Hillary Clinton photo

Interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN

February 02, 2016

BLITZER: The breaking news this hour. It's now official. Hillary Clinton has been declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses. She beat Bernie Sanders by a razor-thin margin just 0.2 of a percentage point. Her campaign claimed victory overnight but the Iowa Democratic Party has just issued the final results. They say Hillary Clinton is the winner of the Iowa caucuses. And Secretary Clinton is joining us now from Nashua, New Hampshire. Madam Secretary, thanks very much for joining us. What's your reaction to the official results now declaring you the winner of the Iowa caucuses?

CLINTON: I am so thrilled, Wolf. I feel really good and very grateful to the team I had on the ground, to the tens of thousands of Iowans who volunteered, knocked on doors, came out and caucused last night. And I could feel the energy building in the weeks leading up to the caucus. I was out there, making my case about what I want to do and what I think our country must do to get real results with more jobs, rising incomes, build on the Affordable Care Act, deal with climate change, clean energy, defend our rights, all the things I feel passionate about. And I could just watch and, in fact, in that last week I had so many people come up to me and say that they had decided to support me and it could not have been better. It was a great, great night.

BLITZER: You said last night you breathed a big sigh of relief, your words — a big sigh of relief. What did you mean by that?

CLINTON: Well, as you recall, my luck was not that good last time around. And it was wonderful to win the caucus and to have that experience of all the hard work, the grassroots organizing pay off the way it did. Now we're here in New Hampshire and we are going to have a contest of ideas. I'm looking forward to the forum tomorrow night on CNN and then a debate Thursday night, here in New Hampshire, because I think that Democratic voters and other Americans want to know what are the principal differences between me and my friend and opponent, Senator Sanders. And I want to get that information out there. I think it's important people understand that good ideas are one thing but you got to know how to implement. You've got to have a record of getting results. And I'm taking my ideas and my record to the people of New Hampshire this week.

BLITZER: The Sanders campaign says they won't have this debate Thursday night with you unless you agree to a subsequent debate before the New York primary in New York City. Are you willing to agree to that?

CLINTON: Well, you know, Wolf, this is really hard to follow because, when we said we would do the debate, they came back with conditions. We met the conditions. Then they said they want different conditions. And we've tried to be very accommodating but, you know, we have agreed with everything that they have asked us to do. And I sure hope — we're in Bernie Sanders' backyard here in New Hampshire. I sure hope he intends to show up in his neighboring state and let the people of New Hampshire see us both on the debate stage.

BLITZER: Well, just to press the point, the debate in New York City that they want, are you accepting that?

CLINTON: No. We've accepted all of their conditions. We did that last week. And they keep trying to add new conditions, which, you know, raises questions about how ready or willing they are to debate here in New Hampshire. We met their conditions. We agreed to more debates, something that I wanted to do because I think it's great to debate and we're ready. I'm going to be there Thursday night.

BLITZER: All right. Let's move on. The senator's campaign — they want to do not necessarily a recount but they want to check the voting in Iowa. Is that OK with you?

CLINTON: You know, look, I — they — I can say that I believe the Democratic Party of Iowa ran a good caucus from everything that our people told me. There was an enormous turnout, which everybody said would tremendously favor Senator Sanders. If there are legitimate issues, both sides, I don't think the Democratic Party has any problems with that. But from everything we have learned and know, I won and I'm very proud of that.

BLITZER: Back in 2008, as you well remember, you lost Iowa but then you came back to win New Hampshire. This time you won Iowa. Can you win New Hampshire one week from today?

CLINTON: Well, I think it's certainly what I'm aiming for. I care a lot about this state. I view it as being the first-in-the-nation primary for a reason. I know that they tend to favor their neighbors. That's the pattern, the history of the primary. And Senator Sanders is a neighbor. But I think we will have a good contest, talking about what results we can produce, what our records have been, both in domestic policy, foreign policy, national security and I think the people of New Hampshire will get a chance to really evaluate both of us. And I feel good about my prospects.

BLITZER: You described yourself in your speech last night as a progressive that gets things done. Are you suggesting Bernie Sanders — he may be a progressive but he can't get things done?

CLINTON: I'm talking about my record. I'm talking about the Children's Health Insurance Program for 8 million kids. I'm talking about getting health care for National Guard members. I'm talking about helping to push through a treaty to lower nuclear weapons between us and the Russians when I was secretary of state. I'm talking about building the coalition against Iran to bring them to the negotiating table and so many other issues. I have a very long record of getting results for people. That's what I care about. You know, I am all for laying out our ideology, talking about our ideas. I think that's great and it gives you the direction that you want to head. But at the end of the day, what matters to me is that we move our country forward. We actually get more good jobs with rising incomes. We get equal pay for women. We actually begin to move toward early childhood education and paid family leave. And we are ready to really go into the rest of the 21st century with the kind of confidence and optimism that I think our country should be having. So I'm going to lay out my record, lay out my ideas and Senator Sanders can certainly lay out his own and we'll leave it up to the people of New Hampshire to decide what they think is the best choice for them and their families and the results they want to see for themselves in our country.

BLITZER: As you know, according to the entrance polls in Iowa, Bernie Sanders did a lot better than you did with younger voters, younger men and even younger women. Why do you think is he doing so well with younger voters out there?

CLINTON: I'm thrilled to see so many young people get into the political process and I was very proud of all the young people who worked for me, volunteered for me, supported me. That's all to the good and it's great for the Democratic Party. But I'm going to have some work to do to reach out to young voters, maybe first-time voters, who have to make a tough decision as they evaluate who should be our president, our commander in chief, and I intend to do that, laying out my case, where we contrast on the issues, what I think can be done to get college to be affordable. I think my plan is going to really help the people who need it most without ballooning costs. I'm going to set forth my plan to refinance student debt, a problem I hear throughout New Hampshire and the country and why I think my plan will help more young people really get started with their lives. The emphasis I want to make on small business, my call that young people join our campaign and then be part of making us the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. And let's defend our rights. I am very proud that I got the endorsement of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, that I got the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, that I got the endorsement of The Brady Campaign and Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly and so many others, because they know me and they know what I have done. They know the kind of leader I am. And I want young people to know that as well.

BLITZER: As you know, Marco Rubio did rather well, coming in at an impressive third place in the Iowa Republican caucuses just behind Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz won Iowa. What do you think about the possibility, if you do get the Democratic nomination, of running against Senator Rubio in a general election?

CLINTON: You know, Wolf, I'm not thinking that far ahead. My timeframe is next Tuesday and the primary in New Hampshire and then I'll go on to the caucuses in Nevada and the primary at the end of the month in South Carolina and then to the states that lie ahead. I'm going let the Republicans, you know, decide who their nominee will be. I will be prepared to run against and win, no matter who they nominate. I think, as everybody is well aware, I am pretty battle tested. It's important to have gone through this, to know what the Republicans will do. They're already running $6 million of ads against me along with their, you know, Wall Street buddies. And so they know who they don't want to be the Democratic nominee. And I take that as perversely flattering because they also know that I mean what I say and I'll do what I have said, to make sure that they don't ever wreck our economy again. So I'm going take them on as I have over the years and then, when I win, I will certainly reach out, work with them and find common ground wherever we can.

BLITZER: Madam Secretary, thanks very much for joining us. Congratulations on your win in Iowa.

CLINTON: Thank you so much, Wolf. Great to talk to you again.

BLITZER: Thank you.

Hillary Clinton, Interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/312400

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