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Hillary Clinton Speaks at Women for Women International. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 2, 2017 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[13:30:10] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So then I don't need to ask you. I was going to ask you what you made of the severe proposed cuts to the State Department, to the USAID budget, to the women's issues and platforms that you started, and what you make of the distinct lack of any women, most women, at the security and defense and peace table of this current administration?

HILLARY CLINTON, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I'm hoping that voices like many of yours in this room, and I would say bipartisan, nonpartisan voices, will speak up for the work of diplomacy and development. I know that Secretary of Defense Mattis understands that. He has spoken out and said you cut the State Department and the USAID budget, you're going to have to buy me more ammunition, because you cannot talk about pursuing diplomacy and development that will be to the benefit of the United States, to our security, to our values and interests, without understanding, then, that we're left with just one tool in the tool box, namely the military tool. That is a necessary tool but it should be only one of three. And diplomacy and development should be the first efforts. And I'm hoping that, because of voices like Jim Mattis and others, that that will begin to influence the administration.

AMANPOUR: I am sure that everybody in this room, everybody in this country, frankly everybody in the world, is really afraid of the crisis with North Korea. So given that that affects everybody, including women, what do you make of President Trump saying that he'd be honored to meet Kim Jong-un?

And I ask you that seriously, because the dirty little secret is that it will take, won't it, negotiations with the North Korean regime to actually come to some -- I want your view on negotiation as a way to forge peace and not as a sign of weakness and appeasement?

CLINTON: Right, right.

AMANPOUR: What do you think? Because your -- President Bill Clinton was the last person to actually negotiate and cause an arms control agreement that worked with North Korea.

CLINTON: Well, boy, how much time do we have? This is one of those wicked problems that people who get the honor of holding a position like I did really spend a lot of time on.

So as briefly as I can, let me say this. First of all, there has to be a regional effort to basically incentivize the North Korean regime, to understand that it will pay a much bigger price regionally, primarily from China, if it pursues this reckless policy of nuclear weapons development and, very dangerously for us, the missiles that can deliver those nuclear packages to places like Hawaii and eventually the West Coast of the United States.

So I take this threat very seriously. But I don't believe that we alone are able to really put the pressure on this North Korean regime that needs to be placed.

Now, the North Koreans are always interested. Not just Kim Jong-un, but his father before him were always interested in trying to get Americans to come to negotiate, to elevate their status and their position. We should be very careful about giving that away. You should not offer that in the absence of a broader strategic framework to try to get China, Japan, Russia, South Korea to put the kind of pressure on the regime that will finally bring them to the negotiating table with some kind of realistic prospect for change.

As Christiane said, there was a negotiation in the '90s that put an end to one aspect of their nuclear program. Two ways to make it, plutonium, uranium -- shut down the plutonium. And then, a few years later, there was evidence that they were cheating. And I think that there was -- and I've said this publicly before -- I think the Bush administration erred in saying they're cheaters, now we're not going to do anything. They should have said you're cheating, back to the negotiating table, now we're going to shut down your uranium program. But because they withdrew from any kind of negotiations, the uranium program started up.

So negotiations are critical, but they have to be part of a broader strategy, not just thrown out on a tweet some morning that, hey, let's get together and see if we can't get along. And maybe we can, you know --

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: -- come up with some sort of a deal. That doesn't work.

[13:35:01]

AMANPOUR: Did the Syria strike work?

CLINTON: I think it's too soon to really tell.

AMANPOUR: Did you support it?

CLINTON: Yes, I did support it. I didn't publicly support it because there was, you know, that wasn't my role, but I did support it. But I am not convinced that it really made much of a difference. And I don't know what kind of potentially, you know, backroom deals were made with the Russians. I mean, we later learned that the Russians and the Syrians moved jets off the runway, that the Russians may have been given a heads up before our own Congress was.

So I think there's a lot that we don't really yet fully know about what was part of that strike. And if all it was was a one-off effort, it's not going to have much of a lasting effect. And, you know, Syria is another one of those wicked problems which everybody is, you know, desperately trying to figure out how to stop a civil war, how to prevent Iran from increasing its influence, how to prevent Russia from having a real foot hold in the Middle East, which is something that they are desperately seeking.

Now Turkey and what it's going to do is a big question mark as well. So there's lots this strike really had nothing to do with that are critical issues that still have to be addressed.

AMANPOUR: I'm going to come back to Russia in a moment because it's obviously vital.

But I want to ask you as a woman, and we're dealing obviously with issues that affect women all over the world, what do you imagine your election as the first female President of the United States might have said to the world and to the women of the world who were looking for validation, for somebody to shatter that highest and hardest ceiling?

