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STATE OF THE UNION

Hillary Clinton To Announce Her Presidential Run; Hillary Clinton Expected to Launch 2016 Bid Today; Marco Rubio Expected to Join 2016 Race on Monday. Aired 12:00-13:00p

Aired April 12, 2015 - 12:00   ET

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


DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Team Clinton trying to build suspense telling us her big announcement may come at any moment. And Republicans, they're already firing back.

This is STATE OF THE UNION.

Hillary Clinton is ready to launch another bid for the White House.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is ready to push back. Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer on expectations for Hillary 2.0. And can Clinton really be a candidate of change?

Hello from Washington. I'm Dana Bash.

We've been told Clinton's announcement will be made via social media with a video aides say she did days ago. While we wait for it to hit the Twitter verse, let's go to CNN's Mark Preston at Clinton campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

Mark, what are you hearing?

MARK PRESTON, CNN EXECUTIVE POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, Dana, we just heard in the last few minutes this video will not be released until a little bit later this afternoon. We had been focus being on the noon hour thinking that would be the time that it would come out and would spread across social media.

We're now told by a Democrat with knowledge of the release that in fact that is going to be pushed back until a little bit in the afternoon. All part of the planning strategy, Dana, of the anticipation game of Hillary Clinton announcing that she's running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

BASH: Mark Preston, thank you very much from New York.

And I want to bring you right back here to the studio, the two of our best as well. Our Washington correspondent -- senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny and our senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar. Hi guys.

Brianna, let's start with you. What are you hearing?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we understand, as Mark just said, that this is something we're sort of waiting for so all eyes getting ready for this video which we're going to see on social media. And then this campaign travel -- campaign style travel.

Really Hillary Clinton, we've known that she's running for some time but now we're really waiting to see whether she can do it, whether see can perform. I think that's the question.

She has stumbled at times over the last year in interviews. We saw her on the stump in -- for the mid-term elections. She did better there. But we're going to see how she performs.

BASH: And Republicans are already hitting her.

KEILAR: Already, yes. All of them. Rand Paul took aim at her in an interview with you. Marco Rubio as well. And Jeb Bush, this is interesting. So, he's not officially even in the race and yet he came out with a bit of a prebuttal video to Hillary Clinton.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We must do better than Obama- Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies. Better than their big failed government policies that grow our debt and stand in the way of real economic growth and prosperity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: He talks also before that -- this is fascinating to me -- about fighting for the middle class and having opportunity for all Americans. Well, guess whose campaign message that is? That is Hillary Clinton's. So he's really going head-to-head with her on message.

BASH: And what about message? What are you hearing about what she intends to do differently this time?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: And that is the point. We're going to hear why she's running this week. We know she is running but we're going to hear why.

And you're right, income inequality, sort of fairness for all is going to be a central part of her message but it's a good reminder. That is going to be a theme and anthem of this 2016 campaign on both sides. Everyone, Democrats and Republicans, their wages have been stagnant. The middle class has been affected. So, that's what she is going to talk about.

But we're getting a better sense of her travel coming up. She'll be going to Iowa and New Hampshire but she is doing a bit of a listening tour over the weeks of April. And she is going to have, I'm told by a top Democrat, a big announcement speech -- a bigger speech in May.

So, she's doing a bit of a ramp-up. She's really doing a lot of one- on-one meetings, very small events and a bigger thing in May that she's going to sort of downsize her campaign to try and show that she is fighting for every vote and listening to voters first and foremost.

BASH: The slow roll. Jeff, Brianna, thank you. We're going to get back to you later in the hour.

And I want to turn now though to Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California who, of course, served with Hillary Clinton when she was in the Senate.

Senator, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it.

Let's first talk where we just left off with Brianna and Jeff. She's going to be talking about her issues but also she's going to go big on her biography and on the fact that she would be the first female president. A very different tact than she took in 2008 when her agenda was kind of an afterthought.

Is that an important thing for her to be doing?

[12:04:55] SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: I think that Hillary Clinton is going to be the champion for American families and the fact that she's a woman is a fact. It is a factor. But it isn't the be all and the end all.

Because if you know Hillary the way that I do -- and a lot of people do -- you know that she's warm, you know she's compassionate. And when she came to the United States Senate, she proved that she was really a workhorse and she listened. And she's going to start this campaign by listening. But she is going to relate to every day Americans.

And I think becoming a grandmother, as I did so many years ago, makes you think about tomorrow. And I think she's going to be a candidate to make the changes we need now and she's going to stand for what we need to do to lift up our children, lift up the middle class.

