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Hillary Clinton Expected To Launch 2016 Bid Today; Clinton Expected To Launch Campaign Via Social Media; Rand Paul's First Week After Announcing His Run; Hillary's Announcement; Marco Rubio is Next. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired April 12, 2015 - 13:00   ET


[13:00:03] DANA BASH, CNN HOST: I'm Dana Bash in Washington. Any time now Hillary Clinton is expected to officially launch her 2016 bid for the White House. Her announcement will come by way of social media. CNN will bring it to you as soon as it's released.

Hillary Clinton's first trip after she announces will be to the first caucus state of Iowa. And that's where our senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns is. Joe, you know, look. We remember back in 2008, this is where Hillary Clinton did very poorly. Not just losing to Barack Obama but even John Edwards. This is do-over time for her there. Right?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You're supposed to learn from your mistakes. And while no one in the likely Hillary campaign is talking about it right now, one of the great mistakes of her run from 2008 was not doing well here in Iowa. She was out organized by then-senator Barack Obama. And so now getting off to a good start means meeting the voters where they live, making the campaign about the voters. Connecting with them on their level and we've seen some of that in the mission statement in the Hillary for America memo that went out in advance of this weekend. So the expectation is they'll try to show a more humble Hillary Clinton willing to fight for every vote. The rollout on social media seen as a soft start.

A humble beginning, if you will. And also an opportunity for her to connect with younger voters being on social media. What to expect, assuming her announcement comes today, Democratic strategist tells me they are trying to run an extraordinarily tight and managed campaign with an attempt to avoid some of the in-fighting and the missteps of the last go-round. We're already seeing some of that in the radio silence coming from her inner circle about today and the coming week. And talking with Clinton supporters, there is also a sense she needs to re-introduce herself in a way we have not seen in more than a decade. Many people know her as the former secretary of state, but supporters want to show the woman who is also a mother, a grandmother, and someone with a quick sense of wit about her, something people may have lost in the years she's had in international politics -- Dana.

BASH: Joe, thank you very much from Iowa. And we're going to come back here to talk about their insights on the 2016 Clinton campaign. Our team covering here. And it is CNN's Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny and our senior

political correspondent Brianna Keilar. And Bri, give us an update. What are you hearing from team Clinton about how they're planning this slow roll rollout?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's been a couple days now. I mean, they've gotten a lot of attention since we've known for a couple days that this is coming. The video has been taped for some time. It is going to come out today. Really any moment now. And then it's off for that campaign travel both to Iowa and to New Hampshire.

And it really is so key the tone that she strikes and that she does show some humility. If you go back and watch her video that announced her candidacy eight years ago, it does have this sort of sense of entitlement about it, I'm in and I'm in to win. So she goes to Iowa. Her politics are wrong because of where she was on her Iraq war vote. The tone was wrong. The tone of her staffers was wrong. There was this sort of sense of I'm leading the pack and it is going to work out for me and it rubbed the Iowans the wrong way. So, that's why this is -- even though we've known for some time she's going to run, today is so key and this week is so important.

BASH: And you remember, she came in on a helicopter. They called it a helicopter.


BASH: The plane that she came in on.

ZELENY: But that was to create a bit of excitement about her because at that point Barack Obama then was already getting some attention. So, that was at the very end. I think there are a couple things being mis-remembered about 2007 though. I was there. Along the way she was very popular initially. But the Iraq war vote weighed her down in such big ways. And John Edwards. He went after her hard if the fall of '07 saying she's too tied to Wall Street, she's too close to this.

And Barack Obama was not a good candidate through a lot of '07. He kind of came up at the very end and around the side of her. So, I think it is a bit overstated how disastrous her run in Iowa was. She was not connected to them necessarily, but Barack Obama expanded the pool in Iowa. More people came out than ever before. That's why he won, she did not. She still got the traditional caucus goers here. So she enters it with no question, sense of humility. She has to sort of show she's fighting for it.

BASH: There is a balance between humility, too much humility to the point where you don't excite the base. Because that's an issue when you just look at all of those Elizabeth Warren supporters out there, begging her, the senator from Massachusetts, to run because they just aren't jazzed about Hillary Clinton. Right?

