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Larry King Live Weekend

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton In Her Own Words

Aired January 6, 2001 - 9:00 p.m. ET

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

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in her own words: Highlights from our conversations with the most controversial woman in American politics. Next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Thanks for joining us.

We saw history made this week in the U.S. Senate. Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first first lady ever to be sworn in as an elected official.

I've had a chance to interview her a number of times over the years. The first opportunity, October of '93, shortly after her congressional testimony about health care reform. She wowed a lot of people with that appearance, though that plan ultimately flopped. Mrs. Clinton was still settling into life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when she sat down with me in the Vermeil Room of the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, OCTOBER 2, 1993)

KING: Do you get to feel like this is your house?

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes.

KING: You do?

CLINTON: Yes.

KING: So it's not like you're renting here?

CLINTON: Well, it is public housing and so we are the tenants, but it is a place that overwhelms you. Every time you walk in, it makes you feel so proud and humble, I guess, but it's also our home and so we've worked hard to be make it that way.

KING: Nancy Reagan said to me the biggest surprise about this whole thing to her was that it wasn't Sacramento, that the press, the whole thing is just a whole different ball game, and being a governor's wife is not preparation for it. True?

CLINTON: True, that's very true, and, you know, you can imagine if Mrs. Reagan didn't think it was preparation being in California what I must have felt like coming from Arkansas where we knew everybody and where we could, you know, lead our own lives. I could drive my own car. I could go to work. I could take my daughter shopping. We had could go to a movie, and even if you think you have an idea what it's like because you've looked from afar and you watch a president and his family until you actually experience it, you don't really understand it.

KING: And what don't you like about it?

CLINTON: I don't like feeling confined, so that my movements are pretty much restricted; that I'm supposed to, you know, be driven places and I'm supposed to, you know, kind of have this protective security around me.

KING: It's 2:30. We'll go down here, then you'll turn left, then you'll turn right. This is Mr. Morris. Say hello.

CLINTON: Yes, I've tried to really limit that and both the president and I have worked hard on that. So, you know, we do try to keep in touch with our friends. We try to go out with people. We try to have as normal a life as possible, but there is no denying that it's very different.

KING: The Roosevelt kids, I got to know them all, said it is a tough place to grow up for a kid. This is not a kid's place. How's your daughter handling it?

CLINTON: She's doing pretty well, but this is not a kid's place and you have to work very hard to make it a good environment for a child. So she has her friends over; lots of overnights; lots of people and,girls, you know, going up and down the hallways and doing funny things that kids do, and we've tried very hard, as you know, to keep her out of the public eye; to try to give her a chance to have a lifetime with...

KING: How do you do that, though? I mean, like, she has friends come over?

CLINTON: Yes, she has friends come over -- lots of friends come over. She goes over to friends' houses...

KING: But there are Secret Service guys outside the house if she's there. It ain't a normal pillow party.

CLINTON: No, it's not normal, but it's as normal as we can make it and we're going to work very hard to keep it that way.

KING: What did you use to do that you can't do anymore that you miss the most?

CLINTON: Get in my car with my daughter, go to a store or go to a mall and spend a couple of hours just wandering around having a good time; stop and maybe having a cup of hot chocolate or a cookie and giggling, you know.

KING: The first lady of Arkansas could do that?

CLINTON: Yes.

KING: She could go to the mall, outside of Little Rock?

CLINTON: All the time. Went shopping all the time. No problem at all.

KING: When was the last time you drove?

CLINTON: Good question. I don't think I have driven since I've been in Washington. I have my car up here, but...

KING: Where's it parked?

CLINTON: It's parked on the grounds but I mostly let friends use it who come to visit and need a car.

KING: But you like sitting behind the wheel? You like driving?

CLINTON: Well, sure I mean...

KING: Is it impossible...

CLINTON: Well, I mean, you get in the car; you turn on the radio -- well, you've been in a car recently. You know what it's like. You know, I haven't. I can remember.

KING: I can't drive a car any more. I drive down a street it's a story.

CLINTON: Really, can you imagine? So, no, I just like to get in, turn on the radio. I have a terrible voice, but sing along with the radio; listen to you or somebody else yell at you on the radio; say, oh, that's not true and just be by yourself.

KING: What -- your first car -- we were talking about first cars. Mine was a '55 -- '53 Ford and yours was a `63 Olds.

CLINTON: Right.

KING: You were telling me you had to take the battery out.

CLINTON: Well, anybody listening to this will probably write and say, you know, this just shows you how crazy she is. My car had personality, my first car, and I was in law school and my car had a battery that did not like to be left in the car overnight. It would drain out if it were, especially in the New England cold.

KING: So what did you do with it?

CLINTON: I unhooked it every night and took it to my dorm room, and kept it warm and then I put it back in the next morning. And it made a very happy battery and a car that worked.

