Hillary Clinton Documentary Series Set To Premiere
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
It's likely at least one candidate tonight will come away feeling defeated.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "HILLARY")
HILLARY CLINTON: I was totally emotionally wrecked. I felt like I'd let everybody down.
CORNISH: And 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton knows that feeling well.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "HILLARY")
CLINTON: It made me sick to my stomach. It didn't make sense.
CORNISH: That's from a new Hulu documentary called "Hillary" that views Secretary Clinton's life and pays special attention to her 2016 presidential campaign. Clinton sat down with us on this Super Tuesday to talk about the documentary and the state of the race today. So we had to ask - following Vice President Joe Biden's string of endorsements, is Hillary Clinton ready to endorse anyone?
CLINTON: (Laughter) I am not planning to endorse. I am going to say the same thing I've been saying from the beginning of this vigorous primary contest. I hope the voters will pick the person that is most able to beat Donald Trump in the Electoral College. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.
CORNISH: What do you make, then, of the movement of people who've been complaining about the Electoral College? - Democrats.
CLINTON: Well, the Electoral College should be abolished. I said that back in 2000 after I saw what it did to Al Gore, who also won the popular vote. I've been on record now for 20 years saying this anachronism should go. We should be a nation of one person, one vote, as most people thought we were. So all we can do now, though, since the Electoral College is alive and well, is try to figure out who is the best person to retire Donald Trump. And I hope voters think about that when they vote today or vote in the future.
CORNISH: In the early press for this documentary, a lot was made out of your comments about Senator Bernie Sanders.
(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "HILLARY")
CLINTON: Nobody likes him. Nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done. He was a career politician. He had - he did not work till he was, like, 41, and then he got elected to something. It was all just baloney, and I feel so bad that, you know, people got sucked into it.
CORNISH: I want to focus on the last part - feeling so bad that people got sucked into it. He's looking like the front-runner now. Are all those people sucked in?
CLINTON: Well, you know, there's only been a very few contests, and it's pretty darn close if you look at delegates and you look at popular vote. In fact, I think Biden is now ahead in the popular vote because of his overwhelming victory in South Carolina. And I do think there is a great hunger in our country for change. So claiming that you're going to change everything but never telling anybody how you would do it or how you would pay for it - I could understand why a lot of people are just so hopeful that we can get quality affordable health care for everybody. I mean, you can see in the documentary I fought for that, you know, 25 years ago. In fact, you know...
CORNISH: But the question for the party is - are - if these are young people - right? - if these are part of the coalition that you know you need to go forward, is the behavior of the establishment right now only furthering a narrative that somehow everything is rigged against them?
CLINTON: I just reject that analysis. I see it in a lot of places. You know, I think people who get things done in politics should be really admired. If the establishment means you put your head down, you get to work, you figure out how you're going to pay for things, you build a coalition, you actually make change, then I think that's a misnomer.
CORNISH: So you don't see a party that's changed so much that...
CLINTON: Not at all.
CORNISH: ...Has such a strong progressive wing.
CLINTON: Well, look. I - you know, I said in 2016 I'm a progressive. But I happen to be a progressive who likes to get things done. And if you listened to two of the candidates who just dropped out last night at the Biden rally - you know, the very accomplished senator from Minnesota and the very inspiring, you know, young mayor from South Bend - why were they on that stage endorsing Joe Biden? Was it because they're already part of an establishment? No - because they know how hard it is to get things done.
CORNISH: Did you have any serious thoughts about running again, especially after this primary race started to shake out?
CLINTON: I really am comfortable with the decision I made, which is not to run for anything, to do...
CORNISH: Was it hard coming to that decision, though? I mean, I've just watched four hours of documentary, you know, starting in high school, where you want to be president. So is there...
CLINTON: I never - no. Now, wait a minute. No. I never...
CORNISH: Well, that's sure - I know you ended up vice president.
CLINTON: No, no. I never...
CORNISH: That's a bad thing to accuse people of ambition these days. But the point is...
CLINTON: No, no. It's not that. I was always very ambitious for getting things done and for trying to help people. But I did not ever seriously consider running myself until I ran for the Senate when I was, you know, much, much older. So look. I think it's great for people to run for office. I want to see many, many more people, particularly young people and women and people of color. I want more people running.
CORNISH: But is that because you personally are exhausted?
CLINTON: No. I'm not at all exhausted. I am more energized and more ready to take on what I consider to be the forces that are trying to tear this country apart from, frankly, both the right and the left. I am sick of divisiveness and destructiveness in our politics. I am sick of getting nothing done. I don't know how Nancy Pelosi does as much as she does, knowing she's passed 400 bills that go to die in a Senate run by the Grim Reaper Mitch McConnell, who has no interest in helping anybody except the people who are in the Republican Party and wanting to run for office as Republicans. I find that just absolutely unacceptable.
So there's not a bit of exhaustion in me. I'm just going to use my energy in other ways and hoping that, you know, I and millions of other people are going to try to point out the dangers we face with a president who, frankly, is an authoritarian in training who wants to undermine the rule of law, destroy our institutions, set us against each other and what we could have instead. And so I'm ready to go.
CORNISH: And yet this is the president who won the election - right? - commands very loyal support, could win again. You know, what has Donald Trump gotten right politically?
CLINTON: Nothing. Nothing. From the very first day, I - look. I had hoped he would be better than I feared. When I sat on that platform for that inauguration and I heard the speech he gave, which was divisive, violent language - the carnage in the street, setting Americans against one another - I just could not believe it. I thought, you know...
CORNISH: Then why do Democrats look panicked? Why do Democrats still talk about electability? Why...
CLINTON: Well, because that's what we're...
CORNISH: ...If it's this bad...
CORNISH: ...Is there not an obvious choice - right? - on the left?
CLINTON: Well, because - you know, I just - I think that the - all of the - you know, the handwringing is just not necessary. We're having a contested, vigorous primary. We started off with about 21 candidates. We're down to the number we have now. That's the way it is supposed to work. I see this as signs of a vigorous Democratic Party. I see this as the energy that we need to take the fight to Donald Trump and try to elect Democratic senators and hold the House and everything else that so many people are working hard to achieve.
CORNISH: That's the 2016 Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton.
Tomorrow, we'll hear about Clinton's reaction to the many scandals that dogged her and her husband.
CLINTON: When I think about, you know, all of the allegations against me, none of which have ever been proven but which certainly took their toll - because even though something is disproven, you've got the lingering thoughts in people's heads, like, oh, my gosh. Well, you know, maybe there was something to that. And then you have investigations, and you have all kinds of inquiries. And at the end of the day, after the damage is done, it's like, just kidding - nothing there. Move on.
CORNISH: More from Hillary Clinton and from the director of the "Hillary" documentary, Nanette Burstein - we'll hear that tomorrow.
(SOUNDBITE OF BADBADNOTGOOD'S "SPEAKING GENTLY")
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.