And you know, all this talk about, oh, wouldn't it be great if we had a fierce Democratic primary? I just don't buy that. She's got 10 Republicans who are going to beat up on her starting today. They actually started yesterday. And it's going to hone her skills.

And I am very excited. I have just a little -- you know, my heart's beating a little faster today because I want to thank her for making this decision. She's going to get hit hard 24/7, but she's going to stand with America's families. It is going to be a great campaign. I'm so excited about it.

BASH: You know, Senator, you bring up the fact that she's already getting hit by Republicans. No question about that.

BOXER: Yes.

BASH: But tactically, that could pull her more to the right and perhaps depress the liberal base in a way that is not necessarily helpful to her. You know very well that your colleague, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is really exciting that base in a way that perhaps Hillary Clinton is not. Why is that?

BOXER: Well, I don't buy into any of what you just said. Elizabeth Warren signed a letter with all of us women in the United States Senate asking Hillary to run. And Hillary is --

BASH: Yes. I don't mean her. I mean her supporters.

BOXER: Well, I think what we're going to see now is that we are all united around the fact that the Democratic Party doesn't just fight for a few people at the top. We fight for all of our families, especially those in the middle who are so crushed by student loan debt, by mortgages and all the rest. And I think Hillary's going to be their champion.

And I think -- you know, right now -- I was thinking back to the primary where Barack and Hillary ran against each other. The country was so divided. Democrats were divided about the war -- we were in, you know, this horrible -- getting out of this great recession. Now we're really united. We are very united. Really, the entire base of the party.

And so I think Elizabeth Warren has had a wonderful impact on the party because she stands every day and she fights for the middle class and the students and hope for the future. And Hillary has taken that in. It's going to be part of her message.

So we're going to be united and we have to be because 10 Republicans are coming at our candidate.

BASH: You mentioned the 2008 fight. One of the reasons why Hillary Clinton did not win that was because of her vote for the Iraq war in 2002. You did not vote for that.

BOXER: Yes.

BASH: You voted against it, which is I think the vote that you're very proud of.

BOXER: Yes.

BASH: But given your difference with her on that, do you think she has the judgment to be commander in chief?

BOXER: Of course.

Here's the thing about Hillary. She voted for that war along with the vast majority of the Congress. But she had the courage when she found out exactly what we all found out, that it was based on false information, you know, frankly, I think lies. She did the toughest thing of all, which is to say, "I was wrong." The three words every politician never wants to say.

And I think it showed that she's courageous. And it made me really respect her all the more. I disagreed with her vehemently on the war, but I was so happy when she said, "I was wrong." And, look, when she was secretary of state, the reputation of America

was down as low as it's ever been in history. And she restored the reputation of our nation. And so I think she brings to this every quality you'd want to have. And the Republicans are going to beat her up, you know, morning, noon and night, and I think she will stand up to it. She's been around the block a few times on this and I think it will bring more people to her side.

BASH: Senator, you mention the fact that you don't buy the idea that she needs a Democratic primary fight. There will be some opponents --

BOXER: Right.

BASH: -- on the left, maybe nominal, maybe more -- we'll see how it plays out.

Lincoln Chafee is somebody who says that he's more than likely to go in and run against her. I talked to him this morning.

Is it worth it? Do these guys have a chance? Should they even bother?

[12:09:56] BOXER: Oh, I think anyone that has in their heart the desire to run for president should do it. But what I'm saying is, as a party we've never been as unified around a candidate. And the reason is, Hillary is so ready for this.

You know, they had that PAC ready for Hillary. I am so over ready. I cannot wait to see this announcement this afternoon.

I worked with her very, very closely when she was first lady, when she was in the United States Senate. And I'll tell you, the respect that she had across party -- the party aisle. Now they forget about it.

They loved Hillary. Lindsey Graham loved Hillary. John McCain loved Hillary. They worked with her. She was front and center with Chuck Schumer after 9/11 and she restored hope to that great state and also to our great nation. She fought for those first responders. And they all helped her and they all, as I remember, voted for her for secretary of state.

Now all of a sudden she's this great enemy. It doesn't -- it's not going to work for them. They have nothing positive to say --

BASH: But we'll -

BOXER: -- and I think she has everything positive to say.

BASH: Well, Senator, we're going to see about that because I'm going to talk to Lindsey Graham after the break. You're right, he did have some nice things to say about him (ph).

BOXER: Oh, OK.