KEILAR: Yes. And I think she's -- the way she does that is by going in and putting in the time. I think there is a sense when you talk to people close to Hillary Clinton, especially those who worked on the 2008 campaign, they were very surprised on caucus night because the turnout was so much more than expected.

ZELENY: Right.

KEILAR: And then that turnout that they hadn't expected went so much for then-Senator Obama. But I think she goes in and she puts the time in. But if you talk to people close to her they were really sort of traumatized. Iowa is this place that I think makes them almost a little nervous thinking about it but I also think there's some eagerness to kind of rewrite that chapter and they see this as really an opportunity to do that.

ZELENY: No doubt about it. And she was underserved by her campaign staff in '07 and '08. There was so much in-fighting that was happening in her Arlington Virginia Headquarters, now it's different. There are different people surrounding her so I think anyone who runs a second time we've seen it throughout history. They are always a better candidate the second time. I think she will be as well.

[13:05:50] BASH: That will test. The question is, whether those new people can really reach beyond the circle. Open question. Brianna?

KEILAR: Very good question. Yes.

BASH: Jeff, thank you very much. We'll going to rely on your reporting in the next hours and days.

And one Democrat who is very bullish on Hillary Clinton's White House run is California Senator Barbara Boxer. I spoke with her a short while ago.


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 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 a 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 that 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 ten Republicans who are going to beat up on her starting today. They actually started yesterday. And it's going to hone her skills.

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.

BASH: Oh, 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.


BASH: And Republican Senator Lindsey Graham sees a Clinton candidacy a little bit differently. He thinks the former secretary of state enters the presidential race facing some tough questions. He's also thinking of entering the race himself. We spoke a short while ago as well and I directly asked him would Hillary Clinton make a good president.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: 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. 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 then 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's secretary of state.

BASH: Right. But she did advocate exactly what you wanted on Syria when it came to arming the rebels a few years ago. She didn't win but she tried. GRAHAM: Sure. 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. 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.

[13:10:35] 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 than --


BASH: -- the President -- excuse me, than Rand Paul could. 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 it 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 is been Barack Obama's foreign policy. What would be Hillary Clinton's foreign policy? To Rand Paul's credit, he is a true libertarian. He believes in fortress America. At the end of the day, he believes if we leave the world alone, they'll leave us alone. President Obama doesn't believe in leading from the front, the world is falling apart. So, where is Hillary Clinton, I'd like to know, trying to find out where she's at on anything is like jailing jell-o to the wall.

BASH: Well, she's going to be out there presumably very soon when she probably announced this.

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

BASH: We will.

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

BASH: Don't you worry, we will.

GRAHAM: Okay. 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 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 leader?

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 he's -- I think he'll 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: And we are keeping an eye on our Twitter feed for Hillary Clinton's announcement. Can she satisfy the Democratic base, the liberal base? That's a question we'll going to ask, next.


[13:17:12] BASH: And we are awaiting Hillary Clinton's announcement about her presidential run. While we wait, we'll talk about it of course and more and get some insight and reporting from our chief political analyst Gloria Borger and our senior political reporter Nia- Malika Henderson.

And Gloria, let me just start with you. Because, you know, she's going to be doing this listening tour. Right? She's going to do a slow roll, the video, no big speech. She's going to talk to small groups. We've been talking about the fact that she's not going to do these big rallies. But specifically on the listening tour, hasn't she been doing that for two decades?


I mean, what does she have to listen for?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: A lot of listening. Yes. Right. Well, I was talking to somebody in the campaign who put it to me this way. You don't want to do a shock and awe, as he put it, when you're introducing Hillary Clinton. The question was, how do you re- introduce Hillary Clinton to an America that, by and large, believes that it knows her because she's been around for a few decades.

So, and you've covered all these events, Dana, you know, so you have Rand Paul having a rally. You have Ted Cruz having a rally. Marco Rubio's going to have a rally on Monday. And with Hillary Clinton I think they decided to do the opposite and they will build to it because they don't want to give the sense of inevitability, even though we all know she is the really likely Democratic nominee. But inevitability didn't work so well for them last time around so they can't do it again.

BASH: But Nia, there is a balance between not having an air of inevitability and a feeling like anticlimactic.


BASH: Right.