KING: Did it have a name? I think we're losing it here. It's been a long week,

CLINTON: It did have a name. Yes, I called my car Julius.

KING: Julius.

CLINTON: Julius.

KING: Did the battery have a name?

CLINTON: No, I did not name the battery. I think it was Eveready or something like that.

KING: What's the car parked downstairs now?

CLINTON: It's an Oldsmobile.

KING: You've stayed loyal?

CLINTON: Yes, I did. I stayed loyal.

KING: New one?

CLINTON: Well, not new, no. It's about six or seven years old now.

KING: All right, that the you miss the most. What's the best part about this job?

CLINTON: The very best part is being part of doing what my husband is trying to do help the country and change it. I find that...

KING: You really feel that?

CLINTON: Oh, in my entire being I feel that. You know, I spent a lot of time working on issues that I cared about, whether it was public education or children's health or children's welfare, and I just never understood why we as a country just couldn't get it together and solve some of these problems because we were letting violence consume our kids; we were letting all kinds of things bad happen and now I begin to see people starting to work together, and, of course, I think my husband has had a lot to do with that, kind of telling people take responsibility; be hopeful, but be practical and let's move forward and so I'm thrilled by it.

KING: We'll be right back with Hillary Clinton. Don't go away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DICK ARMEY (R), TEXAS: While I don't share the chairman's joy at holding hearings on a government-run health care system, I do share his intention to make the debate and the legislative process as exciting as possible.

CLINTON: I'm sure you will do that, Mr. Armey.

ARMEY: We'll do the best we can.

CLINTON: You and Dr. Kevorkian.

ARMEY: I have been told about your charm and wit and let me say, the reports on your charm are overstated and the reports on your wit are understated.

CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, OCTOBER 2, 1993)

KING: When you assumed this job and took over, he talked about activism before; did you say to your husband give me an area of responsibility? Did you know it would be health care? How did -- why you and health?

CLINTON: Well, that's a good question, Larry.

KING: Because you're healthy.

CLINTON: Well, thank goodness I am. I, you know...

KING: But why health?

CLINTON: I think because it's an issue that my husband cares a great deal about and when he was governor, he cared a great deal about education and he asked me to work on education and we worked together. And then coming into the presidency, he knows if we don't solve our health care problems, we're not going to be able to deal with a lot of our other problems in the country. And I think he decided that he would ask me to work on this the way he'd ask me to work on education.

Now, after it happened, about a day or two later, Governor Cuomo was he here, and I love him, and he came up to me and he said, what did you do? Have a fight with your husband, and I said, you know, I feel like that may be the way some people look at it because it's a huge responsibility. But it was a real -- you know, it was a real honor for me to be asked to work on this and I've really enjoyed it.

KING: Did you know it would become as hard as it was?

CLINTON: I didn't really know what I was getting into when my husband asked me to do it. I knew it was important and I knew that it was something he cared deeply about, but the amount of time I've spent on it has, you know, really been quite extensive.

KING: There's a CNN poll, I think it may have been out today, that has you more popular than your husband, that -- this has been a heck of a week for you. How do you deal with that?

CLINTON: Well, of course I'm grateful if people think that what I'm trying to do is the right thing and helpful.

KING: Now, the poll didn't say more popular, the poll put you as smarter than your husband. Every woman would dream of that, come on!

CLINTON: Yes, but they don't know my husband...

KING: That ticks him?

CLINTON: No, not at all, doesn't bother him at all. In fact, I think one of the secrets to his success is that he is the smartest person I've ever met; and yet he's so friendly and open and such a good guy that people sometimes underestimate him. And that's not always bad in the business he's in, as we've seen in the last several years.

KING: Does he ever close the door and go (SCREAMS)

CLINTON: Sure; sure. You know, sometimes you've just got to let it out, whether it's on the golf course or listening to loud music or whatever it is. Yes, we do a lot of that together.

KING: A lot of fighting, too.

CLINTON: No.

KING: No? How does Hillary let it out?

CLINTON: Well, I like to exercise. I like to listen to music and like to listen to it loud and sing along. I really do let a lot out that way. I like to sleep and get caught up so that I, maybe, am a little better rested than I would be under stressful circumstances.

We do a lot of different things, watch a lot of movies. We're big on movies.

KING: Rental movies, or...

CLINTON: Yes -- and you know what, you've got a movie theater here in the White House.

KING: I know. You didn't know that?

CLINTON: Well I didn't know it until I got here, and it was a wonderful surprise to find a movie theater...

KING: And can you call up the company and get the latest film, right?

CLINTON: Yes, they send them to us. And we are really lucky, because we get to see movies all the time. Apparently every president has enjoyed that.

KING: We are in the first lady's, kind of, here; Jackie Kennedy's over there and Lady Bird.

