Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Hillary Clinton Exits the Race.
Aired June 7, 2008 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, it's official. She's out. Hillary Clinton exits the race on somebody else's terms. What happened? Where did she go wrong? Will her supporters back Barack Obama? The woman who wanted to be president. What's next for Hillary Clinton? Right now on "LARRY KING LIVE."
(on camera): We have outstanding panels on this live edition of "LARRY KING LIVE" for this Saturday night and we'll meet the panel in a moment. They are Congressman Charles Rangel, Democrat of New York. He was one of Hillary Clinton's most prominent and earliest supporters. In Washington, Dee Dee Myers who served as White House press for President Bill Clinton and is author of "Why Women Should Rule the World." Also in Washington, Paul Begala, the CNN political contributor, Democratic strategist, a counsel to President Bill Clinton and a supporter of Hillary Clinton. And in New York, as well, Ed Schultz, the progressive talk radio host. He's in New York for a talk radio convention and a supporter of Barack Obama.
We begin with Candy Crowley in Washington, CNN senior political correspondent.
Before we talk to Candy, let's look at an excerpt from Hillary's speech today. This is the moment she officially and publicly shifts from Obama rival to Obama backer. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand, is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States. Today -- today as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary race he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Candy Crowley, you have followed this from the get-go. How did she do today?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I thought she did everything she needed to do. We went back and looked at that speech and I counted the number of times she said Barack Obama's name. A 30 minute speech, 14 times. You can't ask for better than every other minute. I think she did that well. I think she thanked her supporters well. And I think the other thing she really wanted to do, and they told me this all week, that she really had a feel and a connection to the history of the moment. That she really believed that all of those women, those millions of women who came out to support her, because they saw the chance for history be written, deserved a final paragraph and she wanted to be the one that wrote that final paragraph and she did. So I think she accomplished all three of those goals.
KING: What does suspend mean?
CROWLEY: Well, it means that, you know, theoretically, you could get back in. Although there is no intention of that and no sign of that. You could hold on to your delegates. You can you still raise money. She's got a campaign debt, although she could do that even if she got out of race.
There's really, you know, a distinction with very little difference. But she does - it does mean that she can hold on to her delegate, but, frankly, pledged delegates can move over to Obama anyway. So, again, there's some technical things in there, but not much difference between that and quitting.
KING: And any word on immediate plans?
CROWLEY: Vacation, is what I'm told. That she's going to spend a little down time. This has been -- I have to say, one thing, I have covered a lot of politicians, including her husband while they're campaigning. Nobody out-campaigns this woman. I've never seen anybody work harder than she did. She was -- half the time they were doing red eyes from one coast to the other. They'd get home at 3:30. And you'd wake up in the morning in a hotel room and she'd be on morning TV live. This is a woman who really did work very hard. So vacation first. She's going on go back to the senate and still working with the Obama campaign about what kind of role moving forward, what kind of public role she'll play.
KING: Candy, you get a vacation, too.
CROWLEY: It's a deal.
KING: At least tonight.
Candy Crowley, one of the best.
All right, Congressman Rangel, did Hillary's speech surprise you?
REP. CHARLES RANGEL, (D), NEW YORK: She's been fantastic. And, no, there's no limits to what she can do. I agree with Candy. She's been a fantastic campaigner. And I'm glad that it's come it an end so we can get that kind of juice, vitality and excitement behind Obama so we can get this thing over with this November.
KING: Dee, Dee, in your opinion, how did she do today?
DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY & AUTHOR: I think she did a fantastic job. She really did. She hit every note that she needed to hit. She threw her support behind Obama. She clearly encouraged her supporters to do that. And the Obama campaign centered around the word today that they were grateful for her words.
But the first thing she said in that speech was this wasn't the party that I was planning. She clearly wanted a different kind party, one where she accepted the nomination. I think it's incumbent on the Obama campaign now to deal with that disappointment, to reach out to Clinton supporters, to give them a little time to make that transition. Hillary's done all she can do, but now it's up to the Obama campaign to show that they understand how hard this transition is going to be and then all off to the general election with everybody unified.
KING: Paul Begala, how do you contrast the way she did today with the way she did last Tuesday night?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, last Tuesday night, she won South Dakota and was trying to still put up the last ditch her campaign and I don't think it probably was the time frankly to stand up. I went backed and looked. She got a lot of static, including on this network, for that speech Tuesday night because she didn't endorse Barack Obama on the night of the last primary.