HENDERSON: You know, I shaved my legs for this. And so I think, you know, in this video, she's going to be able to be more controlled in this video. I understand it's already been taped. She's not great at those big rallies and sort of the theater of those big speeches. So, I think in some ways we're also in, I think, in sort of a post-speech era. Right? These big speeches. You get out there, Ted Cruz, for instance his big speech at liberty. We'll see Marco Rubio tomorrow. We saw Rand Paul last night. And then you had his whole week and the rollout wasn't so great after that speech. It was sort of like cotton candy, sort of disappears on contact, these big speeches. So, I think like you said, she'll obviously build up. We'll see some of these speeches but I think also this video, you'll be able to pass it around on social media.

BORGER: I think the biggest thing for a presidential candidate is the question -- understands the problems of people like me. And Hillary Clinton had a book tour which didn't go so well. And there's a question of whether she really does understand the problems of people like me. President Obama always had that in his favor. He also had the trust factor in his favor. She's got some issues on that front as well. So that's where these small groups kind of come in handy because the visuals are sitting around a table and talking to people like me.

BASH: And in a state like Iowa and New Hampshire -- it's real. It's not just a mirage, it's not just optics for us. It is actually meeting these voters.

HENDERSON: Exactly. Who really matter, who really expect it, who really want to be wooed, who didn't see that from Hillary Clinton before, who didn't see that initially from Al Gore, you remember when he rolled in with the trappings of the vice presidency. So, just kind of intimate warm, living room environment. I think is what Hillary Clinton wants to give off.

BASH: Nia, Gloria, thank you so much.


BASH: We'll be talking a lot more about this. And Republicans are of course, they are not waiting for Hillary

Clinton. You just heard Gloria talking about the fact. The Republicans are all-out against her already. Even before her official announcement. And next, I will talk with one of them, one who actually announced his own candidacy this past week, Rand Paul.


[13:25:05] BASH: A new poll House Republican Senator Rand Paul with a slight lead over Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical presidential match- up in two key swing states. The Quinnipiac Survey finds Paul leading Clinton 44 to 41 percent in Colorado and 43 to 42 percent in Iowa. Senator Paul was touting those polls all week long when he announced his presidential run and I caught up with him on the campaign trail in Iowa.


BASH: Senator, thank you very much for sitting down with me. I appreciate it. Let's start with the news of the week, and Hillary Clinton announcing for president. Over the past week you've been really critical of her when it comes to the issue of trust. Talking about Benghazi. Talking about the donations to the Clinton Foundation. How far back do you think it's fair game? Do you think Monica? Do you think Whitewater? Do you think the travel office issues? I mean, what should be in the realm of the public debate now?

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I'm not sure that I'll get to decide what's in the realm or not but I do think that there is sort of a history of the Clintons sort of feeling like they're above the law. They said they weren't going to take donations, you know, for the Clinton Foundation during the period of time she was secretary of state, and there are questions whether they did. Since then, there are questions of them taking millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, from the sultan of Brunei. Countries that really have an abysmal human rights records and women's right records. And so I think it really -- it questions the sincerity of whether or not she would be a champion for women's rights when she accepts money from a country like Brunei that stones to death people for adultery and realize that this is men accusing women of adultery, not women accusing men because the men have the only say in the legal system in Brunei. So it does really, it makes it difficult for her message to appear sincere when she's taken money from these foreign countries.

BASH: You said that you don't get to decide but you do get to choose where you criticize her and where you don't. How far back do you think is fair game?

PAUL: I think that her public policy and public life, you know, will be fair game.

BASH: Some of your critics on the Republican side --

PAUL: I don't have any critics, do I?

BASH: I know. Shocking. You do have critics on both sides, as you know. But some of your Republican critics argue that you are actually to the left of Hillary Clinton on foreign policy, that she's more hawkish than you are.

PAUL: Yes. Here's the interesting thing about this, you know, who's aligned with President Obama, whose foreign policy is closest to President Obama. Interestingly many of the hawks in my party line right up with President Obama. Think about the big issues we've had in the last couple years. The war that Hillary prominently promoted in Libya. Many of the hawks in my party were right there with her. Their only difference was in degrees. They wanted to go into Libya as well, they just always want boots on the ground. Some of the hawks in my party you can't find a place on the globe that they don't want boots on the ground.

