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Will Hillary Clinton Gaffe Turn Off Potential Voters?
Aired June 10, 2014 - 18:28 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, CO-HOST: Wolf, people waited overnight to meet Hillary Clinton and buy her brand-new book.
NEWT GINGRICH, CO-HOST: For the millions of you who weren't in line, it's best understood as a comedy version of "House of Cards." The debate starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Tonight on CROSSFIRE, long lines from diehard fans. She's facing critics, but the crowds don't care.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Let's get started.
ANNOUNCER: On the left, Stephanie Cutter. On the right, Newt Gingrich. In the CROSSFIRE, Neera Tanden, a Clinton confidant, and David Bossie, a long-time critic. Will Clinton's dead-broke gaffe turn off potential voters? Tonight on CROSSFIRE.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. I'm Newt Gingrich on the right.
CUTTER: And I'm Stephanie Cutter on the left. In the CROSSFIRE tonight, two opposite views of Hillary Clinton.
As we are seeing this week, Clinton bashing is a whole cottage industry. Just think of all the good Republicans who would be unemployed if they weren't busy attacking Bill or Hillary Clinton. Think of the millions of taxpayer dollars Congress has wasted on investigations of them: bogus claims of stock deals or land deals, or whatever they were investigating at the time. Yet the Clinton haters never learn: the more they attack, the more the Clintons fight back. Just listen to how Hillary Clinton answered A-B's question -- ABC's questions about her critics' latest obsession, Benghazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Actually, it's more of a reason to run, because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball. We ought to be in the majors. And I view this as really, apart from even a diversion from the hard work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CUTTER: Newt, Hillary is not backing down from this. She's ready to take all of you on. She's been doing it since the 1990s, when you were speaker of the House, and, frankly, she's been winning. So, is this what the next two years is going to be like?
GINGRICH: Let me put this in a little bit of perspective. First of all, she lost Hillary care in the 1990s.
Second, she just illustrated why I think she's in deep trouble. The American people do not believe the killing of four Americans in Benghazi is minor league -- her language, is minor league ball. They think it's pretty major league.
CUTTER: And so does she, but five hours of public testimony in front of Congress, dozens of congressional hearings, an independent investigator have all looked into this.
GINGRICH: I was just quoting her.
CUTTER: Yet, Congress -- Republicans in Congress will not let it go.
GINGRICH: It was your clip. I'm just quoting her.
In the CROSSFIRE, Neera Tanden, a long-time adviser to Hillary Clinton, and David Bossie, one of the Clintons' leading and longest critics.
Let me start, Neera, with you. I mean, this must have been a little bit puzzling watching the rollout, whatever you think of the book, right or wrong. The number --
NEERA TANDEN, HILLARY CLINTON ADVISOR: I think it's great.
GINGRICH: You do? OK.
TANDEN: I do.
GINGRICH: Well, then let me ask you. You know, you are the party that worries about the 1 percent. Hillary indicated how deeply upset she was that they were having financial problems, so they had to take an $8 million book deal. Bill had to make $100 to $200 million, because after all, they had all these deep problems.
Just listen to how she tries to get back to being in the party that worries about the 1 percent on "Good Morning America" today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: We understand what that struggle is, because we had student debts, both of us, we had to pay off. We've had to work. I had a couple of jobs in law school. He had lots of jobs. So we have a life experience that is clearly different in very dramatic ways from many Americans, but we also have gone through some of the same challenges as many people have.
(END VIDEO CLIP) GINGRICH: You know, this is a person who said recently she has not driven since 1996. Don't you think it's going to be a little tricky to establish that she represents all of the folks you pretend you're concerned about, as opposed to representing the 1 percenters who have given she and Bill all the money?
TANDEN: You know, this isn't a hypothetical issue, because people know Hillary Clinton. They know Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, and they know that they have been fighting for people in the middle class and people struggling to get into the middle class throughout their careers, and they know that the kind of family they come from.
They're not -- like, they didn't grow up, like some political families, wealthy and well-connected. Hillary's mom never went to college. She did have debts of her own. And she says in this book she's incredibly blessed.