Well, back it up. When I worked for Bill Clinton, Dee Dee and I both, we knocked Paul Songus out of the race in March. He didn't endorse Clinton until July 9th. Al Gore knocked Bill Bradley out of the race in March. Bill Bradley didn't endorse Al Gore until July 15th. Those two men, good Democrats, they took four months before they went and endorsed the guy who beat them. Hillary took four days. So I tell you what, she's the better woman than either of those two guys are.
KING: Ed Schultz, do you think your candidate was happy with Hillary's work today?
ED SHULTZ, TALK RADIO HOST: I think so, Larry. And I don't think there's going to be any critical critique coming from the Obama camp towards Senator Clinton and what she had to do, not only today, but this week. You can imagine what an emotional roller coaster it's been for her. She's had to process an awful lot.
She said exactly what she had to say today. She went out there, she was a team player. It had to be a tough speech to give, but I could tell you the mission going forward, there are a lot of disgruntled Clinton supporters out there on talk radio and the blogosphere who don't like this outcome.
So while Senator Clinton takes this vacation, she's going to have to come back a real firestorm for Barack Obama and I think she'll do it, but she's going to have to do some real convincing of her supporters that we got to move forward and get the White House. That's the mission right now.
KING: Ahead the impact that Bill Clinton had on his wife's campaign when "LARRY KING LIVE" returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: When we first started, people everywhere asked the same question, could a woman really serve as commander in chief? Well, I think we answered that one. And could an African-American really be our president? And Senator Obama has answered that one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Charlie Rangel, was Bill Clinton a plus or a minus in this campaign?
RANGEL: I think it levels off. The press always has been difficult on the Clintons, been rough on both of them. I think his biggest mistake was telling the press to go to hell and that's what did he do. But I think he's going to be a plus for Obama. He is still a rock star around the world and around this country. And does he have a hard time with the press, but people love him.
KING: As you know him, Dee Dee, will he work hard for Obama?
MYERS: Absolutely. He'll do whatever the Obama campaign asks him to do. And this is part of the conversation that needs to continue. Obviously, Senator Obama and Senator Clinton met this week this Washington. they had a good conversation. That conversation now needs to continue to figure out how both Senator Clinton and President Clinton can best serve the Obama campaign. They made it very clear they intend to do whatever they can to make sure a Democrat is elected president in November.
KING: Paul, the endless question. A CNN opinion research poll shows 54% of Democrats want an Obama-Clinton ticket. Will that happen?
BEGALA: I don't know. I tend to doubt it to tell the truth, Larry. I'm in that 54%. I would love to see Senator Obama pick Senator Clinton, but it's not my pick. And it's frankly not Senator Clinton's pick. It's Senator Obama won this thing. And he really needs to ask only one question. And I was working for Bill Clinton, as Dee Dee was, when he asked this question. The question is who should take over and run the country, god forbid, if something happens. That's what the vice president is and this is why it's such an important presidential-level decision.
I think Hillary could actually take over quite well. That's why I was for her in the primaries. But he has to answer that, Barack does. In his heart, he has to think about it, pray about it, and take lot of time on it. There's no need to rush this thing. There's a lot of good people out there. He has a first class committee of Jim Johnson, Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy, taking a look at potential V.P.s. So I've been impressed with how he's approach this had so far. But if I were advising him, I say slow it down, you've got a lot of time to think this through.
KING: Ed Schultz, as an Obama supporter, what do you want or expect Hillary to do during the campaign? SHCULTZ: Well, I want her to work with Barack Obama and I know she will. She's a team player. I know that her colleagues in the senate know what she's going through and she's going on get a lot of encouragement.
But as I said, Larry, there are some people out there that are in the media, on talk radio, using the media and the blogosphere that they're disenchanted with this outcome. And they're only going to listen to Hillary Clinton. So I think that Clinton mission is very well defined at this point.
As far as the vice presidency is concerned, I think Barack Obama has earned time and space to make the right call. He's now got to evaluate what he has to do to defeat John McCain. And I don't think he's a stubborn man. If he sees putting Hillary Clinton on the ticket will put the Democrats in the White House, I think he'll do it.
KING: Congressman Rangel, will Clinton be a vigorous proponent of Obama, will she go around the country, will she do commercials for him?
RANGEL: You bet your life. She's a competitor. She knows the whole world is watching. And you can really feel the sincerity in her speech that she just gave today. There's no question in my mind she'll probably campaign just as hard for him and the Democratic Party to save our country as she did for herself. I'm confident of that.
