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Save the Elephants; Interview with Bill Clinton; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired May 6, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:28} CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to a special edition of our program from Morocco. We've come here
to talk to President Clinton. No, not Hillary. We're not jumping that gun, but to Bill Clinton. He's been called the most gifted politician of
And at the end of his two terms, he had also amassed a huge foreign policy legacy, from peace in the Middle East and the Balkans to having a profound
impact on global prosperity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And in the 14 years since leaving office, he's continued his presidency, it seems, through other means, the multibillion-
dollar Clinton Global Initiative, focusing on economic growth, the environment, the development of women and girls and here in Morocco the
next generation of youth in this region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: We sit down with President Clinton as his wife campaigns again to follow him into the White House and thus make American history.
Their daughter, Chelsea, is vice chair of the foundation. And we start by showing you one of their conservation projects, the Partnership to Save
African Elephants in Kenya.
CHELSEA CLINTON, VICE CHAIR, THE CLINTON FOUNDATION: Well, my mother and I got involved in elephants two years ago for a number of reasons. One, for
ecological and moral reasons. We are losing elephants at a faster rate than they're reproducing and that has devastating consequences on these
And then a second reason, it is increasingly a national security question for the United States. Misbegotten gains from ivory and other illegal
trafficked wildlife products is fueling criminal networks, it's fueling terrorism. So we all have a vested interest.
So at the foundation and what we've done is to bring together all the different organizations that are working on health encroaching crisis.
Governments, large international NGOs, frontline NGOs like State of the Elephants and organized work along three pillars: stop the killing, stop
the trafficking and stop the demand.
IAIN DOUGLAS-HAMILTON, FOUNDER, SAVE THE ELEPHANTS: Partnership with The Clinton Foundation brought together many different parties. And it's a
wonderful framework for biologists and conservationists like me to meet other people from far afield to compare ideas and seek a future for
It's part of a multi-pronged approach that we need if we're going to keep these endangered species like elephants and rhinos.
AMANPOUR: Poachers kill 20,000 African elephants last year and advocacy groups say the terrorist organization Al-Shabaab rakes in hundreds of
thousands of dollars every month in the illegal ivory trade. So it's an international security issue as well.
And now my conversation with President Clinton.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, welcome to the program.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: What, after nine days traveling around Africa, has struck you most about your programs?
What have you seen that has moved you?
BILL CLINTON: The fact that so much good is happening here that tends to get washed away -- and understandable along legitimate negative headlines -
- I'll give you just a couple of examples.
The problems of Al-Shabaab creating, and the killing at the university and all these problems but in the same area, you know, I saw some of our
partners creating opportunities for 10,000 Kenyans from desperately poor backgrounds to go to high school and to go on to college and 98 percent of
them finishing high school, 94 of them going to college, unheard of.
It's like a totally different picture than you would think.
I met a woman with seven children who almost tripled her production, increased her income more than 500 percent. All her kids are in school and
she's helping feed her country.
And with basic things that we can do for millions, tens of millions of people, there's a lot of good things going on in Africa that are part of
trends that I think will eventually overcome the headlines that are negative.
AMANPOUR: I understand from everything I've read that it was Hillary who encouraged you into philanthropy and foundation work when you first met a
long time ago.
Is that right?
BILL CLINTON: Oh, yes. Yes. When we met, I was a lot like a lot of people are today. I was interested in politics and, to be fair, I grew up in the
segregated South and I couldn't figure out how we'd do anything about racial discrimination except through the political system.
[14:05:07] I was interested in education and well over 90 percent of the kids were in public schools and we couldn't figure out how we could do
anything about education except through politics.
Hillary, even when I met her, had already been involved in non-governmental activities, from being part of a civic group that monitored elections in
Chicago when she was in high school to working in college. And then when we got married, she was involved in several non-governmental organizations
40 years ago.
So it's funny; we sort of changed places. You know, I've been -- as soon I left the White House, I became a walking NGO and except for the brief
period when she was able to come back and work with us these last few years, her life has been in public service. It's been very interesting
that our whole -- it's like we've changed roles.
