campaign. Everybody understands that he is diving as far right as he possibly can. You know, I've been on record for many years about where I stand on abortion, how it should be safe and legal and I have the same position that I've had for a very long time. But what's really going on here is an effort by the Republicans to keep pushing as far as they can to overturn "Roe v. Wade," to defund Planned Parenthood, to make accusations and attacks that are really extreme...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But are there any...

CLINTON: — and I — I think the Amer...

STEPHANOPOULOS: — restrictions you would accept on late-term abortions?

CLINTON: Well, you know, I've been on the record on this for a long time. You know, I think that the life and health of the mother, obviously, rape and incest, have to be always taken into account. And, you know, when he raises the, you know, very, very difficult issue of late-term abortion, he conveniently overlooks the fact that there are medical reasons, there are health-related reasons. I've met women who have had to face this excruciating choice. This is not something that anyone that I've ever met with enters into without the deepest thought, the most careful consideration. And I remember at an event back in the '90s, where, you know, we sat and talked with some of the women who had to make a very hard decision. You know, it's — it's just so unfortunate that politicians like Senator Rubio are trying to politicize these kinds of very difficult concerns.


CLINTON: And I don't think he should be allowed to get away with that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You had your own debate with Bernie Sanders this week, as well. And he challenged — you challenged him to come up with evidence that contributions from Wall Street ever influenced your positions. He and his team have circulated the charge from Elizabeth Warren, who said you changed your position on the bankruptcy bill back in 2001 because of contributions. Here's what Senator Warren had to say.

[begin video clip]

ELIZABETH WARREN: One of the first bills that came up after she was Senator Clinton was the bankruptcy bill.


WARREN: She voted in favor of it. She has taken money from the groups. And more to the point, she worries about them as a constituency.

[end video clip]

STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you respond to that charge?

CLINTON: Well, I'm glad you asked me about it, because this is one of these, you know, innuendo insinuation charges that the Sanders campaign is engaging in.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that was Senator Warren, though.

CLINTON: If you — no, but — but I know. But if you had played the entire quote, you know, what you would have heard her say, she and I worked together in 2000 to stop a bankruptcy bill that we both believed was very harmful. When I got to the Senate in 2001, one of the first big votes there was on a version of the bankruptcy bill and I was deluged by women's groups and children's advocates groups to do everything I could to make sure that child support and women's precarious financial situation in case of divorce or not being able to get the kind of funding they needed from a partner or a spouse in bankruptcy would not be endangered. And it was. The current — that bill was making it a very low priority. So I did go to work on behalf of all these women's groups and children's groups because they needed a champion. And I got that bill changed. And in return, it had nothing to do with any money whatsoever — and I resent deeply any effort by the Sanders campaign to so imply...


CLINTON: It had to do with trying to get a deal...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's not what...

CLINTON: — that would protect women. But now let me finish, George, because this has been bandied about and I just want to set the record straight. And so then three years later, part of the — part of what Senator — Senator Warren said, you played. You didn't play the whole thing, because we've been allies. I faced a tough decision and I stood up for women and children. I went to the Senate floor, said that was exactly what I was doing. Then the bill did not pass. It never became law. And then when the next bill came up, 2005, women's issues were taken care of because I had made that a point back in 2001. And so then I was against that bill. I didn't get a chance to actually vote against it because Bill was in the hospital having a heart procedure. But I put a statement out. I was against it. So I'm happy to set this record straight. And I really want to, once again, call out the Sanders campaign, which claims they like to run a positive campaign. But they have been quite artful in raising questions and trying to cast doubts about my record. And I really am not going to sit and take it anymore —


CLINTON: I have a public record. I have never, ever been influenced in a view or a vote by anyone who has given me any kind of money. So I'm just going to keep setting the record straight.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But in her book, Senator Warren said the bill was essentially the same but Hillary Clinton — Hillary Rodham Clinton was not. Big banks were now part of Secretary Clinton's consistency. She wanted their support. They wanted hers, including —

CLINTON: George, look, I — look, I have the greatest — I have the greatest respect for Senator Warren. As I said, we did work together. I faced a choice. I could have said to the women who have been my advocates for 30 years, I'm sorry; I'm now in the Senate. But you know, I can't help you. Nobody else is helping them. They were desperate to get help. They were afraid that child support was going to be below credit card debt, that they were going to be really left out and left behind and badly damaged. I could have said, you know, I can't do that because somebody in 10 years might say that, you know, something else is going on. That's not the way I work. So they came to me; I said this is outrageous. I went to the floor. I lobbied to get a change. And as part of getting that change from both Democrats and Republicans, who were leading that legislation, they said if we change this bill at the last minute to take account of these issues you're raising about women and children, which they had not clearly made a priority before I showed up, then you know, you have to say you'll vote for it. It was — you know, look, that's what you have to do. I swallowed hard; I said OK. But it was also the case it didn't get passed. So I got what I needed into the bill. It stayed in the bill, even in the bad version that I posed in 2005. So thanks for the opportunity to set the record straight.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In the debate the other night, you said you'd look into whether or not to release the transcripts of your speeches to financial groups. Have you made up your mind?

CLINTON: Yes, you know, here's another thing I want to say. Let everybody who's ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances release them. We'll all release them at the same time. You know, I don't mind being the subject in Republican debates, the subject in the Democratic primary. That kind of goes with the territory. I've been around long enough. But at some point, you know, these rules need to apply to everybody. And there are a bunch of folks, including, you know, my opponent, who's given, you know, speeches to groups and people on the other side who've given speeches to groups. Let — if this is now going to be a new standard so then it should apply to everybody and then I'll be happy to look into it further.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Madam Secretary, thanks very much for your time this morning.

CLINTON: Great to talk to you, George, thanks.

Hillary Clinton, Interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News "This Week" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/312370

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