Monday, March 10, 2008

Bill Clinton on the Rush Limbaugh Show

As some of you might have heard, Bill Clinton called in to the Rush Limbaugh show on the day of the Texas-Ohio-Vermont-Rhode Island primaries.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan and Talking Points Memo, I have an MP3 of the interview with Rush's substitue guest host, Mark Davis of WBAP (a Dallas talk radio station). I'm going to transcribe the MP3, let y'all read, and make up your own minds about what the Clintons had in mind.

Mark Davis interviews Bill Clinton on The Rush Limbaugh Program, March 4, 2008:

DAVIS: It's a pleasure to welcome former president of the United States Bill Clinton, welcome, sir, I know you're proud to be out there for your wife, and what do you think her chances are today in Texas and Ohio?

BILL CLINTON: I feel very good about it. I, ah, I have traveled all over rural Ohio going to a lot of small towns and places that are often overlooked but that are key to winning Ohio and, uh, in primaries and general elections, and I've done the same thing in Texas. I've been to twenty-eight different communities in Texas in the last two weeks, and of course made multiple stops in the bigger urban areas, in Dallas, in Houston, San Antonio.

I think she'll win here today, because she's run a great campaign, she's had wonderful Texas volunteers and people coming from every phase of her life from other states to help her... I think our daughter's worked hard here, she's done a great job, and I also think Texans don't like being told that they gotta get in line, that this race should be over. I think most Americans want it to go on, and mostly I think she's just come across as the person most ready to be President, most offering change you can count on in the economy and on the national security issue, including bringing the soldiers home from Iraq, so I feel good about it.

DAVIS: So many things have been focused on change and hope, obviously, Senator Obama sort of brought those into the lexicon, and Hillary's talked about being the kind of change you can rely on, the phone in the middle of the night ad- are you a fan of that ad, and is that exactly sort of what you felt you needed to do in this last week and say, sort of along the line of, "speeches are great, but who do you want in the Oval Office if crisis should strike?"

CLINTON: Yeah, because if you go back and look at that ad, you know, it's not an ad which invokes fear. It's very positive, upbeat, um... music there- it's a very matter-of-fact ad that says that presidents get awakened in the middle of the night. I got awakened in the middle of the night a lot of times in those eight years.

And you, you have to make those quick calls that affect the national security of the country but also the real lives of people who may be... for example... captured in Bosnia, trying to stop ethnic cleansing, or who may be involved in a political crisis in the Middle East, or in a tribal war in Africa, or other things, and I think that what she was trying to say in that ad was the absolute truth, which is that she is a seasoned leader who can be trusted with the national security and with the welfare of the men and women in uniform. That's why you've got about thirty former generals and admirals supporting her, that's why she was the only Senator in the United States Senate asked to be on a small commission to plan the future of the military by the Pentagon, and that was back when the Republicans were in the majority.

People know who have dealt with her that she is very good on these issues, very strong, very reliable, that she does not have a quick temper- she is got a solid sense of what needs to be done, and the decision making of a president under those circumstances I think is important- I think that that matters, and in that sense she's far better prepared to be president tomorrow than I was when I ran.

DAVIS: You need a big win in Texas, and in Ohio; Pennsylvania would be nice, if the narrative can shift, and if she can get some of that momentum back. How badly do you also need a do-over on Florida and Michigan- some way to get those, those delegations to weigh in, especially if it seems that things are going back her way?

CLINTON: Well, I think first of all that the Democratic Party really has to think long and hard about the million people who voted in Florida, because the Florida Democrats had nothing to do with when their primary was scheduled. That was a Republican legislature and a Republican governor. Secondly, the Florida Democrats were on record at the time as pleading with the Republicans to let them move their vote to February 5th. And they were denied.

Thirdly, Hillary clearly followed the rules- that is, she only raised funds in Florida, she never did any advertising there, and fourthly Senator Obama DID advertise in Florida, for a week or ten days on television with a national cable TV buy. And in spite of the fact that he did and she didn't, she won a big victory there. I think if those people are disenfranchised, or are told they have to undertake the expense of another election, they will be very angry and they will feel that... you know... that it's not just the Republicans who disenfranchise voters in Florida.

I don't think we want to put Florida at risk. I think it is very interesting that the Republican Party caused all this- and they NEVER intended to disenfranchise all the Florida voters, 'cause they know they need Florida to win.

Now, in Michigan it's a little bit different because the other candidates took their names off the ballot, but they did it because they knew Hillary was gonna win, and because it was a way of saying, "Oh, look, we're on your side," to the other early states. Some resolution of that will have to be found. But I do think it's important to note that even there there was an aggressive campaign against Hillary funded and led by the local supporters of Senator Obama, and she still did remarkably well, so I, I don't know what's gonna happen. We need to find a solution to the Michigan issue, and I think if they work hard enough they'll figure out some decent way to do it.

DAVIS: Last thing, sir, thanks so much, there's so much history being made- we either get our first black president or our first woman president- if we get our first woman president, I know you get this all along the trail so lemme just give it to you as our final question, the first male presidential spouse, you have a great line about what do we call it- what to the Scottish people call it, the "First Laddie," I don't know what we'll call it, and I know you said you'll do whatever she wants you to do, and that's great, but surely you'll want to have some, um, some input, especially on foreign policy, you have been president, and what shape do you see that input taking, and the legacy question comes to mind too, sir, would you view her presidency as a proper adjunct, a proper addendum to yours?

CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I believe if she's elected, and if the Congress passes her plans for, uh, creating millions of new jobs through a commitment to energy independence and clean energy, and her healthcare and education proposals, I think the economy will produce new, more new jobs and more broadly shared prosperity in her term than it did when I had the privilege of serving as President- I think they'll have more prosperity.

So I think she will have her own legacy.

In terms of what I would do, I would expect that we would continue to talk about everything just like we have since the first day we met. And I would be willing to do anything I could to help on any front around the world or around the corner, so long as it did not undermine of building a strong team. A president succeeds in the end not only on having great personal qualities, but also by putting together a strong team. And you need a strong vice president, a strong secretary of state, strong secretary of the treasury, nobody wants to undermine that. But if I can help in any way on any specific mission, I will do that, and I will do anything I can to give the best advice I can, but I'm not gonna Bigfoot anyone on the team that's important.

I think that she has shown repeatedly in her career in the Senate an astonishing ability to make good decisions, and, and pull people together, and she'll do great, and if I can help, I'm THERE. And, um, I'd be honored to do that.

DAVIS: Mr. President, thanks so much. Politics are what they are, but the talk show host in me hopes that you guys are around for a long time in some form.

CLINTON: Thank you!

DAVIS: 'Preciate it a lot, sir. Take care.

CLINTON: Bye-bye.

Well... do you think this was a call for Republicans to cross, or just a generic media performance for the campaign?

1 comment:

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