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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Clinton Gives Concession Speech. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired November 9, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: John McCain just tweeted, "Congrats to President-elect Donald Trump. As chairman of the Armed Service Committee, I will work to confront national security challenges and support troops."
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, just tweeted, "The peaceful transfer of power is the cornerstone of our democracy. We have a responsibility to come together."
Carl Bernstein, you've written the definitive biography of Hillary Clinton. How is she going to handle this very, very sad moment in her life?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as David Gergen just said, she retreats and is so comfortable in her faith. She's a deeply religious person, carries a Bible with her, underlines it frequently, believes in the Methodist creed of being called to service and I think she believes she has done service.
Yes, she's made her mistakes but also, her mother's example to her -- her mother once when Hillary was a little girl and got knocked down by a fellow student at school, her mother said you got to pick yourself up and she gave the example of a carpenter's level with a bubble in the middle and Hillary Clinton has frequently cited that. You pick yourself up, you try to get your level, to balance yourself, and go forward. I think that's what she will do here.
But at the same time, let's not minimize what this terrible as well as what she feels about the country. This is someone who believes Donald Trump was dangerous, that Donald Trump would hurt the country, that he would hurt little girls in terms of their aspirations, that black people, brown people, those who Hillary Clinton has stood with and for all her years in and out of government, she has been a champion of them and that was the big issue in this campaign for her so the depth of the disappointment both personal and political and when it means for the country is devastating.
But indeed, religious faith has been -- and look what she's been through in her life. through impeachment, through losing the presidency before. Each time she has gone back to her Methodism and her example*s of doing more service. I'm not sure we are going to see much public service from her in an open way from here on in.
But she also has to find herself in this level place in the example of faith. And also she is going to want to see this country succeed under this president, I cannot believe otherwise, as difficult as that is for her, and especially -- look, she's been beaten by somebody who called for her to go to jail and that's not even off the table yet. I suspect and hope it will be off the table. But "lock her up" became the mantra of the Trump campaign. There's no overstating how difficult and awful this experience is for her.
BLITZER: Yeah. Well said.
David Gergen, you worked for her husband, Bill Clinton, when he was president of the United States. And as difficult as this moment is for her, it's also very painful, very difficult for former President Bill Clinton, who was out campaigning almost on a daily basis, two, three appearances a day for his wife.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I think Bill Clinton made a real turn in his life a few years ago and really committed himself to Hillary and Chelsea. This will be a blow for him just as it will be for Barack Obama.
BLITZER: There you see Huma Abedin, one of her closest aides, standing up right now applauding. You see her friends applauding her as well. No one has been closer on the staff to Hillary Clinton than Huma Abedin. Her ex-husband or estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, who is the former congressman, we know generated a lot of commotion.
BLITZER: Now let's just listen as Tim Kaine, her vice-presidential running mate, he goes up on the stage, together with his wife, and he's going to say a few words to introduce Hillary Clinton.
(KAINE AND CLINTON SPEECHES FROM 11:34:27 THROUGH 11:53:55)
[11:53:55] BLITZER: Hillary Clinton, very, very emotional speech. You saw her holding back, choking back those tears. She is well known as being very, very emotional on these kinds of moments. Clearly, a sad moment for her.
She congratulated Donald Trump and said, "I know Donald Trump is going to be our president," and she totally respects a peaceful transfer of power. And she added, this loss hurts, but never stop believing the fight for what's right is worth it.
Gloria, you saw Hillary, Hillary Clinton, deliver a very emotional, powerful speech. Clearly, it's not something she wanted to say.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It isn't, and she said it was painful, and will be for a long time. And there is a point that Dana and I were discussing, along with our D.C. digital editor, came out at the top of the speech and said, I'm sorry. Period. That's what women do. They apologize right away, and say, I'm sorry. Losers in presidential elections often do apologize. I'm not sure they say it at the very top of their speech, which is what Hillary Clinton did today. And feels the pain of all the people worked for her, with her, who wanted her to become the first woman president, and who had been with her for many, many years, and so we all thought it was kind of striking that she came out and said that right out of the box.
[11:55:29] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRSPONDENT: And it is often at these moments that you see the Hillary Clinton that people yearned to see and that people closest to her -- you spent time with her in private, of course, David, working with the Clinton White House -- say that is there, that it is somebody who emotes, that it is somebody who is empathetic and sympathetic, and that came through in spades, saying, this is painful and it will be for a long time. She said what the was feeling. And as we suspected beforehand, not just about herself, but about all the people that she clearly thinks that she let down, to your point about saying, I'm sorry.
I also thought it was -- it was very important that she talked about the peaceful transition of power, and that "Donald Trump is going to be our president," in her words, "and you have to keep an open mind to that." But then not letting go of the fact that she wanted to make clear to her supporters she's going to try to hold his feet to the fire in some of the things she ran against him on with regard to how she views the way he treats people.
BLITZER: You see her meeting with the staff, their family. She's going one by one down that aisle over there in the first row. It is a very, very emotional moment for her. You can see as she confronts all of these people who worked tirelessly over these past couple of years to make her the first female president of the United States, and now there's a sad moment, a deeply sad moment there.
David Gergen, how did you emerge, what did you think of her remarks?
GERGEN: I thought it was a remarkably good speech. It was inspiring, but also very connective. I can't remember a speech that she's given in recent years, which seemed to relate so well to -- she opened up, opened herself up and we don't see her, and you could see the pain. It was so apparent, the pain she's going through, and you could just imagine how many tears have flowed since last night. I thought all of that worked really well.
The thing was, though, even as she was gracious saying we're going to unite behind a president, she made it very clear the fight goes on, the struggle goes on.
BLITZER: She mentioned issues, too.
GERGEN: She mentioned issues. But the line Tim Kaine has from Faulkner, "They kilt us, but they ain't whooped us yet," was very much of spirit of her speech.
BLITZER: Maeve Reston?
MAEVE RESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And talking about people being equal in rights and dignity, talking about the importance of immigrants in this country, even people with disabilities - I mean, one of the most searing ads Hillary Clinton put out there was of Donald Trump mocking a reporter who was disabled. It was perfectly pointed. But at the same time, I mean, she got her point across, but at the same time very gracious and composed.
BLITZER: Carl Bernstein, you wrote the biography on Hillary Clinton. What did you think?
BERNSTEIN: I thought it was a remarkable moment in which we saw all that is good about Hillary Clinton, her principles, she has been an imperfect messenger of great and good causes, and she continued to do that in that speech. She also laid down a set of principles for her adherents, for people in the Democratic Party, as well as those who believe in the same things that she does, to follow. And I suspect that we are going to hear and see something of the same from President Obama today, because I think some of this speech, is also directed at the new president-elect. That Obama also will do something along these lines of saying, these are universal principles, about freedom, about the dignity of individuals that you must respect as president of the United States, and protect.
And one last point here is the purple that was worn by both her and former President Bill Clinton. I couldn't help but notice it. It's the color of spirituality, it the color of mourning, it's the color of mystery. I can't believe it was an accident that both Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton were wearing purple in this remarkable moment that was a tableau of the Clintons and the best of what they stand for.
BLITZER: And there you see her right -- hugging and kissing so many of her supporters there. Right at her side, as has been the case for maybe 20 years, you see here in the middle of the screen, Huma Abedin, her long-time aide, one of her closest aides. She called Huma Abedin almost like a second daughter to her.