BASH: I appreciate your time this morning. From California Senator Barbara Boxer, thank you. And up next, Lindsey Graham is not just somebody who had some nice things to say about Hillary Clinton but he could potentially face her in a presidential match-up. We're talk to him next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[12:15:17] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She was a formidable candidate in 2008. She was a great supporter of mine in the general election. She was an outstanding secretary of state. She is my friend. I think she would be an excellent president, and I'm not on the ballot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: A full circle moment as President Obama, who defeated Hillary Clinton in her first presidential run, all but endorsing her bid to succeed him.

Joining me now, a man considering a White House run of his own, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Senator, thank you for joining me. I want to start where I left off with Senator Boxer, her reminding us that you worked with Hillary Clinton in the Senate.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Mm-hmm.

BASH: You have praised her when she was secretary of state. She fought for her ideas inside the Obama Oval Office. For example, arming the Syrian rebels. So would she make a good president?

GRAHAM: I think she would continue the policies of this president because she was his secretary of state.

And trust me, she did not fight effectively for a foreign policy that's working. She empowered a failed foreign policy and when it comes to Obamacare, Bill and Hillary Clinton did a better job of selling it than Barack Obama. So at the end of the day here's her challenge. Here's how I'm different than Barack Obama. Here's why my foreign policy will be better than his, because the world is literally on fire. And from an economic point of view, here's what I would do differently than Barack Obama.

So, if she can make a case that she's different than him the she'll have a chance. If she can't, game, set, match.

BASH: Well, let's just stay there on foreign policy. She wasn't the president and she did --

GRAHAM: No, but she is secretary of state.

BASH: Right. But she did advocate exactly what you wanted --

GRAHAM: Mm-hmm. BASH: -- on Syria when it came to arming the rebels a few years ago. She didn't win but she tried.

GRAHAM: Sure. No, no, good credit for her trying in Syria. At the end of the day where was she at Benghazi when on August the 14th, I think, they wrote a memo from Libya to Washington saying we can't defend the consulate from a coordinated terrorist attack and al Qaeda flags are flying everywhere. How did, you know - at the end of the day how did she behave as secretary of state when it came to withdrawing troops from Iraq? She set the reset button with Russia. How well is that working out? So, I would argue that she empowered a failed foreign policy more than she stood up to it. And when she stood up to it she was ineffective.

So she owns his foreign policy. She owns his domestic policy. And the reason there's 20 Republicans running is that all of us think we can beat her.

BASH: Well, let's talk about another one of the Republicans who are running. A colleague of yours, Rand Paul. He said -- excuse me. You said this week that Hillary Clinton could get a better Iran deal --

GRAHAM: Yes.

BASH: -- than the president -- excuse me, than Rand Paul could.

GRAHAM: Yes.

BASH: Would you vote for Hillary Clinton or Rand Paul if it was the two of them running for president?

GRAHAM: I'd vote for Senator Paul because I'm a Republican and I would oppose his foreign policy when I had to.

But Rand Paul and I agree on the economy. We've tried to reform Social Security and Medicare. At the end of the day, I think Senator Paul and I have far more in common in terms of the size and scope of government. On foreign policy we dramatically disagree.

Leading from behind has been Barack Obama's foreign policy. What would be Hillary Clinton's foreign policy? To Rand Paul's credit, he's a true libertarian. He believes in fortress America. At the end of the day he believes if you leave the world alone, it will leave us alone. President Obama doesn't believe in leading from the front. The world is falling apart. So where's Hillary Clinton? I'd like to know. Trying to find out where she's at on anything is like nailing Jell-O to the wall.

BASH: Well, she's going to be out there presumably very soon when she finally announces --

GRAHAM: Well, I hope you all ask her some questions. I hope you all will ask her some questions.

BASH: We will. Don't you worry, we will.

GRAHAM: OK, good.

BASH: Let's talk more about the Republican field.

Tomorrow Senator Marco Rubio is going to announce his bid for the presidency. You worked with him on an immigration deal --

GRAHAM: Mm-hmm.

BASH: -- that allowed a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. He got so hammered by the Republican base he backed off of it.

GRAHAM: Yes.

BASH: Is that leadership? Do you think he's fit to be a leader?

[12:19:36] GRAHAM: I think he's got a great view of the world. I think he's a traditional Republican on foreign policy. He's got a heck of a personal story to tell. I like him a lot.

He did vote for the immigration bill that was passed by the gang of eight. He was part of the gang of eight. But at the end of the day, are we ready to be president will be a discussion you'll have about all of us? Do we have the experience and the judgment? Are we tough enough for this job --

BASH: And what's your answer on Marco Rubio based on that experience?