AMANPOUR: Well, there's a new poll out, a CBS "New York Times" poll that says 48 (sic) of all Americans say Hillary Clinton is honest and
trustworthy; 52 percent of Democrats say they know little or nothing about The Clinton Foundation and only 10 percent said foreign donations to
foundations affected her decisions as a top diplomat.
So let us get this out of the way. There is this book, which has suggested that there are quid pro quos or inappropriate influence peddling regarding
foreign donations, foreign government donations to The Clinton Foundation.
Did any of those donations ever affect Secretary Clinton's policy?
BILL CLINTON: No. She didn't know about a lot about it -- about a lot of them. And we had a policy when she was secretary of state that we would
only continue accepting money from people that were already giving us money.
And I tried to recreate that policy as nearly as I can now during a campaign with minor exceptions for our health care work, which we can talk
about if you like.
And I think they all -- people know that. People, they understand that enormous percentage of health and development work around the world is
funded by governments and multinational organizations and they fund us because they think we're good at solving problems and taking care of --
taking advantage of opportunities.
But we also have 300,000 other donors and 90 percent of them give $100 or less.
So there's just no evidence -- even the guy that wrote the book, apparently, had to admit under questioning that he didn't have a shred of
evidence for this. He just sort of thought he'd throw it out there and see if it would fly.
AMANPOUR: Well, he did actually --
AMANPOUR: It won't fly? Is that what you say, it won't fly?
BILL CLINTON: Yes. It won't fly.
AMANPOUR: What about the mistakes that the foundation itself admitted it made in tax filings, conflating private donations and government donations?
BILL CLINTON: Well, there was no -- that was just an accident. People refile their taxes all the time. We reported all the donations from all
the governments and the private sources and, last year, for some reason nobody really understands, they were put together.
The year before, they were filed properly, which shows you there was no deliberate intent. I mean, if there was some -- and there would be no
benefit to the foundation for doing that. We -- everybody admits that we're the most transparent of all the presidential foundations and more
transparent than a lot of private foundations.
And we just said we were going to have rules to report now every quarter so you can know.
And I think, you know what, I did have one friend of mine who's in the other party say, see what you get for transparency?
They try to make you look like a crook whereas if you don't tell them anything, which is what I wouldn't do, they'd forget about you and go onto
the next target.
But I still believe in transparency and I trust the American people and I think it'll be fine.
AMANPOUR: Do you think you'll do anything with the foundation and the transparency and the who gives you what if Hillary Clinton becomes
President of the United States?
BILL CLINTON: Well, if she becomes president, then we have to ask ourselves two questions.
One is, is what we did when she was secretary of state enough?
Yes or no and why; we'll have to cross that bridge.
And secondly, what does she want me to do?
AMANPOUR: What does she want --
BILL CLINTON: -- I have no idea.
You know, she hasn't won the nomination yet. The thing has just barely begun. This is going to be an endless, long campaign.
So at -- if our party nominates her and if she wins and the most important thing is that all the rest of us do what we can to help her succeed for the
sake of the country and the world.
And so I would do whatever I was asked to do. And I have no idea.
And so -- what I'm trying to do now is to make sure the foundation is in the best possible shape, has the best possible impact in America and around
the world and then we'll see what happens in the politics.
[14:10:07] That's up to the American people.
AMANPOUR: What does Hillary Clinton have to do to reconnect with the voters?
She's been out of sort of retail politics for a while as secretary of state.
What does she have to do if she wants to win?
BILL CLINTON: Well, I think she's doing that. I think, first, we've got to go out and, you know, listen to people, particularly in a long campaign
The people in your line of work are always going to be pressing her to say and do things as if it were the day before the election. It's a day before
the British election; the American elections is a very long time away.
BILL CLINTON: And we're -- the whole electorate's liable to be on snooze patrol if we just have to keep having nothing but nonstop politics between
now and then.
So I think --
AMANPOUR: What about the whole entitlement thing?
BILL CLINTON: That's something her critics have said. Nobody's ever -- you won't see her acting entitled.
What did she do?
Does she have a big hoopla announcement like almost every other candidate?
No, she got --
AMANPOUR: But you said she had to run as if she had never run before.
BILL CLINTON: I agree with that. And that's exactly what she did.
She drove to Iowa; she drove to New Hampshire. She went around and talked to people. I also think it's the best way to start a campaign because
that's the way you hear how the American people see themselves and what they want.