CLINTON: Oh, I think it would have been a really big deal. And I think that --

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: And you know, I am writing a book and it's a painful process reliving the campaign, as you might guess. But I think that partly, here at home, there were important messages that that could have sent to our own daughters, granddaughters, grandsons, and sons.

But I think, especially internationally, you know, I've had the great privilege of traveling around the world, visiting in many different settings far from the formal palaces or offices where leaders are, but into villages, down dusty roads, meeting with people, many of whom are the kind of women that Women for Women International are helping. And there is still to much inequity, so much unfairness, so much disrespect and discrimination toward women and girls.

So have we made progress? Yes, we have. But have we made enough? No, we haven't. And it's not a minor issue. It's not a luxury issue you get to after everything else is resolved. It is central to the maintenance, stability, sustainability of democracy, of human rights. It is critical to our national security. You look at places where women's rights are being stripped away. They are the places most likely to either catalyze or protect terrorism, or create ideologies that are antithetical to women's lives and futures. It's not an accident.

And so part of what I really believe is that women's rights is the unfinished business of the 21st century. There is no more important larger issue that has to be addressed.

(APPLAUSE)

AMANPOUR: Given that, then, I wonder if you could address -- you've just spoken about the sexism and misogyny and inequity around the world, but do you believe it exists here still?

(LAUGHTER)

AMANPOUR: And do you think -- were you a victim of misogyny, and why do you think you lost the majority of the white female vote? The security moms, the people who want to be protected from the kinds of challenges you're talking about right now.

CLINTON: Right, well, you know, the book's coming out in the fall.

(LAUGHTER)

AMANPOUR: But we're here now.

CLINTON: Just to give you a tiny little preview, yes, I do think it played a role. I think other things did as well. Every day that goes by, we learn more about some of the unprecedented interference, including from a foreign power whose leader is not a member of my fan club.

[13:40:04]

And so I think it is -- it is real. It is very much a part of the landscape politically and socially and economically.

You know, an example that has nothing to do with me personally is this whole question of equal pay. We just had Equal Pay Day in April, which is how long women have to work past the first of the year to make the equivalent of what men make the prior year in comparable professions. And we know it's a problem in our country. It's not something that exists somewhere far away. It exists right here. And it's really troubling to me that we are still grappling with how to deal in an economy to ensure that people who do the work that is expected of them get paid fairly. And equally.

So yes, there are many, many representations of that, many kinds of examples of that. And yes, it was a role in this election and I will have a lot to say about it. And I think that it is something that, whatever your political party, whatever your particular ideological bent, you have a stake as a woman -- and a man, to go back to your very first comment -- in ensuring that the promise of equality that we hold out, and the efforts that so many women and men have made over the decades to secure it, don't go backwards.

And I think we're not just at a stalled point; I think we are potentially going backwards. For example, real quickly, on equal pay, a number of cities and states have said, you know, one of the problems about equal pay is when you hire people, you say what was your last pay? So if you're a young woman and you've been underpaid before and you say what your pay is, then a slight bump looks fair. But it's not because you've got built-in inequity.

So what is happening in current times in some places I think is quite troubling, because there's a great effort to make sure that localities don't pass laws that prevent employers from asking about past pay. Now, you know, as somebody who has employed a lot of people over the course of my professional life, a lot of young men and women, it's always the case when you offer a job to a young person that is a bump up in pay and respect and responsibility, young women almost always say to me do you think I can do it? Do you think I'm ready? Young men basically say what took you so long?

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: So this is something we have to clear out the cobwebs and say you know what? There shouldn't be differences. And we've seen a lot of evidence in the last months that the tech industry, the forefront of our economy, is still mired in pay inequities. And so how do we get out of it if we don't set some standards, some metrics? And one of these don't ask what the job's supposed to pay? And if the person has the qualifications, pay that person, man or woman, what the job requires, right?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

AMANPOUR: Just to bring you back to the leader of the foreign country who was not a member of your fan club --

CLINTON: Yes, he's not a fan of me, yes.

AMANPOUR: What do you make of a journalist who basically said that, in fact, President Putin hated you so much that it was personal? That he was determined to thwart your ambitions. Do you buy that?

CLINTON: Well, he certainly interfered in our election, and it was clear he interfered to hurt me and to help my opponent. And if you chart my opponent and his campaign's statements, they quite coordinated with the goals that that leader, who shall remain nameless, had.