GRAHAM: I think - I think he's going -- I think he will - I think he will be a good candidate. If he gets the nomination, I would gladly support him.

But I can tell you this about Lindsey Graham. The hardest thing in politics is not beating on your political opponents but disagreeing with your own party and your political friends. I have done that when I thought it was best for the country.

So I can tell anybody listening to this program, when it comes to being president of the United States, I would put the country ahead of the party. I got a record to prove it.

BASH: Let's just talk about the last Republican candidate who's also in the Senate with you that we haven't discussed, Ted Cruz. He is positioning --

GRAHAM: Mm-hmm.

BASH: -- himself as the conservative candidate. Not just on fiscal issues but on --

GRAHAM: Yes.

BASH: -- social issues, even trying to appeal to the evangelical base. Can you ever see yourself supporting Ted Cruz for president?

GRAHAM: I'm going to support anybody in our party who wins the nomination because they will convince my party they are the best person to carry the banner. I think we've got a great chance of winning.

Senator Cruz has got to prove to the American people that he's got the judgment, experience and temperament to the president of the United States. That he can solve problems in Washington. One of the problems I've had with Senator Cruz is that his goal of shutting down the government to bring about policy changes, to shut down the entire federal government unless Barack Obama repealed Obamacare never made much sense to me. I think it hurt our party. I like him a lot.

But at the end of the day the next commander in chief needs to prove - the next candidate for president needs to prove they can be the commander in chief on day one, get the world put back together and actually get something done in Washington where both parties have to participate.

As to Hillary Clinton, her biggest problem is that her fingerprints are all over this failed foreign policy and she was there for President Obama selling Obamacare and his domestic agenda better than he did. So if you're looking for something new, I don't think it really is Hillary Clinton. And this whole idea about the middle class, her definition of poverty is probably different than most people's definition of poverty. She said that her and Bill Clinton basically were flat broke and impoverished after they left the White House. I think most Americans understand that's not flat broke.

BASH: Well, she's going to be talking about income inequality, about the fact that wages aren't rising. I mean, you agree with that, right? You think that should be solved (ph)?

GRAHAM: Yes, yes. The middle class is getting screwed by the Obama agenda. Who can pay you more, who can hire more people in this economy when you don't know what your power bill's going to be because the EPA regulation on carbon is hanging over you? People are losing their health care because the oppressive nature of Obamacare. Obama has raised taxes.

At the end of the day the middle class has suffered the most under Barack Obama. What would she do differently than Barack Obama to help the middle class? Because clearly it's not working on his watch. How would she reset a world that's literally falling apart? How would she re-establish a relationship with Israel? How would she stand up to ISIS and ISIL differently than Barack Obama?

So she's got - she's got to prove to the American people that she's different than the guy that we're all hoping will leave in 20 months because this country and this world is in chaos. And I would argue you need somebody new to fix it.

BASH: Senator, before I let you go, how's your run looking? You've been traveling to the early states trying to get a sense of whether --

GRAHAM: Yes.

BASH: -- you're going to make it official. Will you?

GRAHAM: I'm more likely to run than not. I'll know in May. I got to get the money in place to be competitive. But Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have two things in common. They're small states where they expect you to show up and answer hard questions. It is an anecdote to big money. And everybody in these states on the Republican side the number one issue is foreign policy.

How do you keep America safe in a very dangerous time? And if that's the debate, who's ready to be commander in chief? I like my chances.

BASH: All right, sounds like I'm going to see you on the campaign trail, Senator. Thank you very much for joining us from South Carolina.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

[12:24:06] BASH: Up next, inside team Clinton. We're going to take a look at her campaign game plan for winning 2016.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: When we first started, people everywhere asked the same questions -- could a woman really serve as commander in chief? Well, I think we answered that one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: And we are awaiting Hillary Clinton's official announcement of her candidacy for the second time for president of the United States.

And I'm joined now by my colleague, CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, who spent some time speaking with people who know Hillary Clinton well.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I did, Dana. You know, over the last months I spent some time with these people kind of asking them about what Hillary Clinton is really like off stage and what is really driving her to run this presidential gauntlet again? And here's what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORGER (voice-over): Unless you've been living on another planet for the last few decades, there's one political star that's been unavoidably present.

REP. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: Not too many people with the one name -- Hillary -- I guess a few others, Madonna and a few others. But everybody knows Hillary.