CLINTON: Right; got Pat Nixon and Eleanor Roosevelt.

KING: Now Eleanor Roosevelt's over there, and you've been most compared to her. First, is that a compliment? CLINTON: Well, to me it's an honor. I don't know that I deserve it; I think she's one of the great women of American history.

KING: Read a lot about her, interviewed her once.

CLINTON: Did you, really? Oh, I'm jealous.

KING: Yes I did; I was 23 years old.

OK, and here's what she said, and I'm going to ask you to comment, because I remember it very well. She always felt that Franklin, as she called him, deserved her opinion and had to hear it. Whether she carried the day or not, when she disagreed, he should hear it. Does Hillary Clinton feel the same?

CLINTON: I agree with that. I think that there are many things I don't have an opinion about that my husband deals with every day, but there are some things I have a strong opinion about. And if he asks me or I feel very strongly about it, like most wives that I know, I will share it with him.

That doesn't mean he always does what I believe or what my opinion is, but we have a wonderful relationship going back to our days in law school where we really liked to talk with each other. And over the years we've influence each other so much by trading opinions and saying, well, why do you believe this and how did you get to that point of view.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Mrs. Clinton's years in the White House have been a real rollercoaster; types of great triumph and terrible sadness. Vince Foster's death on July 20, 1993 rocked her deeply. We talked about the tragedy in a live interview in May of 1994.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, MAY 5, 1994)

KING: We were there that night at the White House, that tragedy happened, interviewing your husband. In fact, he and I were the only two that didn't know it has happened. You knew it had happened while he was on.

CLINTON: Well, I was in Arkansas and, while he was on with you, as you remember, because you were there, Mac McClarty called to tell me what had happened and I think everyone just was in shock. I mean, you were there, you saw the faces, people were traumatized.

I mean, I was told they were crying in the hall, and just collapsed on the floor. It was a terrible, terrible experience.

KING: Were you shocked? Did you know there was something the matter?

CLINTON: No; I hadn't ever thought anything like that would happen to someone that I knew and someone who'd been such a good friend of ours for so long. And I hadn't seen nor talked to him in several weeks before it did happen. And I've talked with many people who had who also said, gee, you know, he was working hard and concerned about all the work he had to do, but nothing that really waved any flags in anybody's face.

KING: And no note leaves you with a kind of helpless feeling, doesn't it?

CLINTON: Yes; you know, I don't know if you've had friends or acquaintances who've committed suicide, but...

KING: One acquaintance, I wouldn't say friend.

CLINTON: Well, I have known a number of people, nobody as well as we knew Vince, of course; but lots of times there is no warning. Sometimes people make attempts and they want attention so that maybe they can be helped. But all too often, especially with men between about 40 and 60, as I have now learned, it is something they keep deep inside, often struggling with depression, that -- I've had a friend now come to me and tell me, I never knew before that he had contemplated suicide because of a deep depression.

And he told me that it was like being overwhelmed with blackness. Everywhere he looked he saw no way out. And, through a combination of circumstances, that didn't happen to him; but his efforts to try to explain to us what it must be like to be overcome by a deep, serious, profound depression -- I hope everybody in America learns something from this and maybe we can pick up the signals better.

KING: Your husband the other day criticized the vituperativeness that goes on in the angle. Why do you think you and him create such volatile feelings on the part of opponents? I mean, it's like hate; why do you think that?

CLINTON: Well, I think because he's really trying to change things; and I think that gets people who don't want to see anything changed -- like don't want bans on assault weapons that are going to be used to kill people -- it gets them very agitated.

So any time you really mean what you say and you stand up for it, you're going to create opposition. And if you go back and look at presidents who really made a difference, that's what happened to them.

KING: What do you make of the anger at you?

CLINTON: Oh, I think some of it is part of the fear and insecurity about what my husband's trying to do and the direction he's trying to take our country and get us all moving together again. I think some of it because I'm a kind of transition person in the history of our country.

KING: Even women?

CLINTON: Well, I think that, you know, for many women, the life that I've lead, trying to balance family and work, is what we are all trying to work out in our own lives. But we've never had somebody in my position before who had done that. And I've, you know, worked most of my life and I really believe in women having the full range of choices available to them.

I don't care what choice they make as long as they make the right choice for them; but I think some people would rather have stereotypes, it's easier that way.

KING: Our guests is the first lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Don't go away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, MAY 5, 1994)

KING: OK, Hillary, the key question is: What's with the hair? What's with the hair?

CLINTON: It's different every day.

KING: Yes, we don't know what to expect. What is today's called?

CLINTON: Well, what is today's called? It's called spray it and hope it doesn't fall in your face when you're talking to Larry.

KING: Who does -- do you have...

CLINTON: Oh, I have great help with my hair. Yes. I need help.