KING: Dee Dee Myers, what kind of campaign will it be?
MYERS: Well, I think it's going to be a very hard fought campaign, a very competitive campaign. These are two candidates who both want to be president very badly. But they are also two candidates I think who are going to talk about the issues, who are really committed to moving the country forward. And I think Barack Obama has a great case to make. And I think he's going to make it in a very compelling way. And I think the Democratic Party is going to get together and be very united. Hillary Clinton took the first step toward that today. It may take a few more days before everybody's on board, but I think we'll get there.
KING: Correct me if I'm wrong, Paul. First time two U.S. senators sitting in the senate running against each other?
BEGALA: Yes, it is. Yes, Larry. You know your history. So this is not -- the senate has never actually been particularly the cradle of presidents, but we've definitely have a president coming out of the senate this time.
KING: So this time we don't have an executive, we have a legislator.
BEGALA: Right. So I think people will ask that question, who can bring the change we need. And when you think about changes, think about the word. You don't think about a 72-year-old white guy who's been in Washington for 26 years and has 125 lobbyists running his campaign. I like the contrast that Barack Obama brings to this. Both of them are right now working in Washington, but Obama's experience, certainly the Democrats decided, back in Springfield, back in Chicago, as a community organizer was something that resonated with Democrats because I suspect some of them thought it was a little closer to the real world.
KING: Ed, how for want after better word dirty will it get?
SCHULTZ: Well, you know, I'm going to predict tonight, Larry, it might be one of the cleaner campaigns we've seen in contemporary times between the two candidates. Now you've got the 527s out there, so it's kind of hard to predict what they'll do. But I think Barack Obama will not go negative in this campaign. What you see what you get. I think that he is going to do the same type of campaign that he ran to win this nomination. He's going to take the high ground. He's going to talk about change.
But now he's got to pivot to tell the American people what kind of changes and where is this change going to take place. It just can't be, you know, getting out of Iraq and a drawdown of troops. How is he going deliver health care? What's he going to do about gas prices? What's he going to do about health care? And explain it.
And I can't wait for these town hall meetings. I think the John McCain is going into a buzz saw. This is where Barack Obama shines. He's not a good 20-second sound byte. But you give him time to explain things, in a town hall meeting. I think that McCain may have walked in to the lion's den on this one. This is playing right to Barack Obama's strength.
KING: Thank, Charles. Thanks, Dee Dee. And thanks, Ed,
Paul will be back with us.
And the man who ran Hillary Clinton's campaign is here. Terry McAuliffe will join us right after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Here in Pennsylvania, you made your voices heard. And because of you, the tide is turning.
UNIDENTIFIED COMMENTATOR: Hillary Clinton has won in Pennsylvania.
CLINTON: The future of this campaign is in your hands.
BILL CLINTON: She will win the popular vote when all these votes are cast.
CLINTON: I'm going to keep standing up for the voters of Florida and Michigan. Neither of us has the total --
(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: OK. Let's meet our new panel. Paul Begala remains. He's in Washington. Arianna Huffington, the founder and editor of the Huffington Post, is in Minneapolis. Our friend, Lanny Davis, who was special counsel to President Clinton, is in Washington. And Gail Sheehy, the "New York Times" best-selling author of "Hillary Choice" is in New York.
But we begin with Terry McAuliffe, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign chairman, former DNC chairman.
What did you make of her work today?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CAMAPIGN CHAIRMAN: An absolutely spectacular speech. Talked about what she was able to accomplish for so many people in the campaign when she talked about not only shattering the glass ceiling, but breaking it into about 18 million pieces. It was great. Health care and came out strong endorsement for Barack Obama. Let's unify this party. It was about the issues she's cared about her whole life. Spectacular speech. Literally, the greatest speech she's ever given.
KING: Did your campaign underestimate Obama?
MCAULIFEE: I don't think so. I don't think we ever under-estimated anybody. We knew we had to work hard for it. I said from the start Hillary would have to earn every single vote that she received. This was a close race. Both getting about 18 million votes. Worked hard. Hillary won some very important states, made a very important statement.
I think for the sake of women, they're never going to ask can a woman be president of the United States again, can a woman be commander in chief, is a woman tough any of to deal with all the defense issues? Hillary has put all those issues aside, so a lot was accomplished in this campaign.
KING: For example, when Obama won Utah, did that kind of grab you?