BASH: But that's their point, that you're to the left of all them.

PAUL: No, my point is, is that they're actually agreeing with Hillary Clinton and agreeing with President Obama that the war in Libya was a good idea. I'm not agreeing with either one of them. They're over here both for war. I'm over here saying that that war made us less safe. That it made radical Islam or allowed radical Islam to rise up in Libya. There are now large segments of Libya that are pledging allegiance to ISIS. Supplying arms to the Islamic rebels in the Syrian civil war. President Obama supported this. Hillary Clinton supported this. And so did the hawks in my party. Only they differed, only on degrees. I didn't support the arming of the Syrian rebels because I felt like it would make al Qaeda and ISIS worse. I didn't support the bombing of Assad.

President Obama supported the bombing of Assad. So did the neocons in my party. So really they're together in supporting many of these interventions. And I've been the one not supporting these interventions because I feared if you bomb the Assad, you would allow ISIS to grow stronger. There are two million Christians in Syria. And you know, what, if you ask them who they would choose, they'd all choose Assad over ISIS. Because they'd see the barbarity of perhaps both. But they see the utter depravity and barbarity of ISIS. And so bombing Assad probably isn't a good policy. These are great foreign policy questions. There will be great debates and I look forward to having them.

BASH: Is there an area where you think Hillary Clinton was successful as secretary of state?

PAUL: I think really that the issue in Benghazi is an enormous issue because it is whether or not as commander in chief she'd be there for the 3:00 a.m. phone call. I think Benghazi was a 3:00 a.m. phone call that she never picked up. She didn't provide the security. Not just that day, for nine months. Dozens and dozens of requests for more security all completely ignored.

BASH: But the question is was there something that she did that was good?

PAUL: That's what I was trying to think. I was getting through the things I remember that aren't so good and trying to think of something good. I'm not so certain of that. I think she took her eye off a very important zone. She was also a big believer in putting arms indiscriminately into the Syrian civil war. I think that made ISIS stronger.

[13:30:06] BASH: But my question about Hillary Clinton. Over the past week, as you well know, there's been some criticism of you and about your interaction with female interviewers, questioning whether you have an issue with women. You said that you get equally annoyed with men and women. I get that.

PAUL: That's probably true.

BASH: I get that. But perception is reality sometimes in politics. So, if you were the Republican nominee and you're on stage with Hillary Clinton a female opponent, you going to have to pull your punches given the perception of you now?

PAUL: I think women have come a long way. Women are in positions not because they're women, they're in positions like yours because they're intelligent and they should be equal to their counterparts and treated equally. But I can tell you that the interviewers in the last couple days probably got it easier than what I gave to Eliot Spitzer on your program here probably about a year or so ago because the thing is that I'm unwilling to let people characterize things unfairly and if someone's going to write an op-ed on me in the question, that's fair for them to try to do it, but it is also fair for me to try to set the record straight that they're editorializing in the question.

BASH: What about if you are on the stage with Hillary Clinton? Will you be cognizant of the fact that she would be a female opponent?

PAUL: You know, I'm always polite and even in all the interviews where I'm accused of maybe being too aggressive, I've never yelled or screamed. I don't get out of control. I do try to be polite and I've always treated it that way.

I would treat her with the same respect that I would treat a man but I wouldn't lay down and say, I'm not going to respond out of some sort of -- I think that's -- that would be a sexist sort of response to say, oh, my goodness, she deserves not to be treated as aggressively because she's "only" a woman.

I would never say that about anybody. I don't come into our interviews thinking, OK, it is a woman versus a man kind of an interview. I just think she's going to ask tough questions, he will ask tough questions, I got to be prepared.

BASH: That's good to hear.

On those tough questions, let's talk about defense spending. When you first came to the Senate you proposed decreasing defense spending by about $164 billion. And then in the past couple of weeks really you proposed increasing by $190 billion. Why the change?

PAUL: I proposed several five-year budgets. For me, the most important thing of the five-year budgets has been to balance. All of my five-year budgets have balanced. The last one I produced was a couple years ago, actually did actually increase defense spending above the military sequester but I did it by taking money from domestic spending.

