ABC "Good Morning America" - Transcript

Interview

Date: April 22, 2008

ABC "Good Morning America"

DIANE SAWYER (Anchor, Good Morning America): The margin of victory in Pennsylvania could make a difference in Senator Clinton's choices ahead. And it is a state where she has family ties. As a child, she spent summers in her father's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which is where Chris Cuomo caught up with her.

Chris?

MR. CUOMO: Diane, there's no question that this is literally a defining moment for Senator Clinton. She sees Pennsylvania as symbolic of the needs of working class America. Her message: I know what to do for this country. The senator also knows she must win here.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

MR. CUOMO: So here you are; very important state. There's no hiding from the importance of Pennsylvania.

SEN. CLINTON: That's right.

MR. CUOMO: Is winning enough for you? What's the task?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I have to win. I believe that's my task, and I'm going to do everything I can to win.

I know very well that I'm in a real fight here.

MR. CUOMO: President Clinton's been out there saying you elect Hillary in Pennsylvania, you're electing your next president. Is it that big?

SEN. CLINTON: I don't see how a Democrat gets to the White House without winning Pennsylvania. You know, we say the road to Pennsylvania Avenue goes right through Pennsylvania. And I think there's a big burden on Senator Obama tomorrow to prove that he can win a big state, because he hasn't, really, up until now.

MR. CUOMO: Odd juxtaposition for you -- I'm going to put you as an Obama advocate. How can he beat John McCain if he can't win any of these big states? You said he can win. You said he can beat John McCain. How, when he hasn't won any of those big states?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, he can, but I think it's harder. I think that I will, because I believe that I am better positioned --

MR. CUOMO: I'm going to surprise you. Are you ready? I want to talk about issues with you.

SEN. CLINTON: Oh, my goodness!

MR. CUOMO: When you think about the meal that each of you is preparing for the American public, do you think both of you are going to put the same things on the table? Do you believe that your plans for things that matter -- health care, taxes, the economy -- that they are the same between the two of you?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I think I'm a more experienced cook and I think my meal will be better seasoned. (Laughs.) Because I really believe that I do have some insight and understanding of what it's going to take to achieve universal health care, for example, something that Senator Obama fell short of proposing. Because it is hard, and I accept that.

MR. CUOMO: A little foreign policy here. Iraq: do you feel that it is time to back off the idea that you can be out of there in six months? Is it time to back off that a little bit?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, what I've said is that we will begin to withdraw within 60 days of my becoming president. I think we can take out one to two brigades a month. It will probably take a year, at least, because at that pace, that's what it's going to take because we're going to have a lot more troops left than people originally thought.

But I'm committed to withdrawing because I think it's in the best interests of our military and, frankly, of the Iraqis.

MR. CUOMO: You've been there. What about the concerns of destabilization, though?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, Chris, I know that there is no good answer here. We can't predict all of the consequences. But I believe that staying in also carries very serious costs for America.

And it's not just in the strain on our military and the loss of life and the injuries. What else are we not able to do because we are so focused on Iraq?

MR. CUOMO: Iran: some language recently. You said if Iran were to strike Israel, there would be a massive retaliation. Scary words. Does massive retaliation mean you'd go into Iran? You would bomb Iran? Is that what that's supposed to suggest?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, the question was if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, what would our response be? And I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran. And I want them to understand that.

Because it does mean that they have to look very carefully at their society, because whatever stage of development they might be in their nuclear weapons program in the next 10 years during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them.

That's a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that, because that perhaps will deter them from doing something that would be reckless, foolish, and tragic.

MR. CUOMO: Is it difficult to reconcile the logic of a statement like that with the realities of what it would be like to make that decision?

SEN. CLINTON: It is. It's very hard, and that's why you hope you can deter such behavior.

MR. CUOMO: So let's talk about a much more benign type of war: convention.

SEN. CLINTON: (Laughs.)

MR. CUOMO: If you go to convention, good for the Democrats, bad for the Democrats?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, it would be a real convention, unlike what we've had for recent conventions where the decisions were already known before people ever showed up.

You know, this would be why you elect delegates. We'd come out with a nominee, with a unified Party, and take off from there.

MR. CUOMO: Senator, thank you very much.

SEN. CLINTON: Great to see you. Thanks a lot, Chris.

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. CUOMO: Now, the convention is obviously a hot-button issue. It was interesting, when I was pushing hey, I'll see you in Denver, eh? -- which is where the Democratic Convention is, Hillary said I'll be there either way, because what's most important is making sure the next president is a Democrat. So a little bit of joining ranks there.


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