MCAULIFFE: Well, clearly one thing we have to look at, in February, those 11 states that were in February, why we had not played there earlier, why there were not offices open, why there were not staff there? I can't answer the question.
But clearly if you had to go back and look at different things from the campaign, clearly we should have been playing everywhere probably through the end of March. We had plenty of money p we had more money than Senator Obama's campaign had, so we had the resources to do it. And we should have played everywhere. Hillary Clinton, as we learned, she won South Dakota the other night by ten points. She learned and proved that she could win anywhere in the country.
KING: Would you like her to be the vice presidential selection?
MCAULIFFE: Personally, I would. Sure. By the time we win the election, it's Senator Obama's choice, he's got to make the decision. But you have to make a decision how do you win the general election. 18 million votes. She won women, Latino, seniors, blue collar. People are passionate. Those 18 million people were passionate about Hillary.
And I just think the two of them together would be a dream ticket. It would be exciting. It's not up to me. If he doesn't pick her, let me tell you you, we're on all going to work as hard as we can for Senator Obama. But if Hillary is on the ticket, I think we'd have this White House for 16 years. It's going to take us 16 years, Larry, to offset the eight years of what George Bush has done to this country.
KING: Thanks, Terry.
MCAULIFFE: Thanks, Larry.
KING: Hillary Clinton's former presidential campaign chairman, former DNC chairman, Terry McAuliffe.
Let's go to our panel.
Arianna Huffington, I know you're in Minneapolis. What did you make of Hillary's speech today?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, FOUNDER, HUFFINGTON POST: Larry, I thought it was superb. I thought it was an incredibly significant speech. As a mother of two teenaged daughters, I made sure that they listened to it because for me, the most powerful message of the speech was the personal message. When she asked her supporters not to play what might have been, that's the message that we all want our daughters to hear, that we want ourselves to hear, that life is about moving forward. It's not about dwelling on the past. And that's exactly what she said.
And when she talked about counting her blessing, when she talked about moving forward and fighting for all the things she believed, it was a really powerful speech, it was the best speech I've ever heard her give. Beyond the qualified endorsement of Obama, it was a major speech for anybody to hear and live by.
KING: Lanny Davis, how did it strike you?
LANNY DAVIS, SPECIAL COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLITON: I'm still very moved today and I was there. 39 years ago, I was just telling Paul Begala, I met Hillary Clinton standing in line registering at Yale Law School. She was then named Hillary Rodham. And every quality that you saw in today's speech I saw in her in those days. She is a gracious person. She is a kind person. She's a great friend. I wouldn't do all that I do for her if she weren't such a great friend.
Most importantly, one of the first topics we talked about was public service and what was available at Yale Law School and in New Haven that she could get involved in. It's one of the most vivid memories I have of that first meeting with her.
So she's never changed. And what she did today was simply more of the same. She's a great lady. And I think she would make a great vice president. I have to add.
KING: Gail Sheehy, in New York, best selling author, you wrote a rather critical book 00 Hillary called Hillary's choice. Has she changed since that book? What do you make based on what Lanny just said in.
GAIL SHEEHY, AUTHOR "HILLARY'S CHOICE": I think she's changed and grown enormously. I'm absolutely astounded at the fulsome woman who stood before us today. And what it made me think about was how clearly some of her senior strategists served her by running her as a man and having her deny her nurturing, protective side for so long. Until the campaign ran into the ground in February and in March, she just took it over by herself. And I think finally allowed herself to be a woman as well as a commander in chief, as well as the chief attack dog, which was a mistake. The candidates shouldn't be the chief attack dog. But she became stronger. She became the populous. She became the champion of those whose voices are not heard by government, in a much warmer, more human way than her strategists had ever allowed her before.
So I think she has grown some stature. She's a transcendent figure. I think she may actually have produced an energized women's movement even greater because she didn't quite win.
KING: Paul, what do you think of what Gail just said?
BEGALA: It's really fascinating. Gail makes some really powerful insights. That did today sound like the Hillary Clinton I've known for many years. And particularly, the part that Arianna talked about, where Hillary said don't ask what if. She said, when you hear people saying or you think to yourself, if only or what if, I say please don't go there. Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward. That sounded like the Hillary Clinton sometimes who would talk to me like a big sister when I worked for her husband. There were some rough days there.