BORGER: Maybe not as well as close friend Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, but well enough to be on a first-name basis. As in Hillary, the young Watergate committee lawyer. Hillary, first lady of Arkansas and first lady of the United States. Hillary, senator from New York and presidential candidate. Hillary, secretary of state and presidential candidate. It was a decision that surprised absolutely no one. Least of all, old family friend and adviser Paul Begala.

[12:30:00] PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's not just I have to do this, I have to make history, I have to be the big shot, they have to play "Hail to the Chief" when I walk in the room.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: She doesn't need it but she wants it. She's put a lifetime into herself in a way in preparation for it.

BORGER (voice-over): It was clear, even back at Yale law school in the '70s, when she met this fellow --

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I actually tried to talk Hillary into leaving me when we were in law school. It is the God's truth. You have more talent for public service than anybody in my generation that I have met and I shouldn't stand in your way. You should do this. She looked at me and laughed. She said, "Oh, Bill, I'll never run for office."

BORGER: She was the original good wife. Writing her own role.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER FIRST LADY: This health security card will represent a right of every citizen.

BORGER: And public defender in chief --

HILLARY CLINTON: -- is this vast right wing conspiracy.

BORGER: Despite a brutal personal struggle.

(on camera): What did you learn about Hillary Clinton when you went through some of the tougher times?

GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: It was tough. This was about their family. And she wanted to keep it about their family. You know, when tough times come, she's able to deal with it, deal with it herself and is able to continue to move on.

BORGER (voice-over): An essential skill, says Democrat Bill Daley, who has managed both a presidential candidate and a White House.

BILL DALEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I don't know what they could say about her that hasn't been said about her in the past in a negative sense. So she's got a pretty strong shield around her.

BORGER: It's a shield that can keep the voters at arm's length so that after all these years in the public eye, there's still something elusive about Hillary Clinton.

BEGALA: People who's never met either of them, have very clear sense of who Bill Clinton is. They love him. They still call him Bill. You think he would like to come and have a barbecue with us? With Hillary, there is a distance.

BORGER: The plan is to have the voters meet the real Hillary, the warm one, virtually one-on-one.

BEGALA: Nobody -- nobody I've ever seen -- better at that.

BORGER: So they can finally see the woman her friends describe.

MCAULIFFE: A lot of fun, tremendous amount of fun. She's got a great belly laugh. She and I will sit out on vacation, talking policy, might have a cocktail or two. You know. I mean she's a load of fun to be with.

FEINSTEIN: I think she's a very complete person. But I think the most important thing is what her experience has given her. You know, we have men who come here for one or two years, get a few puff pieces, and they go out and they run for president.

BORGER: That's a far cry from Hillary Clinton's long and sometimes controversial story.

HILLARY CLINTON: I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and drank tea.

BORGER (on camera): You know, she comes with baggage. There are negative perceptions about the Clintons as paranoid, too protective, even arrogant that came up during the whole e-mail controversy. Will that matter?

DALEY: I think the misconceptions, there are certain people that have -- are fixing those with those beliefs and they've been for 25 years. You're not going to change them. What you've got to do is basically talk to the future about what you want to do with the country.

BORGER (voice-over): In 2008, Clinton ran on her resume.

HILLARY CLINTON: I will bring a lifetime of experience.

BORGER: And the campaign let the woman thing take a back seat.

BEGALA: I do think the last time she ran they tried very hard to keep it a secret. But she is a girl.

BORGER (voice-over): That she was a woman?

BEGALA: Right. That she's a woman.

BORGER: Do you think the tug of history is very strong?

FEINSTEIN: I think she knows she carries the cause and if a very qualified woman can hold that job and perform well, that's a big thing.

BORGER: Do you think it will be harder for a woman to run for president even in 2016?

FEINSTEIN: Oh, I think it is harder. And I think she knows it's harder. And women are tested in ways that men are not. And that's another discussion. But -- (LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: That is very true.

Gloria, what a fascinating piece. So many takeaways, but the one I want to talk about, Dianne Feinstein talking about the boys getting a couple of puff pieces.

BORGER: What could she be talking about?

BASH: They think they can be president and a woman has to work hard.

BORGER: Right. You know, look, I mean, obviously, she's in the Senate. Could she be talking about Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio? I think so.

BASH: Or Barack Obama.

BORGER: Or Barack Obama?

BASH: Yes.

BORGER: I think so. And this time, as I've pointed out, in the piece she's running very much on being a woman and not as much on her experience, in many ways what Dianne Feinstein was just saying is, you need to run on your experience because you're up against all these newbies who didn't really know as much as you do, particularly about foreign policy.