So I think that's important.
And then I expect her to do one thing that she did in 2008 over the course of time and -- which is to outline some proposals in pretty specific detail
designed to give us a path of more shared prosperity and shared responsibility and to preserve our position in the world in terms of
security and economics.
So you know, we got a lot of big challenges in America but the number one challenge everywhere is to create enough jobs and enough income growth to
have shared prosperity, without which a consumer-driven market economy will not work.
When President Obama's been in office, I think they've done about as well as they could in coming back from a horrible crisis and now we're in a
position to actually decide, are we going to have a future of shared prosperity?
Are we going to have continuing inequality?
And I think that's what the election will be about.
AMANPOUR: Let's move on to some foreign policy issues.
The deal that President Obama is trying to strike with Iran, do you think it's a good deal and do you -- who do you think is going to win in this
tussle between Congress, who doesn't want the deal or wants a big say over it, and President Obama?
BILL CLINTON: Well, first, I think he did the right thing in agreeing to let Congress review it because, even though theoretically he didn't have
to, as a practical matter, this is so important to us, the American people, important to Israel and their sense of security, important to the Arab
states in the Middle East who have the money and resources to get their own nuclear weapons if they don't believe in the deal.
Secondly, the deal is not done yet, that is they haven't filled in the blanks about exactly the -- how the inspection's going to work, how long
will they go on, what are the fail-safes?
But based on what I know of the deal, if they get the deal they're trying to get, I think it would be far better than not having it, because if you -
- even Israel, you can see from its conduct in the last couple of years, has grave reservations about having a military strike to try to take out
The prevailing expert opinion is that if the successful set of military strikes would only delay the onset of a weapon capability for a couple of
years, if you can put it off 10 years, the world could turn upside down 15 times in 10 years.
And Iran could be in a different place; the Middle East could be a different place. You might conceivably have a reconciliation between the
great Shia and Sunni powers in the Middle East in a way that would, for example, help Yemen to find a peaceful path. You know, you say, oh, this
But just think if someone had said in 1982 that within seven years the Berlin Wall will fall and every country in the Warsaw Pact will be
clamoring to get into the -- into NATO and the E.U. And all the things that would happen would happen, you wouldn't have believed it.
[14:15:01] AMANPOUR: And when we return, we'll delve deeper into the president's foundation work and why he hopes he can continue his
philanthropy, even if Hillary does win the presidency.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to this special edition of our program from Marrakesh, where The Clinton Foundation is holding its African and Middle
East Conference. As President Clinton likes to say, there has never been anything like it.
Over $100 billion raised to help more than 40 million people in 180 different countries.
AMANPOUR: Given all that you've talked about right now, the terrorism that you saw in -- happened in Kenya before you got there, what do you think is
the most urgent to be -- to be tackled?
Is it education?
Is it radicalization?
Maybe they're part of the same things.
And we also talked about climate and conservation.
You went to a Save the Elephants project and you've been talking about climate and the environment as well.
BILL CLINTON: I think the most important thing that we have to do is not a specific issue; it's to create networks of cooperation that can combat the
networks of isolation; that is, if you think about it, ISIS is an NGO.
It's an -- isn't it? It's a non -- ISIS is a non-governmental organization.
It's a transnational, non-governmental organization, trying to create its version of a caliphate with its own government within its borders and it is
premised on the idea that anybody who disagrees with us deserves to die; if at all possible, with millions of people watching on the Internet. And if
at all possible, they should be dragged to their death by a child, a preteen.
I think the most important thing we can do is to give the young people in the Middle East and elsewhere an alternative vision of the future that is
more inclusive and more positive, that includes education, it includes economics, it includes a lot of things.
But essentially the world is in a new round of identity conflicts. It's old as society itself. It's ironic that, as far as we can tell, the first
of our species rose up on the East African savannah, probably a couple hundred thousand years ago. And then it took us about 100,000 years or so
to get out of Africa into the Middle East and what's happened since has happened.
Ever since the beginning, the -- all social conflict has been rooted to some extent in identity, us versus them. And it is amazing that, here we
are, in the 21st century, when we know that genomically we are all 99.5 percent the same, every difference your audience can see among themselves
that is not age-related is rooted in half a percent of their genome.