If you recall - I don't know if it made all the papers, but we had a few bad days in the Clinton White House. And I went out and had to say a bunch of things turned out not to be true to you and to others. I was really upset. I thought about resigning. And Hillary Clinton kept me focused. And I am so thankful to her because I stayed and fought. And I think I defended the Constitution against an unjust impeachment.
But that was the real Hillary. I guarantee you she wrote that part herself because this is her real philosophy. This speech will stand the test of time. It was not only wonderfully gracious politically. She endorsed Senator Obama personally and politically and substantively. She laid out a real philosophy as to why we are Democrats. Because we're better together. Each of us is imperfect alone, but we need each other. And this is a great speech.
KING: We'll talk about Hillary a year from now after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Although we weren't able to shatter that highest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it's got about 18 million cracks in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's get a call in Hackensack, New Jersey, hello.
CALLER: Good evening. I have a question for the panel. Obviously it is Mr. Obama's choice who he wants seated as his vice president and for whatever reason, he may not choose Mrs. Clinton, which I frankly believe would be unfortunate. I'm wondering if he should win the presidency, there's another role for her to play in his administration.
KING: Well, she's in the Senate. Arianna, what do you think she'll do, if you know?
HUFFINGTON: Absolutely there is another role. There are many roles for her to play. I would love to see President Obama put her in charge of health care. It would be great to have Hillary Clinton actually succeed in had kind of unfinished business that she started in the '90s.
KING: You mean lead the Senate?
HUFFINGTON: Well, yes. She could run the Cabinet, she could be in charge of reforming health care. She could do it in charge of a separate institute, whatever the form is. Because in a way, he kind of hinted on it in his speech on Tuesday when he said that when we actually reform health care, she will have a central role to play.
KING: Lanny, what do you think she'll do?
DAVIS: Well, first of all, I want to just reiterate what terry said. Senator Obama makes the choice on vice president. I would advocate that he should choose her because she'll help him get elected, but I think he can get elected without Senator Clinton. I just think she makes it easier. But I'll support whatever decision he makes. But if she doesn't selected as vice presidential candidate and she'll be vice president of the United States if she because they'll both win, I think she should go back to the Senate. I thought to myself if way back when I said to her, Senator Clinton, how does that sound, Robert Kennedy's Senate seat, the state of New York, she would have said to me way back then, I'll be happy for the rest of my life if achieve that. Kennedy was a great senator after he was unsuccessful in 1980 and she can lead in the United States Senate on health care, I think Arianna is absolutely right, but I think she can do it from the Senate.
KING: Lanny, what about the Supreme Court?
DAVIS: Madam Supreme Court justice -- She's be a great Supreme Court justice, but in my judgment, she's a person in the arena where the Supreme Court is a little bit more of an academic atmosphere, but she'd be a great Supreme Court justice, but I still would love her to be a leader in the united states senate on health care and many other issues that we Democrats need her to be in the Senate.
KING: Gail, what role do you see?
SHEEHY: She's a natural legislator and I think she has proven that she can work across the aisle brilliantly lent and get even her husband's greatest tractors for share bills with her. So that's definitely her forte. But I would also say in the immediate future, she has enormous work to do and enormous benefit to Senator Obama by pulling those really angry and injured women that I talked to today in the audience who feel that the Democratic Party has let them down, that Howard Dean in particular, not to have called foul on the sexism in the media that was ripe all the way through this campaign.
That so tarnished the efforts of Senator Clinton was making, they're talking about leaving the party. So I think Hillary Clinton has an enormous role to play in pulling her supporters back from despair and disgust with the party and then getting behind Senator Obama. And that's going to take several months. That's not going to take several days.
KING: Paul, a puzzlement. I'm sorry, Arianna quickly.
HUFFINGTON: I don't think it's going to take months when these women are fully cognizant of who John McCain is when it comes to women's issues. His stand on Roe versus Wade, what he has said he wants to do with the Supreme Court.
KING: All right, Arianna. You made it clear. Good point. Paul, a puzzlement. Where -- especially right wing radio led talk show hosts, why do they hate Hillary Clinton? And I don't use that advisedly. People can disagree, but why do they -- it's like venom. Why?
BEGALA: Maybe their mamas didn't breast feed them. And they ought to be ashamed, Larry. But she's getting the last laugh. Hate is always self defeating. That's another thing Hillary always used to say to me. Because sometimes I can fall into hate toward my Republican friends.
And it's always self defeating. But that whole crowd, I kind of feel sorry for them. Hillary, even though she came up short, is the big winner here. Obviously Senator Obama is the ultimate winner being but she comes out looking better and better and these kind of petty right wing attack dogs on talk radio, they look worse and worse.