So yes, look, I -- I think Russia is a great country and I think the Russian people are extraordinarily talented and I think they are badly governed and I think they have been denied their opportunities to really join the modern world in a way that will lift them all up. And I also think that when their president came back after having taken a time out to be prime minister, he rigged the elections for the parliament.

[13:45:03]

And I was your secretary of state, and we do speak out about rigged elections. That kind of goes with the territory -- at least it did prior to this administration.

And so I did say it was an illegitimate election and it had been rigged. And people -- you know, I wasn't telling hundreds of thousands, even millions of Russians something they didn't know. So they go out in the street in Moscow and St. Petersburg and demonstrate and Putin blames me, that I'm the one who got all those people in the streets. So it kind of went downhill from there.

(LAUGHTER)

AMANPOUR: It did.

Before I ask you whether you would invite President Duterte to Washington or to the White House, can I just ask you something? Because, again, I think many people in the room -- look, whenever anybody says they're going to speak to Secretary Clinton, you know, there's a -- your supporters are sad, they're devastated, they're disappointed, and some are angry. And some say, you know, could it have been different? Could the campaign have been better? Could you have had a better rationale? he had one message, your opponent, and it was a successful message -- Make America great again. And where was your message? Do you take any personal responsibility?

CLINTON: Oh, of course. I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate. I was the person who was on the ballot. I am very aware of, you know, the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had. Again, I will write all this out for you.

But I will say this -- I've been in a lot of campaigns and I'm very proud of the campaign we ran. And I'm very proud of the staff and the volunteers and the people who are out there day after day.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: It wasn't a perfect campaign. There is no such thing. But I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off. And the evidence for that intervening event is I think compelling, persuasive.

And so we overcame a lot in the campaign. We overcame an enormous barrage of negativity, of false equivalency, and so much else. But as Nate Silver -- who doesn't work for me, he's an independent analyst, but one considered to be very reliable -- has concluded, you know, if the election had been on October 27th, I'd be your president. And it wasn't. It was on October 28th and there was a lot of funny business going on around that.

And ask yourself this. Within an hour or two of the "Hollywood Access" tape being made public, the Russian theft of John Podesta's e- mails hit WikiLeaks. What a coincidence. So you just can't make this stuff up. So did we make mistakes? Of course we did. Did I make mistakes? Oh my gosh, yes. You know, you'll read my confession and my request for absolution.

But the reason why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last ten days. And I think you can see I was leading in the early vote. I had a very strong -- and not just our polling and data analysis, but a very strong assessment going on across the country about where I was in terms of, you know, the necessary votes and electoral votes.

And, remember I did win more than 3 million votes than my opponent.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: So it's, like, really? AMANPOUR: I see a tweet coming.

CLINTON: Well, fine. You know, better that than interfering in foreign affairs if he wants to tweet about me. I'm happy to be the, you know, the diversion. Because we've got lots of other things to worry about. And he should worry less about the election, and my winning the popular vote, than doing some other things that would be important to the country.

AMANPOUR: Just briefly, we're going to finish on some other stuff, but once the result was known, did you call President Obama? What did you say to him?

CLINTON: Yes, I called President Obama. And I called -- I called Donald Trump. Yes.

AMANPOUR: Did you have any message for President Obama?

[13:50:00]

CLINTON: You know, look, I mean, I was very proud to serve in his administration. And I said ad nauseam during the campaign, I did not think President Obama didn't get the credit he deserved for saving our economy and passing the Affordable Care Act.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: I just didn't think he got that credit. So, look, among the -- again, you know, you can read all about this excruciating analysis that I'm engaged in right now when I'm not in the woods walking my dog.

(LAUGHTER)

AMANPOUR: Is it therapy?

CLINTON: I wouldn't say it's therapy. I would say it is cathartic. Because, you know, it's very difficult to succeed a two-term president of your own party. That is a historical fact. And Democrats haven't done it since, Lord knows, like the 1820s or '30s. A long time ago. The Republicans did it once with George Bush succeeding Reagan.

So it was -- others may not have realized it. I always knew that it was going to be a hard election. But I thought that, at the end of the day, we had made it clear we were -- you know, I wasn't going to appeal to people's emotions in the same way that my opponent did, which I think is frankly what's getting him into all kinds of difficulties now, in trying to fulfill these promises that he made because, you know, health care is complicated.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: And so is foreign policy and other stuff that lands on a president's desk. I mean, if it's easy it doesn't get to the president's desk. So the stuff ends up on your desk, and I'd obviously given a lot of thought about what kind of president I wanted to be, what I thought we could do, and I believed that we could build on the progress that we had made under President Obama.