But if the question is -- the question is, who understands the struggle and experiences and who's been fighting for them for her entire life, I can say there's almost no better advocate, no better fighter for the middle class and for people struggling than Hillary Clinton.
DAVID BOSSIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Stephanie [SIC], you just read off the talking points that I think you wrote in the '90s. I mean, the old news adage, you know, the hearings led to nothing, all investigations, taxpayer loss. We've heard that for many years.
CUTTER: Because it's true.
BOSSIE: Look, Hillary Clinton -- Hillary Clinton is running for president. Let's not -- let's not make any bones about it. There's no question about it, she is running.
Her debts had nothing to do with student loans. Her debts had to do with legal bills, and she had legal bills because she lied. And she lied when she fired the travel office. She fired Billy Dale and that entire staff to install their cronies. And then what she had to do is defend that. And she lied under oath, and that is why the prosecutor said that she had factually inaccurate testimony in his report.
CUTTER: David, let's explain something to our viewers here, that you are the perfect person to be on the show tonight, and why, because as a young buck --
BOSSIE: You want to make it about me instead of Hilary Clinton? Congratulations.
CUTTER: -- as a young buck, you were on the ground in Arkansas in 1992 beginning those investigations.
BOSSIE: You're breaking news.
CUTTER: You're behind the Whitewater investigation.
BOSSIE: You're right, exactly. Which is why -- CUTTER: And, you know, to my point earlier, that they were exonerated
in that investigation. They've been exonerated with everything that you've thrown at them.
BOSSIE: That's not true.
CUTTER: This is your entire career.
BOSSIE: Their partners at the Rose Law Firm, they were exonerated? Webster Hubbell went to prison.
CUTTER: She was exonerated.
BOSSIE: She took -- my point is this --
CUTTER: My point is that you've been doing this for 25 years.
BOSSIE: A thousand dollars --
CUTTER: It's time to get a new obsession.
BOSSIE: -- in the commodities market for $100,000 with "Red" Bone. That's what she did. She flipped land at the Whitewater landing, which became an investigation. OK, I don't want to hear that she didn't have any money coming out.
CUTTER: Neera, do you want to get in on this? You were there, too.
TANDEN: I was.
CUTTER: You might have written the talking points, but you were also there.
TANDEN: I think what's hysterical is, like, talking about these things from 20 years ago. I mean --
BOSSIE: I find it funny myself. Can't she go away?
CUTTER: No, you.
TANDEN: Here's the bottom line, you know, like, the American people have made a judgment about this. Sixty percent of the American people, despite everything you've done throughout your career, the one man himself, actually, the army of assaulters, Hillary Clinton --
BOSSIE: That was about Bill Clinton --
TANDEN: No, no, no.
BOSSIE: -- so we're clear.
TANDEN: Sixty percent --
BOSSIE: That was about Bill Clinton, and he beat us. I have no problem saying that.
TANDEN: Question just in "The Washington Post" poll over the weekend, are you honest and trustworthy?
BOSSIE: She, for the first time she's running for president, this is going to be a big issue.
TANDEN: And 60 percent of the American people have said --
CUTTER: She ran for president in 2008.
GINGRICH: So let me ask you this --
BOSSIE: Not well.
GINGRICH: -- as an example of Hillary's claims, because the book is kind of (ph) in a sense. She claims that her greatest achievement in the State Department was restoring America's image around the world.
Now, let's look at what happened during the years she was secretary of state. Basically, world approval of U.S. leadership peaked at 49 percent in 2009, and then declined until by the time she left, it was at 41 percent. Now, wouldn't you normally say that a decline from 49 to 41 is not an achievement?
TANDEN: Well, I think if you actually look at a few years before that, which is the context, what were the numbers in 2006? Twenty- four percent, 23 percent. So those numbers have moved up. I mean, math is math.
GINGRICH: Hillary will run against George W. Bush?
TANDEN: No. I'm just saying if you're asking about restoring America's leadership --
CUTTER: Be a little honest about where we're starting. When we took office, it was 34 percent.