KING: Thanks to all of you. We'll be calling on all of you a lot before how will this incredible Democratic primary be viewed years down the road? Some new perspective, some new guests after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: We are taking our country back and you all are going to lead the way. WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: In Iowa, Barack Obama, he has emerged the winner.
CLINTON: We're going to take this enthusiasm and go right to New Hampshire tonight.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen.
CLINTON: I have so many opportunities from this country. I just don't want to see us fall backwards.
BLITZER: CNN is now ready to project that Hillary Clinton has won the New Hampshire primary.
CLINTON: We're going to take what we've learned here in New Hampshire and we're going to rally on and make our case. We are in it for the long ride.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's welcome on you new panel. In Philadelphia, Governor Ed Rendell, Democrat of Pennsylvania, a staunch supporter of Hillary Clinton. In Washington, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison Republican, and supporter of course of John McCain. Also with us is Congressman Robert Wexler, Democrat of Florida, supporter of Barack Obama. And author of the new book, "Fire Breathing Liberal, How I Learned to Survive and Thrive in the Contact Sport of Congress."
And here in L.A., Amy Holmes, CNN political contributor who herself was a speechwriter for Senator Bill Frist when he was majority leader. Okay, Ed. Your candidate gave it up today. What did you make of how she did?
GOV. ED RENDELL, (D) PA: I think she did a great job for herself and equally as important a great job for Barack Obama. If you're a Clinton supporter and you heard that speech, you'd be hard pressed to do anything but shake your head, give up your disappointment and get out there and work hard to make Barack Obama the next president.
KING: Senator Hutchison, politics aside, were you impressed?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, (R) TX: Yes, I was. She made a very good speech. It was a tough time. You knew she must have been feeling pretty bad inside. But I think she did the right thing. She put a smile on her face. She said she was going to support the nominee. And I thought that it was a very well done speech.
KING: You sit with her in the Senate. Were you surprised at her tenacity?
HUTCHISON: Not at all. I think she has shown that throughout her political life. I was not surprised that she did exactly what she did. She stayed in, she kept on going, she kept a smile on her face even when times were tough. And I thought made a good showing. There's no doubt about that. KING: Congressman Wexler, what did you make of it?
REP. ROBERT WEXLER, (D) FL: Senator Clinton was gracious, she was did go any filed and she offered the most powerful endorsement possible for Senator Obama. If I was John McCain watch being I would now know that the free ride is over. That instead of focusing on the Democrats, now we will move to the general election and some of the gaffes and mistakes that Senator McCain has made will now be focused upon such as Shiites versus Sunni, and yesterday in my home state of Florida, he went and visited the Everglades, but he for got that he actually voted against funding for the Everglades. These are the kinds of things now that will come into focus.
KING: Amy Holmes, first, what did you make of the speech?
AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBTUOR: I thought it was magnificent. It sort of reminded me of Al Gore's concession speech in 2000 that everyone was sort of blown away, like why didn't he talk like that sooner. He might have become president of the United States. But I think in moments like this where she is conceding, this is the end of her presidential dream at least this time around, that you really dig deep. I really liked when she talked about that having a woman running for president, having an African American running for president, is such a tribute to our country as Americans.
KING: As a Republican analyst, would you like to see her on the ticket, would that benefit your party, or would it trouble you?
HOLMES: Well, I think it would be a mixed bag for Republicans to be running against that in a sense that Clinton, of course, brings a lot of baggage, she brings Bill and everything that that connotes, but she has shown herself to be such an impressive campaigner, she was getting those constituencies that Barack Obama is very vulnerable with. I think they would be a formidable ticket.
KING: Governor Rendell, do you want her to an vice presidential candidate?
RENDELL: Oh. No question. I think it's by far and away our strongest ticket. Remember this is a candidate who in the last three months, March, April and May, got 55 percent of all the votes cast in democrat being primaries. She left on a very high note. She's a powerful messenger for a number of key elements of the Democratic base. And swing voters that we have to win in the fall, I think no one can help him deliver the message, of course Senator Obama is going to have to deliver it himself, but no one can talk to blue collar Reagan Democrats, to women voters, to older voters, no one can deliver the message more powerfully than Hillary Clinton.
KING: Senator Hutchison, how would you as an opponent view the ticket?