Now, that was not as exciting as saying throw it all out and start over again. But I think it -- it's how you make change in America that is lasting change that is going to actually improve people's lives. So I was very proud of the policies we put forth. You know, I kept waiting for the moment. I've watched a million presidential debates in my life, and I was waiting for the moment when one of the people asking the questions would have said, well, so exactly how are you going to create more jobs? Right?

I mean, I thought that, you know, I thought at some moment that would happen. And I was ready for that moment. And some of you who are maybe debate junkies remember, in that first debate, my opponent actually made fun of me for preparing. So I said, yes, I did prepare for the debate and I'll tell you something else I prepared -- I prepared for being president.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: And I think -- you know, it's not exactly headline-grabbing. I understand that. But, you know, I can't be anything other than who I am, and I spent decades learning about what it would take to move our country forward, including people who, you know, clearly didn't vote for me, to try to make sure we dealt with a lot these hard issues that are right around the corner, like robotics and artificial intelligence and things that are really going to be upending the economy for the vast majority of the Americans, to say nothing of the rest of the world.

So you know, I'm now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

AMANPOUR: I could end it there, because that's a good ending, but I'm sure the ladies and gentlemen in this room would want to know just one more thing. Because obviously peace, security, women, is about jobs, is about poverty, is about alleviating the worst of the worst that many women have to endure.

You mentioned robotics and technology. We're in this massive political upside-down populist wave right now. People are thinking that jobs will come back by looking inwards.

What would you say to women here, men here, there, and everywhere, about actually the reality of the labor market?

CLINTON: I'd say a couple of things. We have to make investments in even more comprehensive job training and education to provide the skills that are going to be necessary.

[13:55:05] And we have to invest in certain sectors of the economy where we think we can stay ahead of the technological wave. And we're not going to be able to do that if you have massive tax cuts that benefit people like us. It's not going to happen. We will end up in a terrible deficit. The debt will explode and investment will shrink dramatically.

So you need a strategy, another really boring word, which I think was what you saw happening in the Obama administration, a lot of the pieces of it. And you need to recognize that trying to provide opportunities to people everywhere requires investments everywhere. But that doesn't mean that good jobs will be everywhere.

So, for example, if you don't have access to high-speed affordable broadband, which large parts of America do not -- and not just rural but suburban and urban, but predominantly rural -- you are not going to attract and keep the jobs of the 21st century. That's just a fact. And so why would a private company go into those areas when there are not many people and there's not a big profit margin?

So you've got to do what we did back in the day in this country and help to electrify. So yes, utilities are going into places where there's a market, but you're going to have to provide some sort of subsidy, some sort of floor to get everywhere. If you drive around in some of the places that beat the heck of me, you cannot get a cell coverage for miles. And so you don't -- and even in towns -- you know, the president was just in Harrisburg. I was in Harrisburg during the campaign, and after it was over I met with a bunch of people and one of the things that they said was there are a lot of places in Central Pennsylvania where we don't have access to high- speed affordable internet. We have dial-up. And, you know, we don't have kids in a lot of places who have the technical capacity to actually do the homework assignments that they are given. That -- we're talking about, you know, places that are not the outback of Alaska. They are within, you know, an easy drive of urban areas.

So you've got to have a strategic plan about what you're trying to deliver so that people can have choices and people working in solar than we do working in coal. Now, if we don't continue to promote solar and wind, we not only hurt the environment, we give up jobs. China will eat our lunch in the solar market because they are investing and they are creating jobs for people that are jobs of the future. Healthcare, big job opportunity. If the Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act, jobs drop. They don't increase, because there's no revenue stream to pay for those jobs.

Everything is connected. And if you do a one-off kind of political approach, you don't understand the connectivity. And so I think there's a lot we can do and one of the hopes that I had is that we would have a really serious national conversation about robotics and about artificial intelligence. Both their promise and their peril, and what could be done about it. And what kind of floor of income would people need to be able to be anywhere near self-sufficient.

So these problems are not going to go away just because they're not addressed. They're just going to hammer people over and over again and create more anxiety and insecurity and anger, which then undermines our democracy, which then puts at risk our freedoms.

So this is part of what of what we've got to be thinking about, and I'm hoping the private sector will help us lead the way on this and that eventually people within this administration and the Congress will understand this is not -- this is not some kind of subject that people like I talk about, but this is really imperative to the future of our economy and the opportunities that people have for themselves and their kids going forward.

AMANPOUR: Hillary Clinton, thank you very much indeed.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Thank you very much.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: There you have it.

[14:00:00] Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State and the former Democratic presidential nominee, opening up about losing the 2016 presidential election. She says in the painful process, her words, painful process, of writing a book about it right now.