BASH: That's the problem is she was running against a newbie in 2008 and it didn't go very well.

[12:35:03] I think the other thing that's so interesting is how everybody's talking about how this time they're going to see the real Hillary. This time, she's going to get a glitter personality show. That's why she's doing these smaller venues, not a big speech, where she's maybe more accessible.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Let her kindness and sense of humor come out a little bit more.

But I do agree with what we saw in the piece, which is that a lot of people just have perceptions about where -- who Hillary Clinton is. They're not going to be changed -- except for -- and this is something that her campaign is so in tune with -- there is a huge population bump, these millennials that are coming of voting age.

I've gone to a number of these events where there are young people there. It is anecdotal but you talk to them and they have a completely different perception of Hillary Clinton.

BASH: What is it?

KEILAR: They just aren't in -- at all in touch with the '90s. They don't have that baggage. So, when they think of Hillary Clinton, they know that she was a senator, but they mostly think of her as she was secretary of state, yes, she ran against President Obama with be but then they got along and she's this kind of huge larger-than-life almost political celebrity.

BASH: I should, by the way, that we have you back, Brianna Keilar and Jeff Zeleny.

BORGER: Need no introduction.

BASH: Exactly.

But, Jeff, talk about your reporting on what she's going to do going forward, where she's going to go, and how she's going to do things differently.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, she's going to Iowa and New Hampshire, which of course are the places she needs to first meet those voters. So, she'll do that later this week. Over the course of the next month, she'll visit South Carolina and Nevada. Those are the top four states.

She'll also be doing fund-raising. So, along the way, she'll be meeting a lot of voters.

But you're absolutely right -- there are millions and millions of young Americans and other Americans who haven't been necessarily paying attention as much as we have to all this who are still going to be tuning in to her. So, that experience cuts both ways. But it's implicit now I think more.

In '08, she had to talk about her strength. I think that's more of a just implicit, it's there. She'll be able to talk more about her grandmother life and Chelsea will be campaigning much more than President Clinton, I can tell you.

BASH: OK. Real quick on that, Bill Clinton. He says he's going to take a back seat. Be more of a backstage advisor.

BORGER: Ha-ha.

BASH: Backstage adviser.

BORGER: Yes.

BASH: Not a front and center surrogate which got her in trouble.

BORGER: You know, I asked Terry McAuliffe about this and he said with sort of a smile on his face, oh, he just wants to help. Which is true, he wants to help. How can he help right now? He can help by letting her do the one-on-one. We're not going to be asking the question where is Bill Clinton, where is bill Clinton? Let her show her strength.

He can help with that with American voters, he can help with Latino voters. He can help in large groups but at this point it's got to be about Hillary.

BASH: But the question, can he help himself?

KEILAR: Because in South Carolina last go-round, he didn't. And he was arguably so damaging to her.

But she's going to utilize him. And she would be silly not to. He's such a tremendous surrogate that at some points --

BASH: Why not? He's such a great communicator.

BORGER: At some point.

ZELENY: He is a good fund-raiser, a good communicator. But the question is when she gets attacked by Republicans, that's when it became an issue in '08, when she was being attacked by Barack Obama and others, and the media. That's when he finds it very difficult to not defend her.

BORGER: And you cannot underestimate the impact of attacks on family members, that kind of forget all their political planning and they defend the person they love.

BASH: It gets under your skin. Gloria, thank you very much.

What a great piece.

Brianna, Jeff, awesome reporting. Thank you.

We're going to talk a lot more about Hillary Clinton and how she's going to navigate the rough waters of another presidential run. And how much of this will be an effort to react to the failed bid last time around. We're going to talk to Republican heavy hitters rather when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First female president. First female president. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You look great, Mrs. Clinton. OK, now, hold up your phone and you can just look natural.

OK.

OK. I think you want to soften a little. OK, a little more. OK, maybe a lot more. Great. Great.

And action.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Citizens, you will elect me. I will be your leader.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: Like no one else can, SNL having their fun with Hillary Clinton's announcement that is going to come later today.

Joining me around the table to talk about that, Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and Jeb Bush supporter, Paul Begala, Democratic strategist and co-chair of a pro-Hillary super PAC, and Blanch Lincoln, former Democratic senator from Arkansas.

Thank you all so much.

I want to actually start with an epilogue that Hillary Clinton wrote for her book, "Hard Choices," trying to lay out what her policy prescriptions are going to be, at least her focus. She says, "Too few of the children born in the United States and around the world today will grow up with the same opportunities as Charlotte", her granddaughter. "You shouldn't have to be the granddaughter of a president or secretary of state to receive excellent health care, education enrichment and all the support and advantages that will one day lead to a good job and a successful life."