HUTCHINSON: I don't think that would be the strongest ticket. I do think whoever, I think that the differences between Senator Obama and Senator McCain will be very clear. And I think all of the Democratic primaries certainly has taken the media attention. But this is not the general election yet. I mean, we are getting there. They're going to be so different. The difference on energy. People are filling up their gas tanks now at $4 a gallon and the difference between what Senator McCain wants to do, which is make America independent of foreign sources of oil, and Senator Obama who doesn't want to produce more oil at all. I think it's going to start coming out and people are going to start saying, now, wait a minute, where are we going to go here.
KING: Congressman Wexler, would you like her to be the running mate of the candidate you have supported?
WEXLER: An Obama/Clinton ticket would be a very exciting ticket, but as Senator Clinton has said, this is a decision for Senator Obama to make. And as Paul Begala said earlier in the show, this is not a judgment he should reach in any hasty fashion. He needs to think about it. He needs to see how the campaign develops. He needs to think about the kinds of message and the kind of substantive platforms he's going to be developing versus Senator McCain. And also think about his administration and what would work best in an Obama administration in terms of his partner.
KING: Amy Holmes, we'll pick up on that in a moment. 2008 campaign issues, which will dominate the general election? Stick around for some answers.
KING: Welcome back. Here is part of a statement from Barack Obama today. Quote, "Obviously I am thrilled and honored to have Senator Clinton's support, but more than that, I honor her today for the valiant and historic campaign she has run." Senator Obama continues, "Our party strong because of the work she has done, and he finishes with to one knows better than Senator Clinton how desperately America and the American people need change and I know she will continue to be in the forefront of that battle this fall and for years to come."
What's going to be the prime issue, Amy?
HOLMES: Well, the economy as Senator Hutchison was talking about. Those gas prices. That's what Americans are talking about.
KING: They're going to blame the administration.
HOLMES: They may blame the administration. But if John McCain can roll out an agenda and a policy to understand how we're going to attack this and tackle this, I think that can he make that case. Obviously Iraq is going to be a top issue. Barack Obama is going to try to make it an issue of judgment about going in. But John McCain, he's going to talk about who do you want to be commander in chief moving forward and there's lot of polling data out there a shows the American people trust John McCain to be commander in chief over Barack Obama.
KING: Will it be close?
HOLMES: I don't know if we can make those kinds of predictions this far out. It's a long time between now and November. You never know what shoes could drop.
KING: Ed Rendell, how do you see this campaign?
RENDELL: I agree with Amy, I think the primary issue is going to be the economy. No ifs, ands and butts about it. When economic times are bad, people come straight on it, who is most likely to help them, whose policies will be the ones that will help them get back to their feet and I think there's a clear difference between Senator Obama and Senator McCain. The Obama policies are best for those working class Democrats and working class independents and working class Republicans as well.
KING: Senator Hutchison, by the way, I threw your name into the hoop the other day for vice president and I'm sticking with it. I think you've got a big shot. But what's the key issue coming?
HUTCHISON: I thought we were friends, Larry.
I think that energy prices, the economy, and national security because of the war. The differences, again, will come out. And I think how we handle Iraq and whether we stick to our guns, whether we are credible. I've always said I think we should be a reliable ally and a formidable enemy. And I think that's what American should be. We can't let the Middle East blow up and become a terrorist haven and I think that's what John McCain has stood very firmly to say.
KING: Congressman Wexler, what do you think will be the key?
WEXLER: Of course it's the economy, Larry, but it's also broader in the sense of how do we change the direction of the country so that Americans feel more confident about the economy as well as our foreign policy and Senator Clinton I thought was most eloquent today in pointing out the differences between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton together versus Senator McCain. Look at her two strongest groups of supporter, women, when they learned that Senator McCain wants to appoint judges that will overturn roe versus wade that's going to help Senator Obama. And seniors when they learned that Senator McCain has a disastrous policy for Social Security that will tie Social Security to market fluctuations and privatize it, my constituents in Florida, they will flock to Senator Obama.
KING: OK. we'll come back with the remaining moments for tonight, but not for this campaign. We're just starting. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I think that i have a life sometime of experience that I will bring to the White House.
And I have been making change for people as a change maker. There is not a contradiction between experience and change.
There's a big difference between speeches and solutions.
Now, could I stand up here and say let's just get everybody together. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing.
ANNOUNCER: 3:00 a.m. and your children are sleeping.
BLITZER: Clinton will win the State of Ohio
CLINTON: As Ohio go, so goes the nation.