My belief has always been that national defense is the most important thing we do but we shouldn't borrow to pay for it. So there really is a division in our party. One of the other potential presidential candidates put forward an amendment and he said I'm going to increase defense spending but I'm going to borrow the money and make the debt worse.

So I put up what's called a side by side. I put up an amendment saying, yes, I, too, believe in strong defense but I don't believe in borrowing it. So what separates me from the rest of the Republican field is I believe in a strong national defense, but I don't think you should borrow money from China to do it. So my amendment distinguished myself from the rest of the Republican field because I said I will only pay for defense by cutting spending elsewhere.

BASH: That may be true, but you're also somebody who's trying to prove that you are not weak on national security. So by proposing an increase in military spending before you even announce for president could look like pandering.

PAUL: Well, three, four years ago we did the same thing. We have been for quite some time proposing increases in military spending but always -- the point really isn't so much how much or what the increase is that I believe that any increase in spending should be offset by decreases in spending somewhere else. This is a key point. Because this differentiates me from the rest of the Republican field who many of them are profligate spenders for defense. Many liberals are profligate spenders for welfare. They get together, that's the union in Washington, right and left come together and they're spending us into oblivion.

So the point is I am different. I will not increase spending for anything unless it is offset by corresponding decreases in spending elsewhere in the budget.

BASH: Let's talk about the social issue of gay marriage. In New Hampshire you said "I will fight for your right to be left alone." I realized that you believe gay marriage is a state issue. But why do you believe just as a core principle as a libertarian that people should be left alone but not when it comes to their right to marry somebody they love?

PAUL: I do believe ought to be left alone. I don't care who you are, what you do at home or who your friends are, where you hang out, what kind of music you listen to. What you do in your home is your own business. That's always been who I am. I am a leave me alone kind of guy.

BASH: But not when it comes to marriage.

PAUL: Well, no. I mean states will end up making the decisions on these things. I think that there is a religious connotation to marriage. I believe in the traditional religious connotation to this, but I also believe people ought to be treated fairly under the law.


I see no reason why if the marriage contract conveys certain things that if you -- if you want to marry another woman, you can do that and have a contract.

But the thing is, the religious connotation of marriage that's been going on for thousands of years, I still want to preserve that. You probably could have both. You could have both traditional marriage which I believe in, and then you could also have the neutrality of the law that allows people to have contracts with another.

BASH: Anything you want to tell me about your first week, any highlights, lowlights, regrets?

PAUL: Let me think -- it's just been kind of a piece of cake. Everybody's been so nice to me. I mean everywhere I go.

BASH: Meanwhile, back on planet earth --

PAUL: No. Actually the people have been. Media, not always so much but the people have been very nice to me. We've had extraordinary turnouts. We had a couple thousand people in Louisville. We had packed rooms in New Hampshire. We had packed audiences in South Carolina.

We just got off stage in Iowa with probably -- I don't know -- 700, 800 kids with so much energy, all -- a lot of them saying they want something different, someone who would defend them on criminal justice and won't take away all their rights and privileges if they make a youthful mistake. People who do want a more reasonable and rational foreign policy.

BASH: Thank you, senator. Appreciate it.

PAUL: Thank you.

BASH: Appreciate your time.


BASH: Up next, can Hillary Clinton rebrand and be the candidate of the future? Check out this powerhouse roundtable we've got.

Republicans and democratic voices are going to weigh in right after this break.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am running because I want to be a voice for women everywhere. UNIDENTIFED MALE: Did someone say women everywhere?

Hillary would make a great president. And I would make an even greater first dude.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bill, that's nice.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Hillary, isn't it crazy that phones can take videos now? I mean if they could have done that in the '90s, I'd be in jail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great, Bill. I love jokes about that.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: I get it. This election is about you. I don't want to hog your limelight. I am leaving. Look at me go. Bye. I'm gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aren't we such a fun approachable dynasty?


BASH: And joining me around the table, Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Anna Navarro, Republican strategist and Jeb Bush supporter, Donna Brazile, democratic strategist and vice chair of the Party Voter Registration and Participation Project and Hilary Rosen, also a democratic strategist. Nice of you all to be here again.