Senator Lincoln, you served with her in the United States Senate. She tried a version of this campaign theme in 2008, but she got thwarted for a lot of reasons.

Do you think it's going to fly this time?

BLANCHE LINCOLN (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I do. I do, because I think America's families are seeing the fact that we haven't reauthorized an ESEA bill in 14 years. So, the kids that have come through the public schools in this country have not had the advantage of being able to see what we could improve on in those laws and education.

She's exactly right. A baby girl born today has over 50 percent chance of living to be 100. That means she's going to work longer. That means that she's going to have the same issues that women today in the work force do, which is they put less in Social Security. There is less security in terms of what happens to them after workforce, with whether or not they can have children and, you know, a family and be able to do all the things that they want to do.

BASH: Congresswoman, you are a grand grandmother. I assume you agree on the goal but not the means.

[12:45:00] REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: I think all women want opportunity for their children. They're focused on that.

What they're frustrated with is what they see as a diminishment of freedoms that are coming from this administration. And what they're also frustrated with is jobs and paychecks and the fact that more people are in poverty through the Obama administration. Families are making $2,400 per family less in what is their take-home pay.

And jobs and the economy are the number one issue. I think Hillary Clinton's going to have a very difficult time selling this message, because it boils down to what have you done that would change this. And the answer is nothing.

LINCOLN: Oh, I disagree on that, for sure. I mean in terms of pay equity and in terms of education --

BLACKBURN: Policies --

LINCOLN: Those were policies --

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKBURN: Policies aren't working.

LINCOLN: Yes, they're not working.

BASH: Let me get the other panel lists here. Paul, just on this -- and Lindsey Graham said earlier -- that what she's proposing isn't that different philosophically ideologically from what Barack Obama. So, how could it be different?

BEGALA: It is a record to build on. Not sit on or stand on, but to build on.

The president came in, and I know you were paying your cable bill, Congresswoman. You sure to watch the news, we were in a collapse, a Bush Republican-driven collapse.

President Clinton left President Bush the largest surplus in American history. Bush squandered it. The Republicans helped. They squandered the entire thing, drove us into recession.

President Obama has dug us out of that. Now, we have positive job creation but you can't stop there. Senator Lincoln is right -- the crisis in this country, has been a quiet crisis but it is the collapse of the middle class.

This is what Hillary's dialed in on. The president did a great job putting out the fires that were burning the house down under Bush. Now, we have to repair the foundation and the cracks in that foundation are the middle class.

Hillary's talking about things like the senator mentioned, pay equity, creating jobs for middle class families. Actually some see it as a restriction of freedom to be able to enforce the equal pay laws for women. Hillary disagrees. This will be a big debate we'll have with the Republicans.

BASH: Let me just bring Ana, if I may.

We're talking a lot about domestic policy. But our foreign policy, you know full well Republicans are trying to have a field day with Benghazi and what happened in Benghazi. You're a Republican who tells it like it is. You really think they're going to have traction on Benghazi?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, I don't know if Benghazi but I think her foreign policy record is certainly up for review and it's going to be under a lot of scrutiny. Part of what she brings to the table is having been secretary of state.

And going back to the woman thing, I'm, frankly, fascinated by how it's playing out this time, because it is so different from 2008 where she did not embrace the historical moment of being a woman.

BASH: Maybe she learned from Barack Obama.

NAVARRO: Here's a problem -- Hillary Clinton on this woman thing I think lacking subtlety. I don't need her to drown me in estrogen every time she opens her mouth.

BASH: I don't think that's going to happen!

NAVARRO: Every time she opens her mouth, it is about the granddaughter and Chelsea's wedding and the yoga routines. You know, Hillary Clinton needs to stop being focus grouped to death and be Hillary Clinton. She doesn't need to have a sign that says "I am woman, hear me roar."

BASH: That's a great point, but you know her. Is that Hillary Clinton? Does she -- (INAUDIBLE) estrogen, but the fact that she is a mom and a grandmother and her femininity is a part of her? Or is it --

LINCOLN: Isn't it part of all of us? I mean, my kids are hugely important. I was bragging on mine to Marsha earlier.

I mean, you know, they're huge part of who are. It's our family is what we talk about, it's about what we fight for. And, yes, I think, you know, I think she will do a great job of letting people know who she is.

And she's very productive. She makes sense on things. She's a hard worker.

When she came to the Senate -- you know, they thought she was going to be a diva. She was not a diva at all.