KING: We're back. Let's take a call. Dothan, Alabama. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry, how are you doing?
CALLER: I am an Obama supporter and I think that Hillary did a wonderful job today.
Now with her endorsement and President Clinton as well, will Chelsea also be a campaign surrogate for the campaign of Senator Obama?
KING: Do you think so, Amy?
HOLMES: Oh, certainly, going to the college campuses, talking to young people, she has been effective.
KING: You said an interesting thing through the break, though.
HOLMES: I think Hillary has really grown not necessarily a fan base on the right but really impressed, but I have friends on right who are now comparing theory Maggie Thatcher, her of toughness, her resolve, her stamina. Whatever your politics, watching her today, you couldn't help but be impressed.
KING: What do you think of that comparison, Governor Rendell?
RENDELL: I think Senator Clinton would be pleased by that. One of the things she took great pride in is she buried forever this idea that a woman couldn't be commander in chief for the United States military.
KING: I guess that never came up, did it?
RENDELL: No she won all the polling on that issue. Even in states that Senator Obama carried, she was considered the better candidate for being commander in chief.
KING: Senator Hutchinson, do you expect her to come back to the Senate and just stay in the Senate?
HUTCHISON: I think she will come back to the senate. I think she'll be very vigorous. I would see her doing sort of what Ted Kennedy did, coming back, pouring her energy into the Senate. She's been a very active senator already. She is a person who likes coalition, she works with Republicans. So I think she will be an active senator. She'll be a leader. I think she will.
KING: Congressman Wexler, if she's not the vice presidential candidate, what which she said you would like, what would you like theory do for Obama?
WEXLER: There are extraordinary things she could do which she showed today. Senator Clinton more than any other person can continue to unify the Democratic Party. She can fill in the gaps where Senator Obama may need some help. And these are the things that she showed today. And that's the extraordinary story today, Larry. For weeks, people wondered whether Democrats could unify. The answer, Senator Clinton gave it today, is a resounding yes.
KING: Amy, is Bill Clinton, people may make a little fun of him, isn't he still a major threat, isn't he still a formidable American politician?
HOLMES: Well, I think unfortunately, though, in this campaign, that he really -- he didn't serve himself well. And there are still Democratic constituents who are not pleased with President Clinton's remarks particularly about South Carolina, and such, he really lowered his estimation in their eyes.
KING: Even if he's out now against the Republicans?
HOLMES: This could be a big question for Barack Obama. Is he going to be able to keep a leash on Bill Clinton because Hillary Clinton had a lot of trouble with that. And he's a lot closer to her than Barack Obama.
KING: Ed Rendell, would you want him involved?
RENDELL: If I were Senator Obama, I would. I think Bill Clinton still is an awesome campaigner. I think the media missed how effective -- he certainly made some gaffes, but the media missed how effective he was going into those smaller towns in Texas and Ohio and Pennsylvania and just stopping people in their tracks. He's an effective campaigner. I think he'll stay on message for Senator Obama. Senator Obama's already indicate he wants President Clinton's help.
KING: Would you use him if you were Senator Obama?
HUTCHISON: I think Barack Obama wants to be the a little of change. I don't think he is going to be looking to people who have been in politics in the past, successful or not. I think his message is going to be his, just like John McCain's is going to be his, and I don't think surrogates are probably going to be what Barack Obama is looking for.
KING: By the way, one more reminder, Congressman Wexler's book is "Fire Breathing Liberal, How I Learned to Survive and Thrive in the Contact Sport of Congress." Would you want Bill Clinton involved?
WEXLER: Absolutely. Senator Obama is the agent of change, but President Clinton is in a class of his own. A powerful speaker. The most powerful surrogate other than Senator Clinton. I would love him to be in my district in Florida. I would love him anywhere in Florida. I think Senator Obama and Senator Clinton and President Clinton will be a very effective team along with several others. KING: Quickly, Amy, big turn out?
HOLMES: Huge turn out. I think November will be breaking all records.
KING: All records.
Thank you all very much. By the way, go to our Web site, cnn.com/larryking. I love saying that. For ring tones, our latest podcast and much, much more. We've got an exclusive for you Tuesday night, Hulk Hogan, it's his first interview since his son was jailed for that car wreck that critically injured a friend, that's LARRY KING LIVE, Tuesday night, Hulk Hogan.
CNN NEWSROOM with my man Rick Sanchez at global headquarters in Atlanta starts right now.