I want to start with Bill Clinton because that was just hilariously funny. Hilary, I'll start with you. Do you think that this whole backstage idea that he put forward in an interview he did with "Town and Country Magazine" is really going to last? Obviously, if you have Bill Clinton at your disposal to be a political strategist, who wouldn't want to use him? The question then is the public role.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, we have 18 months until election day and I think he was telling us in that interview exactly what his plans are. So he is going to be backstage and I think when push comes to shove, you get into a general election campaign and, there is no better surrogate in the party than Bill Clinton and there's every reason to hope that he's going to be used. And as an advisor, ongoing? She's going to be blessed with really good advice.

BASH: it is true. I mean who's better as a communicator for democratic principles, even Republicans admit, than Bill Clinton.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Even Republicans like Bill Clinton. The truth is he's got such people skills, he remembers the name of every human being he's met in his life, and their pet and children. He's so folksy, he's authentic.

He is a great orator. The problem is when they're sharing the stage like at the Iowa State Pride and they're following each other. Following Bill Clinton is a very tough act. And Hillary Clinton is not as politically gifted. I also think one of Bill's problems is going to be that he tends to -- it is hard for him to control his temper.

He can go get angry very quickly when they are criticizing his wife, when his wife is being criticized. And at some point he's going to have to rein that in. I don't think that's going to be easy.

BASH: Let me ask you congresswoman, as a female politician. There are different standards, fair or not. Right?

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R), TENNESSEE: There are different standards. I think one of the standards that will come into play that people will look at Hillary and say did he pave the way for her. And would she have been able to be where she is if not for Bill Clinton.

BASH: And he argued very publicly that she should have been president first.

BLACKBURN: I know he does. And but, the perception with people is he has paved a lot of the way for that, just like people feel like Hillary has excelled because the media runs interference or team Hillary runs interference for her, and so thereby she's been able to get where she is. They wonder if she has the work ethic in and of herself to be tough enough to do this campaign. And I think that's a big question.

NAVARRO: Anybody that knows Hillary Clinton --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Work ethic is not her issue.

NAVARRO: -- will tell you that her discipline and her focus and work ethic is beyond -- look. I think the reverse question could also be true. Has she paved the way or would he have gotten where he is if it weren't for her. The bottom line is when you're a couple, you are a couple.

BASH: Donna, you know them both.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First of all, she traveled well over a million miles on behalf of the country during her tenure as secretary of state. But when she ran for the United States Senate back in 2000, she went to all 62 counties by van. Not bus. I don't think it's a question of stamina, nor do I believe it's a question of who's going to be on stage with her.


What she's going to do today in that announcement is to make the voters, the American people, the middle class, those who are struggling and aspiring to be in the middle class, that's going to be the center of her attention. That's what she's going to put on stage.

BASH: Donna, I want to ask you about what we've heard from the congresswoman this morning, other Republicans, about this being a third Obama term. You were the campaign manager for Al Gore. You remember how angry Bill Clinton was when you kept him locked in the White House --

BRAZILE: Not me.

BASH: The campaign kept him locked in the White House and not out on the campaign trail for Al Gore. Do you think that Barack Obama is different and should Hillary Clinton have him out there? Is he an asset?

BRAZILE: Well, yes, he is an asset and so was bill Clinton in 2000, an asset for us. But this is different. She is not the sitting vice president of the United States. Joe Biden is holding that seat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was secretary of state though.

BRAZILE: She was secretary of state but this is not about Barack Obama. She's not going to run from Barack Obama the way that many in the senatorial candidates in 2014 ran from President Obama. Rather, she's going to run on her own ideas. She has enough currency not to need to run behind somebody but to run ahead. I don't think -- it is a different campaign.

BLACKBURN: What did she accomplish as secretary of state?

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, you forget what state the world was in before -- look, think about Gaza and how --

BLACKBURN: Yes, think about Benghazi. And Boko Haram.


ROSEN: It's got to be dealt with because Republicans and Democrats on that intelligence committee both agreed that that Benghazi report said that there was absolutely nothing more she could have done and she was absolutely nothing she was at fault for.

But I think that the congresswoman raised another issue that is going to be critical for Hillary Clinton, which is, the re-introduction of who she is. This isn't just Bill Clinton's wife. I mean this is a woman who her entire career has been fighting for children and families and every aspect of her career. And I'm comforted by one stat I recently saw which is that the Pew Research Center did a survey of young people ages 18 to 29 who were not around in the Clinton era. Right?