BOSSIE: America is --
CUTTER: We did restore, under Hillary's leadership and President Obama's leadership, America's role in the world.
BOSSIE: Stephanie, America is less represented and less secure today than before her time in the State Department.
TANDEN: That's just false. That's just false.
BOSSIE: It's absolutely a fact. You look at -- you look at Iran. You look at Israel. You look at Syria. You look at Russia, the reset button, the circus act that she put on with the reset button tells everything that she did at the --
TANDEN: I appreciate David Bossie is a big supporter of the foreign policy of the Bush years which brought us the Iraq war --
BOSSIE: She voted for the Iraq war.
TANDEN: That that is --
BOSSIE: She voted for that Iraq war.
TANDEN: Unlike you, she can acknowledge that was a mistake.
BOSSIE: You didn't ask me if I thought it was a mistake.
CUTTER: Do you?
GINGRICH: When we come --
CUTTER: Do you think it was a mistake?
BOSSIE: I think that George Bush made errors. I don't have any problem with that.
BOSSIE: Look, I think -- you want to get it off on something else, I'm not playing the game.
TANDEN: You're playing a game. That's for sure.
GINGRICH: Everybody wait. In a moment, I'll explain why Hillary Clinton's new book will be an endless nightmare for her.
But first, today's "CROSSFIRE Quiz." In what year did the Clintons get married? Is it 1975, 1977, or 1978? We'll have the answer when we get back.
GINGRICH: Welcome back. You're looking at live pictures of Hillary Clinton speaking to an audience in Chicago. Her book, "Hard Choices," went on sale today.
This book will be an endless nightmare for her. It reveals the shallowness and total lack of self-awareness of one of the most narcissistic couples in American history, which brings us to the answer of the "CROSSFIRE Quiz." The Clintons have been married since 1975.
Hillary Clinton is a woman who has always felt impoverished. She was a Yale Law graduate who dabbled in cattle futures, because she wanted more money. It's very troubling to see the unguarded Hillary in interviews like this from ABC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I am over it, over it. I think I have changed. Not worry so much about what other people are thinking. And my view is, I have lived an incredibly blessed life. I've had so many wonderful experiences. And I'm going to say what I know, what I believe, and let the chips fall. DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: Time for radical candor?
CLINTON: I love that phrase, I think if you don't mind, I'll use it.
Well, I think, for me, it's time. I don't know that I could have done it earlier, because I was certainly trying to find my way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: Her repeated insistence that she's over it maybe shows that she's not. The dead broke gaffe is only the beginning.
In the book, she also insults Israel and can't get her story straight on Benghazi, despite the best efforts of her ghost writers.
In the CROSSFIRE tonight, Neera Tanden and David Bossie.
Let me ask you a question, I'm allowed to say you have radical candor.
TANDEN: Sure. Can I respond to anything you said, all the psycho babble in there, I mean, any of it? After --
GINGRICH: Which part was inappropriate psycho babble? I thought it was pretty accurate.
TANDEN: I agree. It was all psycho babble, I agree with you.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, CO-HOST: It was narcissistic.
GINGRICH: I just thought, in this city, everybody is. That's why I used the "House of Cards" example. But I do think it's fascinating both the Clintons have had this constant work at the margins in terms of things like when you go back and look at cattle futures, even today is an amazing story.
TANDEN: Wait. What year are you talking about at this point?
CUTTER: Why you care about that?
TANDEN: You're not even in the same decade we're in anymore.
GINGRICH: I know, I want to take you out of (INAUDIBLE), I want to give you a chance here, because she talks for a second there about radical candor and she likes it.
So let me ask you for radical candor. Name two ways in which a Clinton administration will be different from Obama.
TANDEN: So, Hillary, over her career, has worked on a lot of issues that she shares with the president, extending the middle class, opportunity for all Americans, and, you know, she ran a campaign where she had particular ideas -- GINGRICH: Radical candor, come on, you can do it.
TANDEN: If she runs for president, she'll be spelling out new ideas for new challenges, the country is different.
BOSSIE: How about secretary of state? How about a two?