KING: Is this your favorite?

CLINTON: Every one is my favorite. I can't make up my mind. That's the real problem.

KING: That's the problem. How long has this been going on, Hillary? Tell us about it.

CLINTON: Ever since I was a little girl, Larry. It's been something I've struggled with all my life. I'm hoping somebody's going form a group hair anonymous I can join.

KING: And you have secret meetings and stand up...

CLINTON: Secret meetings and you stand up and you talk about your bad hair day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: A little more than two years after that exchange, the first lady sat down with me for another face to face. She had a lot more on her mind than bad hair days. Among the problems, fallout from the 1993 firing of seven people from the White House travel office.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, MAY 29, 1996)

KING: What about the allegations against you? How have you dealt with that?

CLINTON: Well, just as with these allegations against my husband. Every time there's been any kind of official investigator or report what people alleged has been proven to be not true and eventually that's what the American people will see of all of these politically inspired investigations.

KING: The Travelgate story; they were all on this show, all the travel office, and they said that their word that they got was that you wanted them out. I'd to like to hear it from you.

CLINTON: Well, I have said repeatedly ever since that happened that I had no role in the decision of getting them out of the White House, but I did express concern and I think that that concern was well-founded that if somebody anywhere in the White House were misusing funds or negligent about the use of funds that should be looked into and taken seriously.

KING: The first thing, though, is if a first lady expressions concern that might appear to an underling to mean I better take some action.

CLINTON: Well, you know, I tell the story about being in France for a state dinner and a meeting -- this was when President Mitterand was in office -- and meeting with his wife earlier in the day and at the end of the our conversation she said she felt so bad that there wouldn't be any flowers on the table at the state dinner.

And I said well why, and she said well because, you know, we were told that you would not let flowers be on any tables for dinners because of your husband's allergies. And I said, well, madame, I never said such a thing. I might have expressed some concern about my husband's allergies, but we have flowers on the table at our state dinners. Is it too late? Can you get flowers and she was greatly relieved. So, that was...

KING: So, you just expressed concern and they dumped the flowers. So, is it possible that you expressed concern and they fired people?

CLINTON: No, I don't know what's possibly because I can't speculate on what somebody heard. I know that I said, you know, if this is something that is a concern, it should be looked into. But I know that we have had some funny experiences in the past three or so years where, you know, my husband will say, gee, I want a banana and the next thing you know there's bananas everywhere. So, we have learned to be, you know, maybe a little bit more careful about that.

KING: Is it fair to say you've backed off since health care?

CLINTON: I don't think so, Larry. KING: You don't?

CLINTON: No, I mean I spent a lot of 1995 writing my book, which I cared very much about and which has some strong opinions in it about child rearing and what American society should do. I have kept a very active speaking schedule around the country. I just finished giving my second commencement this year. I give a third one on Thursday. So, I don't quite know where that came from, but I certainly don't feel given the pace of my life and all my obligations that I'm doing anything much different.

KING: So you will speak out on issues this campaign?

CLINTON: Certainly.

KING: We will know -- you're not going to be Mrs. Wallflower because some people have said that you've backed off and you're not in the combative mode that Hillary was in two years ago.

CLINTON: Well, I think that's a mischaracterization. You know, two years ago I was working on behalf of my husband's health care plan, which he and I both felt very strongly about. We spoke about it separately, together. We tried to explain it to people. And since then I have talked about a lot of other issues and have been, in many events in the White House and around the country on matters, but nothing that has risen to the level of public interest or controversy that the health care issue did. So people may not know everything I've been doing.

KING: Do you see yourself as a role model?

CLINTON: Well, I -- you know, I see myself as somebody who has tried to live my life according to what I believe in and what I think is important. And so when someone says that to me I always say, I hope you will find what's important to you and do that to the best of your ability and make choices that are right for you.

So if I am, to anybody, an example or a role model, I hope it's not to try to be like me, because I don't think there is any way to do that with anyone else but, perhaps, to just know what's right for you and to try to have the courage to do it despite what anybody else might say.

KING: How about dealing with a public marriage, you know, where both people are famous -- what about that aspect?

CLINTON: Well, you know, I married my husband 20-years plus ago and he wasn't famous. He had lost his only political race. I wasn't famous.

KING: So you got famous together?

CLINTON: Well, I don't think -- his career was a public career; and he, certainly now is famous, as president. But I think that we've just been together for so long and we've kind of grown up together, ever since we met each other in law school. So we see our marriage as very private and something that's so important and precious to us that the idea that it's of interest to other people or that people kind of look in and try to figure it out, you know, we just don't pay much attention to that.

KING: Does it surprise you that they do?

CLINTON: Well, I guess it doesn't surprise me because today, you know, people's personality and what they do is seemingly so important and the topic of such conversation.

