January 7, 2008
Leah Yoon, NPR



January 7, 2008; Washington, D.C. Ė Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Hillary Clinton tells host Renťe Montagne on todayís Morning Edition, the day before the New Hampshire primary, that what sheís ďasking voters to do is to look at each of us and contrast and compare our records, our plans, our experiences, in order to get the facts that are relevant to making a decision.Ē

Clinton continues, ďIf you want to know what Iíll do, look at what Iíve done. And I think that thereís a contrast here between talking and doing and between rhetoric and reality that is an important one.Ē

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News Morning Edition. Television usage must include on-screen NPR News credit with NPR logo. The audio of the interview will be available at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17894673

A complete transcript of the interview is below.

STEVE INSKEEP: Itís Morning Edition at NPR News. Iím Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE: And Iím Renee Montagne. Weíre about to talk with the Democratic candidate who was, until recently, the frontrunner in New Hampshireís presidential primary. Senator Hillary Clinton now trails Barack Obama, and the voting is tomorrow. Joining us on the line from her campaign bus is Senator Hillary Clinton, good morning.

SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY): Good morning, Renee.

RENEE MONTAGNE: And would you happen to know where exactly in New Hampshire you are?

SEN. CLINTON: I am. Iím in Concord, New Hampshire, and Iím just waking up here on the bus. (Chuckles.)

MS. MONTAGNE: You slept on it, I take it, or at least got some sleep on it?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I didnít sleep on the bus, but it sometimes feels that way when weíre crisscrossing the country like this.

MS. MONTAGNE: First, and a question I think a lot of people would like to know, can you afford to lose in New Hampshire?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, Renee, obviously Iím going to work as hard as I can today and tomorrow to reach as many voters with my message about my candidacy, and then go on. Iíve always intended to run a national campaign and I have prepared to do so from the very beginning, so weíll go right through the February 5th states.

MS. MONTAGNE: Over the weekend, youíve been telling voters that they should elect a doer, not a talker, and saying that in various ways. What are you trying to say about your rival, Senator Barack Obama?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, what Iím asking voters to do is to look at each of us and contrast and compare our records, our plans, our experiences, in order to get the facts that are relevant to making a decision. You know, I would not be running for president if I didnít think that I was the best qualified person to really tackle the problems that we face in our country and the world at this time. And I think that it is important to look what each of us brings to this race. And there is a difference in how we approach problems, what we have done over the last years to solve problems. You know, if you want to know what Iíll do, look at what Iíve done. And I think that thereís a contrast here between talking and doing and between rhetoric and reality that is an important one. Out of the greatest Ė

MS. MONTAGNE: What, Senator Ė though Ė what makes him a talker rather than a doer?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I think that if you look at the results that Iíve been able to bring about to improve peopleís lives, even here in New Hampshire, you know, a program that I helped to start, the Childrenís Health Insurance Program, gives healthcare to 7,000 kids. And bipartisan legislation that I was able to push through the Senate and then the House to get into law over the threat of a veto gives healthcare to the National Guard and Reserves. And, you know, working on issues ranging from Respite Care for caregivers to improving the adoption and foster care system, just so many ways that Iíve been working to make peopleís lives better and Ė

MS. MONTAGNE: Well, clearly you have done these things, but what makes Senator Obama merely a talker, someone with rhetoric but nothing behind him beyond that?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, you know, in the debate that we had here in New Hampshire the other night, the moderators asked all of us, you know, what weíve done, what is our favorite, most important accomplishment, and I think in both Senator Edwards and Senator Obamaís case, there was a real contrast. Senator Edwards said that he had passed a patientís Bill of Rights, and in fact, of course, it never did pass the Congress, and it was never signed into law. And Senator Obama said, well, he had helped to pass lobbying reforms so that lobbyists couldnít have lunch with members of Congress, and I think it was Charlie Gibson, the moderator, who said, well, wait a minute, they can have lunch standing up, they just canít have lunch sitting down.

So, I think itís important to begin to actually take the records that each of us brings to this race. You know, we donít have good guides in life to anything that we do based just on what we say. We always look behind that, I mean if youíre going to choose any important, make any important decision, youíre going to want to know whatís behind it. And thatís all that Iím asking. I have the greatest respect and regard for Senator Obama. I think he is an incredibly gifted politician who has been extremely, you know, positive in putting himself forward. I just think that Ė

MS. MONTAGNE: One thing that youíre Ė

SEN. CLINTON: But as we pick a Democratic nominee, I really think weíve got to go deeper than that and thatís what I am asking.

MS. MONTAGNE: Our correspondent, David Greene, told us earlier this morning that your campaign is urging reporters to look deeper, but in this case more closely at Barack Obamaís record. What do you think is there?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, Renee, take for example what Senator Obama said two weeks ago, not about me, but about Senator Edwards. He said that Senator Edwards changing positions between 2004, 2008, would make him unelectable in the general election. Well, in fact, Senator Obama has a very obvious record of changing positions, from the time he ran for the Senate, his early years in the Senate, and now of course running for president. Well, if heís going to say that records matter, which he has said on numerous occasions, and if heís going to point to another opponent as being unelectable for changing positions, then clearly thatís a criterion that heís trying to get voters to judge others on.

Therefore, I think it is more than fair to judge him as well. So, when he says heís going to vote against the Patriot Act, and he goes to the Congress and votes for it, or when he says that he is against special interests and lobbyists and he has a lobbyist running his campaign in New Hampshire, for any other candidate, that would be relevant information, and I think that it is relevant in this case as well.

MS. MONTAGNE: Senator Clinton, thank you very much.

SEN. CLINTON: Thank you very much, Renee.

MS. MONTAGNE: Hilary Clinton speaking to us from her campaign bus this morning in New Hampshire.