TANDEN: Oh, I give you two. OK, she helped create a global coalition to actually enforce Iran sanctions that keeps Iran from having nuclear weapons. These issues are very delicate, but she did create that global coalition with the administration, and she also led the effort and she was the point person in ensuring --
BOSSIE: We can blame Hillary Clinton?
CUTTER: George Bush, and I know we're not talking about George Bush, because apparently you weren't a supporter of his, couldn't bring Russia and China to the table on the Iran sanctions, but she did. That's an accomplishment.
And Neera is right, we have prevented them from getting the nuclear bomb, which is more than most people can say, had we not done those things.
BOSSIE: I don't know for certain where the bomb process is, and I don't think you do either.
CUTTER: I --
BOSSIE: Do you know where the bomb making process is in Iran, because I know where they are trying to make one. If you feel confident that Hillary Clinton's done such a good job, I'm glad you do.
CUTTER: And you feel confident that she didn't.
BOSSIE: She has not.
TANDEN: Given that you don't know, maybe you shouldn't criticize her.
BOSSIE: You know -- we know that the mullahs in Iran they want to use a bomb once they have it. That's what we do know. You can live in a fantasy world all you want.
TANDEN: According to Israel and the United States --
BOSSIE: According to Israel, we're no longer their best ally, that's what I know -- thanks to Hillary Clinton.
CUTTER: OK. GINGRICH: Let me ask you a further question about that. You talk about a similar coalition (ph). So, she had this reset button fiasco, where they had the button that had the wrong, et cetera.
BOSSIE: Out of confusion.
GINGRICH: Here's what I'm curious -- how do you explain, for example, the Russian takeover of Crimea in the context of that reset? I mean, how do you explain that?
TANDEN: I think Russia's a great example of the nuance and the importance of this book, though, in actually describing what happened. So, in 2011, Hillary Clinton criticized, probably one of the most vocal people in the administration, criticizing Putin for human rights violations, for crushing democratic activists, he attacked her, and then as she writes in the book, she laid out for the president that they should, you know, have a different course, a stronger stance with Russia. I know this is not easy to do and understand in the Twitter age, but these are important discussions and the hard choices that people face, and I think it really lays out how she --
CUTTER: It does.
TANDEN: How she took a strong stance.
GINGRICH: I think --
TANDEN: I think you should listen to Vladimir Putin.
GINGRICH: Here's my question --
CUTTER: You just asked a question.
Here's a question for David. Newt just basically proved my point, that there is a right-wing obsession with Hillary Clinton. I mean, just listen to his questions. As we've discussed, you've dedicated your life to tearing down the Clintons, yet her approval ratings are going strong, just take a look at these numbers.
In a recent poll, secretary of state approval, 59 percent, strong leader, 67 percent, honest and trustworthy, 60 percent.
CUTTER: I hope you're not waiting for a bonus.
BOSSIE: I can't wait for her campaign to be in full bore, because those numbers will come down, just like they did in 2007 and 2008.
CUTTER: Got a hidden plan to take her down?
BOSSIE: Because somebody is going to tack to her left, just like Barack Obama did.
CUTTER: Barack Obama did not tack to her left. He absolutely did not. It had nothing to do with left or right. And had to --
BOSSIE: It didn't have anything to do with left or right.
CUTTER: No, it didn't.
BOSSIE: You can't even say with a straight face.
GINGRICH: Tell us. So why did he beat her?
CUTTER: Because he ran a better campaign. But one of the reasons that Barack Obama was as strong as he was is because he didn't tack to the left. He stuck to his positions throughout. It wasn't about being more progressive or more conservative. It was a better campaign. And that's what Hillary Clinton said.
BOSSIE: She is losing progressive voters today when they find out she earned $8 million. She is the one -- she wants --
TANDEN: Oddly enough --
BOSSIE: Let's see where they are in late 2015 --
CUTTER: I know you're an expert on progressive voters. But as Neera Tanden talked about, she has a whole record on fighting --
BOSSIE: Yes, her record on Boko Haram, not naming them as a terrorist organization. Let's talk about that.