But I don't think anybody can ever know very much about anybody else's life or their marriage; and so, so much of it is just, you know, kind of off-mark or idle gossip that doesn't really have any relation to reality. We laugh about it a lot.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: More highlights from our interviews with Hillary Rodham Clinton ahead on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Mrs. Clinton was gracious enough to give us an interview in April of 1997 in the middle of a week celebrating my 40th anniversary of starting in broadcasting.

One subject we covered: the Whitewater controversy and the comments of another LARRY KING LIVE guest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, APRIL 29, 1997)

KING: OK, Jim McDougal was here a couple weeks ago, a very bitter, kind of sad case, and very hurt. And he says he was done wrong. What's your side?

CLINTON: I'm not going to comment on anything he has to say.

KING: Why?

CLINTON: I just don't think that's a useful thing for me to do. And this matter, as you know, being investigated, and looked into, and I just don't think that I will comment on Jim.

KING: All right, then forget what he said. How about the sadness of former friends?

CLINTON: Well...

KING: You had to go through that at the White House. "The New York Times" did a story about people who were and no longer are -- isn't that?

CLINTON: Well, that makes me sad. You know, I obviously am sad when misfortune befalls anyone, and especially people that I have any acquaintance or friendship with. And so I do, I'm very sorry about a lot of the things that have happened to people.

But I just, you know, I just believe that in the great scope of things, you know, the numbers of people who have been our friends, the kinds of friendships that Bill and I have had over a lifetime, have sustained us, and we have tried to be sustainable friends to people. So, of course, I'm sad when anyone has any kind of misfortune. But I'm also very heartened every day by the friends that we have, and the friendship that we continue to enjoy.

KING: The other day the press conference the president was asked, why shouldn't -- should he just say to Susan McDougal, just talk. You are not lying, just talk. Would you say the same thing -- he didn't respond. He said it is up to her and her lawyers.

CLINTON: I have nothing to add to what the president said about that.

KING: Wouldn't it help if she just had someone -- wouldn't you feel sorry about someone sitting?

CLINTON: I just don't have anything to add to what the president said. You know, there is a lot of questions about this, and we have just patiently waited, now for well the -- a lot of the questions have gone on for five years.

KING: Someone just reacted to the question.

CLINTON: Yes, indeed, and the investigation has gone on for a number of years; and we have just seen these things kind of ebb and flow; and, you know, we are just going to continue to get up every day, and do what we have to do and not get drawn into all of this.

KING: You may be too close to the forest for trees, but with all the attacks that have occurred, how do explain the popularity of Bill Clinton?

CLINTON: I think it is because the people in this country very much support and appreciate what he is doing as president, and discount dramatically -- as they should -- a lot of these attacks.

KING: They don't believe them?

CLINTON: I don't -- I think many people don't believe them. I think many people have seen these attacks grow in ferocity and then just fade into nothingness; and really what the American people want from a president is someone who is doing the business of governing the country. And I think people get a little frustrated by the diversions and the attacks, and the time spent on anything other than the people's business. And they know that my husband works many, many hours every day trying to do what he can to solve the problems of America, and that is what they want him to be doing.

KING: Does get annoyed? He is human.

CLINTON: Yeah, he is human, and from time to time over the last how many ever years, I'm sure he's felt annoyance from time to time, or frustration, but doesn't let that bother him, and he doesn't dwell on it. I mean he is one of the most optimistic and resilient human beings that I have every heard about, let alone known. And I think he is also leading by example in a very important way.

He is someone who does not wish those who wish him ill, any ill at all. He doesn't have a vengeful bone in his body. He turns the other cheek, because he just doesn't believe that as a man, or as a leader, he should be brought down to the level of engaging in the kind of bitter recrimination, accusation, falsehoods and slander that so many other people spend their time doing. From his perspective, you've got one life to live.

I heard a great line today, that was a Jackie Kennedy line. You know, life comes first, and if you allow yourself to get dragged down by other people's agendas or their particular slant on something instead of using your energy to do what you believe in doing, then basically you have ceded your life to them.

And I think that his example over the last five years as he has weathered all of these attacks is an example that Americans are beginning to really appreciate. And certainly the election showed that.

KING: All right, let's look at those years here.

CLINTON: Oh, my gosh.

KING: Biggest mistake -- your -- if you were to say, boy, if I had to do it over, I would.

CLINTON: Well, if there were a way that I think I could have known more about what I was getting into and understand more about, you know, the way Washington works and the expectations in Washington, I think I could have had a sort of smoother entry into Washington and maybe not have made some of the mistakes that I certainly did make in getting adjusted.

KING: What were -- If you were to say that, my biggest was?