[14:20:06] And yet we're still saying societies should be organized and people should be killed or nurtured based on our differences rather than
our common humanity.
So the most important thing we can do is to have inclusive identity politics, not exclusive, to choose the Wings of Hope program in Kenya over
And it's very interesting that we're getting -- we're getting the chance to do it in the cradle of humanity. I mean, it's -- I think it's the most
AMANPOUR: We're out of time. So I have one more question for you.
This same NBC CBS poll says that 76 percent of Democrats view Bill Clinton favorably.
Seven in 10 Democratic voters said he would have a great deal or some influence on Ms. Clinton if she became president.
So the question is will you campaign and how will you campaign for her?
And since Chelsea Clinton said that you need now to be introduced as Grandfather of Charlotte, what effect has Charlotte had on your political
dukes, if you know what I mean?
BILL CLINTON: Oh, I think my granddaughter has made me almost totally ineffective in politics.
BILL CLINTON: I mean, you know, we're living this age where everything is resentment and charges and counter charges and, you know, just off the wall
charges and everybody watches media that they already identify with. So you know you can drive somebody's numbers down if you just dump on them for
some established change, whether you're right or wrong.
And in order to be effective, you probably have to be really mad most of the time. I'm not mad at anybody so I guess I can't get any votes. I'm
happy. My granddaughter's made me happy. I'm just blissfully happy.
So I think I'm better at my NGO work. But I'll probably be totally wasted in the political sense, because you've got to be mad all the time.
BILL CLINTON: I'm only halfway joking.
AMANPOUR: Maybe you're not joking at all.
BILL CLINTON: No, I mean, I think it's time for Americans to rise above resentment to resolution, to rise above anger to embrace actually doing
things. That's what I think.
I think -- and to apply the grandparent test. That's the only thing I want to say, that -- the grandparent test is I don't want the next 20 years to
be dominated by negative identity politics.
I don't want people to raise their children to think the only way they count is if there's somebody they can look down on, somebody they can
imprison, somebody they can sell into slavery, somebody they can, you know, you name it. Go through the long list.
There's just too much that we've never lived in a time with more potential for peace and prosperity. But it requires a sense of positive identity
that our common humanity matters more than our differences. It's as simple as that.
But if you want shared prosperity and peace, you have to have inclusive politics, inclusive economics. You can't have negative identity politics.
It doesn't work.
It may win a lot of elections. But it won't give kids a better future.
AMANPOUR: That is a beautiful way to wrap this up.
President Clinton, thank you very much indeed.
BILL CLINTON: Thank you. Enjoyed it. Thanks.
AMANPOUR: My conversation with President Clinton.
And when we come back, we'll have a final thought from Marrakesh.
[14:26:13] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world with no more Clinton Foundation meetings in exotic places like this. That would be a
world in which Hillary was president and certain restrictions would kick in. Bill Clinton was the last American president to visit Morocco and that
was 16 years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): He came to pay his respects to King Hassan II, who had just passed away.
BILL CLINTON: He was a leader of the Arab world and a friend of America.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Worrying the Secret Service, President Clinton took center stage at the street procession of foreign dignitaries. And his
administration's two terms in office marked the last administration that saw real peace and prosperity in the Middle East from the famous handshake
between Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the White House lawn, he then continued to push for a final deal, meeting later in the Moroccan capital,
Rabat, with Yasser Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak.
Just two months before King Hassan's funeral, then-first lady Hillary Clinton gave a speech here in Marrakesh, urging tolerance throughout this
troubled yet vital region.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I've always liked getting away from Washington. I like getting away from Washington to visit
people around the world ever since I've been privileged to be in the White House, because I think it's an incredibly broadening experience.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): At the time, "Washington Post" reporter Peter Baker wrote, "Forget the Senate. Over the past 12 days, Hillary Rodham Clinton
has looked and sounded more like a candidate for secretary of state."
How right he would be because after the White House she did become senator for New York and then as secretary of state, she returned here twice on her
famous million-mile diplomatic journey around the world.
The question now is will she be the second Clinton to visit the country as President of the United States?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that's it for this special edition of our program from a bustling Marrakesh. Remember you can always see the whole show online at
amanpour.com, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good night from Morocco.