TANDEN: Oddly enough, (INAUDIBLE) perhaps is not the spokesperson for progressives in the Democratic Party or anyone in the Democratic Party. And say if you look at Hillary's actual numbers and facts and data, she has strong support from both liberals, moderate, the whole gamut.
GINGRICH: I want to go back to the example you used in just a second about effectiveness.
TANDEN: Yes, please.
GINGRICH: So, she designs a strategy in 2011, she goes after Putin on human rights. Effect? Did you see --
TANDEN: Vladimir Putin went out of his way to attack Hillary and say that they're wrong. I think that if you think that American leadership is standing up to people who seem to have dictatorial tendencies, that is the right thing to do. You know, I think most people would judge that as being effective.
GINGRICH: All right.
CUTTER: Speaking of effective, after listening to you two here tonight, I think that we are awaiting a rallying try to Hillary Clinton's defense. I think all -- we're going to see out of the right wing attacks of her is her consolidation of the party. If you're talking about progressives or moderates --
BOSSIE: Call Joe Biden and see if he is supporting her.
CUTTER: Stay here.
We want you at home to weigh in on today's "Fireback" question. Are Hillary's Republican critics helping or hurting her potential 2016 plans? Tweet helping or hurting using #Crossfire. We'll have the results after the break.
CUTTER: We also have the outrages of the day. I'm outraged that yet another conservative man doesn't understand a fundamental truth about women, and it has nothing 20 do with you two.
CUTTER: Welcome back.
Now, it's time for the outrages of the day.
I respect George Will, which is why I'm not only disappointed, I'm outraged by his recent column on the very real, very widespread problem of sexual assault at colleges and universities. He writes that schools are learning, quote, "when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate."
Translation, victims of sexual assault are somehow elevated to a special status on college campuses. This allegation is vile. A recent investigation into the epidemic, and that is what this is, of sexual assault at universities found that one in five female college students has been assaulted.
So, George, if you're implying that 20 percent of women are somehow asking to be assaulted, are they hoping for special privileges like physical trauma and physical assault?
Sadly, George, you need to join the RNC classes on -- what many other male Republicans are taking, a remedial class on how to respect and relate to women.
GINGRICH: I'm outraged because the narrow-minded, overzealous bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration have declared war on cheese for no good reason. Specifically, the FDA is targeting wood- aged cheese because they think cheese aged on wooden boards is laden with bacteria, of course.
They're forgetting that bacteria is what gives all cheese its flavor and texture. Or that these cheeses have been prepared and eaten this way for centuries, or that studies show that plastic retains more bacteria than wood after cleaning. And according to the FDA's own spokeswoman, who we called today, they aren't aware of any outbreaks of disease associated with this process.
Nothing matters to the prison guards of the past. They have to have their way, no matter how stupid. The rest of us have to make due with bland cheese or none at all.
CUTTER: Let's check on our "Fireback" results. Are Hillary's Republican critics helping her or hurting her potential 2016 plans? Right now 87 percent of you say helping, 13 percent of you say hurting.
What do our guests think?
BOSSIE: I think it's definitely helping her book sales, which is flailing because I guess there's already got 40 percent off in most book stores.
TANDEN: That's just ridiculous. There is a million preorders, and thousand people waiting in line.
BOSSIE: It's 30 percent off in the bookstores, you can't make that up. There's pictures of it.
CUTTER: David, if you want a 40 percent discount, we'll be happy to help you get one.
BOSSIE: Would you please? And can you get her to sign it for me?
TANDEN: You can probably get it at 80 percent at this point.
GINGRICH: Can you get her to sign one too? That would be truly a story, to get her to sign it.
TANDEN: I don't know by hand, but I'll try for your, Newt.
GINGRICH: All right.
CUTTER: Thanks to Neera Tanden and David Bossie. The debate continues online at CNN.com/Crossfire, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
From the left, I'm Stephanie Cutter.
GINGRICH: From the right, I'm Newt Gingrich.
Join us tomorrow for another edition of CROSSFIRE.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.