CLINTON: Well, I think probably the biggest that my husband and I would say is, you know, not really understanding the way that Washington worked and the way the White House worked and having a clear sense from the beginning about what was possible and what wasn't possible. I mean, health care is an obvious example of that.

But I think that we are also very pleased by everything that he's been able to do, and we've loved being here. So, you know, it kind of...

KING: When you say the Washington ways, what...

CLINTON: ... balances itself out.

KING: Our guest is Hillary Rodham Clinton on this 40th anniversary of my entrance into broadcasting -- can't believe it. But she was 9 years old, right? At least that's a relief. At least she was around. We'll be right back.

Don't go away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, APRIL 29, 1997)

KING: Do you think about what you want to do in 2000? I mean you must. You're going to be very young.

CLINTON: Thank you, Larry, thank you very much.

KING: What does -- what does, for example, Bill talk about doing?

CLINTON: We don't talk about it.

KING: You don't at all?

CLINTON: Not at all. I mean, we know that he'll be leaving the White House and we'll have to do some other things.

KING: And, he'll be how old?

CLINTON: Gosh, let me see...

KING: Fifty?

CLINTON: Fifty-five, maybe, yeah.

KING: Young guy.

CLINTON: He'll be -- he'll still be 54 because he'll turn 55 in 2001. I don't know.

KING: He's been a politician all of his life.

CLINTON: Yeah, he's been in public life all of his life and he's loved every minute of it, but he is a very talented, able person and I think, anything he turns his mind to.

KING: Even like "Bill Clinton Live."

CLINTON: This is a good idea. What do you think?

KING: Would he do well with this show, he would do very well.

CLINTON: He would do very well.

KING: What about Hillary?

CLINTON: I want a long vacation when this is all over.

KING: How long, like a year? CLINTON: Oh, I don't know, a very long time. I have no idea what I am going to do. And, I don't really worry about it because I think you can't plan your life. I certainly didn't plan to be sitting here as I am talking to you. That's not anything I thought about when I was growing up or even when I was a young adult, so I don't really have any plans. I'll just wait and see what happens.

KING: Where do you live?

CLINTON: That we -- you know...

KING: You don't have a house?

CLINTON: We don't have a house, but you know, the president is going to build his library in Little Rock and we will be, obviously, spending a lot of our time and living there, and then I assume we'll travel and do some other things that are of interest to us.

KING: First time we interviewed you, you said you didn't know where your car was and you haven't driven a car. Have you driven a car?

CLINTON: I have driven a car a couple of times in the last four years.

KING: Sneaking out?

CLINTON: No, Secret Service and I have a deal that every once in a while, they'll let me drive.

KING: In the country or in the city?

CLINTON: Usually in the country. Usually not -- although I drove on Election Day in Little Rock. I drove a bunch of my friends from downtown to my mother's house, so that was a hair raising adventure.

KING: Of course, I know you told us how much you like driving. You had that favorite car. You love that car.

CLINTON: Yeah, I just -- you know, I haven't done it for so long, I probably would probably be a real hazard.

KING: When is the last time Bill drove?

CLINTON: Oh, he hasn't drove -- he hasn't driven for a long time, probably, gosh, probably back since '92 sometime.

KING: Because...

CLINTON: Oh, that's -- but, except I think he has maybe at Camp David driven a little bit, but not much.

KING: What's it like up there?

CLINTON: It's very peaceful and it's secluded and it's a place where you can really be alone when you get a chance to go there.

KING: Has the presidency drawn you closer?

CLINTON: Well, I think we have always been close, but we've gotten to spend a lot of time together because he works above the store, you might say. It's just down the hall. And, so we get to have a lot of meals together. We get to see each other a lot during the day if we have time. So, the time has been much more available to us.

KING: We're going to learn Hillary's college tomorrow, those who keep...

CLINTON: Chelsea's.

KING: Chelsea's -- Hillary's been there already.

CLINTON: Tomorrow's the last day, she has to.

KING: It ain't Georgetown. I know this, because you told us...

CLINTON: Well, it might have been because she loves Georgetown, but it's too close to home.

KING: She's out of town.

CLINTON: Yes, yes.

KING: Do you want to go live with her?

CLINTON: I do. I do. I want to be her roommate.

KING: Stuart, Florida for the first lady, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello, Mrs. Clinton, first I'd like to say I think you're a great first lady.

CLINTON: Thank you.

CALLER: And are you considering running for office in the future?

CLINTON: No, no.

KING: At all?

CLINTON: No.

KING: No circumstance under which you would?

CLINTON: Not that I can imagine. No, that is not anything I have ever thought of for myself. I must say I really admire people like my husband, who are willing to fade the heat to be in politics, especially today.

(END VIDEOTAPE) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FEBRUARY 6, 2000)

CLINTON: I am honored today to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate from New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The next time we talked to Hillary Rodham Clinton was in August of last year. It was day one of the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. The first lady was a candidate by then, running hard for a U.S. Senate seat in New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, AUGUST 14,2000)

KING: Are you glad you're making this race?