BASH: You know how hard it is to be a woman in any profession but especially politics. It might be something that female voters, even those who are not crazy about her policies might say, well, I do want to have a female president in my lifetime.

BLACKBURN: I think many women do. I don't think Hillary Clinton is going to be the one who is going to be the first female president.

I think there's a couple of things there, trust, honesty. Those get in her way. As we talk about the polling that is out there. That gets in Hillary's way and she's not authentic.

BASH: As a man here, you want to dive in.

NAVARRO: Be ever so careful what you say about women?

BEGALA: I represent the TA, the testosteroned Americans. I'm the only one here, I'm happy to be at least a token boy on this panel. Here's what people don't know about Hillary. When I first met Hillary, she wasn't yet famous. She was first lady of Arkansas.

But she was actually really normal. She had a full time.

BASH: It was.

BEGALA: Because the life (INAUDIBLE) sounds not at all normal.

This obviously, when you're running for president, it's not longer a normal life. But when she was first lady of Arkansas, she was simultaneously a full-time career woman and a full-time mom. You two can relate to that. You can relate to that. Every working woman in America can relate to that.

She had to balance those things and she did it at a time when we did not have the same sort of progress that we have now.

[12:50:05] And the question is, do we go back to those days and repeal things like equal pay or turn away from the right to enforce it, or do we move forward?

She will resonate -- or as President Bush used to say resignate -- with working women in a way people expect, because they don't know that side of her.

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: OK. Stand by.

BLACKBURN: I disagree with that.

BASH: Stand by, stand by, because we have another party, the Republican Party. You both know. We want to talk about your candidates on other side of the break.

So stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, RAND PAUL AD)

AD NARRATOR: Hillary Clinton represents the worst of the Washington machine, the arrogance of power, corruption and cover-up, conflicts of interest and failed leadership with tragic consequences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Just in case that was a little too subtle for you, Rand Paul has a brand-new ad which is not unlike other Republicans running for president. They are really having the focus on Hillary Clinton.

We're back to talk about that and more with Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Ana Navarro, Paul Begala and Senator Blanche Lincoln.

Thank you all again. Let's start talking about Rand Paul. He very much focused his big announcement this past week on Hillary Clinton. He did have something to talk about. He was doing well in two battleground states.

But is that really right for Republicans to be so focused on her right now? Shouldn't they be battling Republican ideas within their own party?

BLACKBURN: You know what is so interesting, this weekend at the NRA convention in Nashville, there was a lot of talk about Hillary and what she's going to bring or not bring to the table. I do think that what we should do is be out there talking about big ideas and what we're going to do. The American people are ready for big ideas. They are tired of being broke.

They want this economy to get back on track and all of our contenders -- which are all male right now -- hopefully we'll get some women into that mix.

BASH: Want to make an announcement?

[12:55:03] BLACKBURN: Oh, no, no, no!

I'm just the chief mama in charge of great ideas. And we need to talk about more of those ideas on a national platform.

BASH: OK. So, there's going to be another Republican who's going to officially jump in tomorrow, Marco Rubio. He's going to be announcing for president in Miami. Ahead of that, he put out, of course, a video, because that's what you do these days.

Let's watch part of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: This is whether we are going to be the first generation of Americans to leave our children worse off than ourselves, or the next generation that will allow them to inherit what they deserve, inherit what we inherited, give to them what every generation before us has given to the next -- the single greatest nation in all of human history.

God bless you, thank you and God bless America. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Very uplifting, very hopeful, very optimistic. You are a good friend of Marco Rubio's, Ana, but you are supporting Jeb Bush. Is this tough for Floridians like yourself who have to choose between their two friends?

NAVARRO: Yes, it is. You know, under different circumstances and a different time, I would most definitely be supporting Marco Rubio. I think he is the most politically skilled and politically able person on both sides of the potential field. His skills as an orator, his ability to talk about American

exceptionalism, his youthful energy really are unparalleled. I'm very proud of the work he's done in the U.S. Senate. I think he has developed himself as a very clear and coherent voice on foreign policy. I -- but not now. Not against Jeb Bush who I think is more prepared.

BASH: If I may --

BLACKBURN: Can I speak to that? I think Marco Rubio goes a long way to making the GOP the great opportunity party and that's exactly what we need.

BASH: OK. Hold on, everybody. We're going to have more on the next hour, because we have a whole another hour of this.

Stand by, we are going to be looking at everybody's Twitter feed to see when Hillary Clinton does make that announcement. And we'll be right back.

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