They believe that not only are they interested in Hillary Clinton, they all think actually she's in her 50s or maybe even younger. People are anxious to know Hillary Clinton as she's going to take --

BASH: Unfortunately, we remember her being young. You don't know the difference between 50 and 80 when you're young. But that's a whole different story.

ROSEN: But it shows that they're looking for who she is and that they do not see her as --

BASH: Are Republicans going to see her as somebody of the future. Are Republicans making a mistake by all of them -- all dozen of them -- going so hard against her. Are they in a way helping her?

NAVARRO: Look, I think that's the dynamics of the race. On the democrat side we know who is going to be the nominee. I'm sorry, Joe Biden. I know we want to pretend for a little bit -- but we know --

BRAZILE: There are a number of people who are thinking it through.

NAVARRO: All right, girl. That's your story, you'll stick to it. But on the democrat side we know who is going to be the nominee and I think part of this auditioning process on the Republican side is their ability to go toe-to-toe with her and how are they going to deal with her and how are they going to call her on her record and scrutinize what she has done and has not done in her public life.

BASH: OK. We're going to talk a lot more about the Republican field. We had an announcement this past week. We have one tomorrow. Stay with us. When we come back we'll talk more about that.



BASH: And welcome back. We have been pending a lot of time talking about Hillary Clinton, but there are a lot of candidates running on the Republican side. We want to talk about what we saw last week, Rand Paul formally announced, had a little bit of a rocky rollout. Do you think his interaction with female reporters is going to hurt him with the women he does need to win the Republican nomination?

BLACKBURN: Everybody is going to have to women to win. I think that it will serve all that field of guys that are out there right now running on this race to just be cognizant, aware and be certain they don't misstep when it comes to dealing with women constituents, with female reporters. They just need to be more aware of that and I think you're going to see a woman on the Republican ticket this year.

BASH: Well, that would be interesting. Let's talk about what's going to happen tomorrow. Marco Rubio, we're going down to Miami, your home to be there for his announcement tomorrow night. Talk about -- I mean we know that he can give a speech, like no one else can on the Republican side but I know it's hard for you because he's a friend of yours but do you think he's ready to be president?

NAVARRO: You know, I think Marco is most definitely the candidate of the future. I think part of the process of this nomination process and primary process is going to be whether he is the candidate of today, I think that's a question that I think he knows he has to grapple with, he knows he's only 43 years old.

And that like every other rookie senator that's running right now, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco has got to battle with the Barack Obama shadow on the Republican side. We've been saying for so long it was such a mistake to elect a senator with no executive experience who was in his first term, so you know, I think Marco is well aware of that. I think you are going to see tomorrow, the speech of his life, in a very historical and significant building. I think you're going to see him surrounded by hometown supporters. I think it's going to be a beautiful visual. I read this week folks talking about, was writing about how Hillary Clinton's announcement today was going to rain on his parade. And I'd say listen, anybody who thinks that has either never seen a Hillary Clinton video or a Marco Rubio speech. Because at this point, to tell you the truth, unless she comes out and parachutes from a plane and saying I'm in, I don't know --


ROSEN: But Ana, (INAUDIBLE) in the Republican primary which is they can't spend eight years criticizing Barack Obama's lack of experience and then elect a Marco Rubio.

I do think and when you look at a recent, I think it was an ABC poll experience actually given what's happened in Washington over the last several years has risen on the level of desirability of candidates.


BASH: We're almost out of time.


BASH: Donna, last word.

BRAZILE: Yes. Look, there's to question that Marco Rubio is going to have his day, he's probably going to have a better week than Rand Paul had last week because I think he will know how to answer those press questions and he's put out some interesting information about reducing poverty and tax reform. That said, immigration is still a very tough issue for him.

He was one of the leaders in the fight in the Senate and then he backed off. But I wish them all well, it's going to be a crowd to fill on the Republican side. There are more Republicans running than voters and that's where we Democrats --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's only going to help Hillary.


BASH: It is exciting, thank you, all of you, very much, for a really insightful conversation. Appreciate it.

And we'll be right back.


BASH: Thanks for watching state of the union. I'm Dana Bash.

"CNN NEWSROOM" starts right now.