CLINTON: I am having the time of my life.

KING: Now, that you have the advantage of hindsight, glad you did it?

CLINTON: Absolutely. I'm enjoying it so much. I didn't know what it would feel like to be a candidate because I'd never done it before.

KING: What does it feel like? What is it like?

CLINTON: Well, it's very different. You know, for 30 years I've worked on behalf of causes and candidates and particularly on behalf of my husband in his many races, and I've always enjoyed doing that, thought it was important, never really believed I would be on the other side of that line, being a candidate myself, and it takes some getting used to. There's a real learning curve. Even if you've been around it for years, as I have, once you're the person on the front line, who is, you know, making the statements and doing the interviews about not out what someone else believes whom you're supporting, but what you believe and what you'll fight for -- it's a very different feeling.

KING: So it's not "Vote for him"; it's "Vote for me."

CLINTON: That's right.

KING: How about fund raising? Some people have said the hardest thing in politics is to ask for money.

CLINTON: It's very hard.

KING: Now you're asking for you. It's thing to ask for someone else. Is that hard?

CLINTON: Well, it's hard, but you have to do it. I want to change the system; that's why I support campaign finance reform, because I don't think it's a good system for our democracy. But it is the system we have, and if you believe strongly, as I do, that we need to continue the progress of the last eight years and that it's important who is a partner in the Senate with Al and Joe, then you go out and you work as hard as you can, and that includes raising the money to make the campaign.

KING: An old friend of ours, Marvin Davis (ph), told me that you told him seven years ago you wanted to live in New York.

CLINTON: Yes, that's true.

KING: That this wasn't the -- way before this Senate jump.

CLINTON: I've always wanted to live in New York.

KING: Why?

CLINTON: Why not? I mean, there isn't any place like it.

KING: You're a Chicagoan, though. That's...

CLINTON: But I've been -- you know, I've...

KING: "Big Shoulders."

CLINTON: You know, I've had a wonderful life, because, look, I was born and raised in Chicago. I went to school in New England, and law school. I got to live in Arkansas, made the friends of a lifetime there. Got to live in Washington.

But like so many other people from all over the world, I've always wanted to live in New York. And I told Marvin, I've told a lot of people over the years that after the White House years I wanted to move to New York and have a chance to experience New York City and everything that goes with it.

KING: And when you can't -- you don't experience it as an everyday New Yorker. I mean, you have the Secret Service and...

CLINTON: Well, it's a little different, Because I used to love going and just being able to walk down the street before the White House years: going to a museum, going to a play, going out to a great restaurant. It is a lot harder for me now, but that will get easier after Bill's no longer president.

KING: And how is Chelsea enjoying being part of a campaign, Chelsea, who you've sheltered so well, who we, the public, really don't know.

CLINTON: Well, thank you. Thank you and the press for giving her the space...

KING: They have, haven't they?

CLINTON: They have, and I hope it continues with all the children involved in this presidential campaign. You know, the Bushes and the Gores and the Liebermans all have young children, not adults yet. So I hope that the pattern that has started with our daughter will continue.

But I am -- I'm enjoying having her with us. She has always been a part of our life, and politics has always been a part of our family. So she has been with her -- with her -- with my husband, her father, been with me from time to time. And it's been a great treat.

KING: She's enjoying it?

CLINTON: Yes, she likes it. You know, and she -- you know, she's good to have around.

KING: Not bad. The times I've known her, she's a terrific person.

CLINTON: Thank you.

KING: And how, frankly, are you doing, emotionally? I mean, you went through a tough thing. The whole world knew. You know, when you see the whole -- it's embarrassing. Hard to come through? It's got to be tough.

CLINTON: But, you know, that's my business. And I don't talk about my personal business, and I feel strongly that what goes on in a marriage or a family should remain in that marriage and in that family. And I'm very, you know, happy doing what I'm doing. I feel very committed to making this race, because I believe so strongly in these issues. I have worked on them for 30 years. It's what I care most about in public life, and that's what I do every day.

KING: And the rest is none of our business.

CLINTON: That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Sixty-two counties, 16 months, three debates, two opponents and six black pants suits later, because of you, here we are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Our most recent interview with Mrs. Clinton was less than a month ago in the White House. The country still wasn't sure who the next president was going to be, but the first lady was very definitely the Democratic senator-elect from New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING: How do I address you now? I've known you so long. Is it Madam First Lady, Hillary, Hillary Rodham, Senator? CLINTON: It's a little confusing, isn't it?

KING: Yes. What do you like the best?

CLINTON: Well, I -- gee, all of those are, you know, really wonderful things.

KING: Do you call a senator-elect a senator?

CLINTON: I don't know. That's a good question. You know, I've been telling people that I'm not a senator until I'm sworn in on January 3. So, how about Hillary?

KING: Just senator-elect. Do you like the term senator?

CLINTON: I do like the term, yes.

KING: It fits?

CLINTON: I feel very good about it. You know, it was a great campaign. I had the help of thousands and thousands of people across New York and lots of friends around the country.

And I'm very excited. I went to Senate school last week.

KING: What was that like?

CLINTON: It was great.

KING: Senate school.

CLINTON: Yes. I mean, it was wonderful. I mean, we had an opportunity to hear Senator Byrd talk about the history of the Senate, and we did it in the Old Senate Chambers, where so much of that history took place.

I spent time meeting my new colleagues, both Democrats and Republicans. It was a really good way to start getting oriented toward the Senate.

KING: Did you take offense to Trent Lott's statement that you're -- don't expect anything, you're just another wheel in the -- cog in the wheel?

CLINTON: Well, you know, I'm just one of a hundred, and that is -- that's a factual statement.

KING: You didn't take -- you didn't...

CLINTON: You know, people say things sometimes in the heat of partisanship. And we've had a very cordial encounter in the Senate. We went from Senator Daschle's office to Senator Lott's office, and he gave us a wonderful history lesson about that office and the role that it's played in the history of the Congress.

KING: How did he treat you? CLINTON: Very cordially. Very collegially, which is what I expected. I have gotten to know him and his wife over the last eight years, and I expect that, you know, there will be differences, obviously. He has a role to play and a party to represent.

But I imagine wherever we can, we'll try to work together. And certainly, I see no reason for us not to be in a very collegial, cordial relationship.

KING: So you're optimistic that this government can work, that this can be four fruitful years, no matter who's at the -- who's sitting at the -- your old -- in your old -- in this house?

CLINTON: Well, I believe that America is at heart an optimistic country, you know. We are people of an optimistic spirit. And we have work to do, and work doesn't get done if people are drawn into battles over issues that are not going to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans.

You know, my hope is that in my work and the work of those in the Senate, you know, we will be able to keep the economy strong and growing, we will be able to improve education and provide health care and protect the environment, all of the things that I campaigned on. You can't do that if you're more interested in scoring political points.

KING: Everyone has said, except maybe you, that you are going to run for president someday. So let's -- I mean, let's say Gore loses. That means the Democratic Party has no incumbent. Are you interested in that office in '04?

CLINTON: No, I'm not. You know...

KING: Not at all?

CLINTON: No, no. I am intent upon being the best senator that I can be. That is what I want to do. I really feel like the people of New York gave me a great honor to give me the opportunity to serve, and that's what I am interested in doing. You know, all of the work that I've done for 30 years now -- it's almost hard to imagine -- going back into my young adulthood, concerns, you know, children and families and education and economic opportunity and health care.

I think we will have an opportunity, no matter how our presidential campaign is finally resolved, for people of good faith to reach across party lines and try to hammer out some of the solutions that I really think the American people want us to work toward.

KING: Did you tell the people of New York that you are going to stay the six years?

CLINTON: Yes, I surely did.

KING: And you wouldn't change that?

CLINTON: No, I wouldn't. KING: So that's as definitive as you can get, right?

CLINTON: As definitive as I can get.

KING: One final thing, it's Inaugural Day. Somebody is being sworn in.

CLINTON: Right.

KING: Will that be a joyous occasion, no matter who? Or will it be -- what's going on?

CLINTON: Oh, you know, it's going to be a poignant moment for me, because the eight years will be ending, my husband's presidency will be ending, I will be assuming a different role, my husband will be going on, I know, to do other things. So no matter what the outcome of the election, it's going to be poignant.

But it will also be very reinforcing. You know, I am such a strong believer in the fundamental strength of American values and institutions. You know, I'm just a dyed-in-the-wool, sort of sentimental patriot about what our country means. And the orderly, peaceful transfer of power is something that we have demonstrated for, you know, more than two centuries.

KING: So if it's George Bush raising his right hand, there's no biting of the bottom lip?

CLINTON: Not for me. For me, I'm hoping that when this is finally resolved -- and, of course, I believe strongly that the best evidence of the way it should be resolved are the votes of the people who actually voted in the election.

But it is in the courts. And when it is resolved, certainly, you know, I'm prepared to serve with and to -- you know, to watch whoever the next president is swear loyalty to our Constitution.

KING: Madam Senator-elect, First Lady, thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a trailblazing first lady. It will be fascinating to see her in action in the U.S. Senate.

Thanks for watching this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Have a great weekend. Good night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that you will bear truth faith and allegiance to the same, that you take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you God. CLINTON: I do.

GORE: Congratulations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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