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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
The Clintons Never Quit
Aired July 11, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The first family of Democratic Party politics toppled by a newcomer.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: She ran an awful campaign, and Bill Clinton helped her run an awful campaign.
FOREMAN: The primary season derailed the presidential plans of a political dynasty.
TARA WALL, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES": I think that they never forget, and I think that they are notorious for essentially holding a grudge.
FOREMAN: Or did it?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Bill and Hillary Clinton are a force of nature.
They still have their trademark ambition, tenacity, connections.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Every member of Congress owes her something in some way.
FOREMAN: And all of that could add up to new possibilities for shaking the foundations of American politics.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Whether you adore them or dislike them -- and there are plenty of Americans in each camp -- Bill and Hillary Clinton have emerged over the past two decades as one of America's most influential couples.
But what happens to that influence now, in the wake of her losing bid for the presidency? Detractors say the Clintons are on their way out. Supporters insist they're still on their way up.
For the next hour, in this special report, we are going to hear frank assessments from friends and foes. We'll reveal surprises about their potential future moves. And we'll consider what exactly to make of their words during the campaign, words they could have said today: We're not done yet. You bet we're not.
Here's Tom Foreman.
FOREMAN: Nothing would be easier in politics right now or more desirable for some than to write off the Clintons, their influence, their power, their hopes for the future. But there are at least 18 million reasons that cannot happen.
Eighteen million, that's about how many voters chose Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. More than four out of 10 Democrats still wish she were the nominee. And neither Obama, nor the party dare ignore that.
BERNSTEIN: Remember, you know, first of all, whatever Obama might have said in the campaign, he recognizes that the achievements of the Clinton administration are really quite significant.
And people in the country realize that. And that's going to be part of this campaign.
FOREMAN: Carl Bernstein has written extensively on the Clintons, including his most recent book on the senator, "A Woman in Charge."
BERNSTEIN: She has demonstrated she has a constituency that right now Obama doesn't have all of that constituency. And, together, they, the Clintons, can help bring a larger constituency to the Obama program. And that counts for something.
FOREMAN: It may count for everything.
With John McCain not far behind Obama in polls, the Clinton edge could decide the race. And that edge is substantial. She raised $209 million in her primary campaign, less than Obama, but still among the highest for any candidate, Democrat or Republican, ever.
In the delegate count and the popular vote, not counting those states with disputed results, she lost, yes, but she came within a whisper of winning. And she laid to rest the old notion that a woman cannot mount a serious challenge for the Oval Office.
BEGALA: Oh, I think Hillary Clinton, and by extension her husband, are much stronger politically for her having run.
FOREMAN: No wonder Democrats, like Paul Begala, a longstanding friend and colleague of the Clintons, remain true believers.
BEGALA: In my entire life, there's only one Democrat who has won two presidential elections. And that's Bill Clinton. Hillary is the first woman ever to even win a single primary. She won 20. These are people who are spectacularly important in modern American history and in current American politics.
FOREMAN: Certainly, Barack Obama must think so. Ever since he became the presumptive nominee, he's been reaching out to Hillary Clinton, and she's been reaching back.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: And I am asking you to do everything you can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States of America. FOREMAN: It matters because the Clinton team can give Obama seasoned political operatives who turned out women, blue-collar, and Latino voters in places where his campaign fell flat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OREMAN: It matters, because, for all his fund-raising, Obama needs more money to sustain a 50-state offensive against John McCain, pounding the Republican with ads, just as he did Clinton. It matters because Hillary Clinton's first lady days are long gone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: You know, I'm not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man, like Tammy Wynette.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Before the campaign, she was to some extent seen as an extension of her husband. After the campaign, she seemed very much as a heavyweight in her own right.
FOREMAN: David Gergen was once an adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. And he has advice for Obama too about the Clintons.
GERGEN: He cannot afford to insult them in any way. He has to show them enormous respect. He has to showcase them at the convention.
They are due that within the Democratic Party. And, therefore, I think he's probably going to have to have a whole evening basically that's dominated by the Clintons.
The answer is, he cannot afford to ignore them. But, most importantly, he can't afford to do anything which gives offense to either them or to the Clinton stalwarts, of whom there are a great many right now.
FOREMAN: It's risky business. About 40 percent of Senator Clinton's supporters still say they will stay home or vote for McCain in the fall. They have spawned dozens of Web sites challenging Obama's qualifications. One of the few things that might mitigate that anger, sustained enthusiastic support for Obama from the Clintons.
BERNSTEIN: This is something he wants, and it's something that's very valuable to him. You know, the Clintons are part of the coin of the realm, whatever happened in this election. You can't just throw them overboard.
FOREMAN: This is about winning the White House and running it, too. YELLIN: There are a number of Clinton supporters who are watching very closely to see how Obama treats Senator Clinton now and if he were to become president going into the future.
FOREMAN: CNN's Jessica Yellin covered the Clinton campaign and has spent years watching Congress.
YELLIN: If Barack Obama becomes president, you get 100 senators together, who's the biggest star in the Senate? It's not the majority leader. It's Hillary Clinton. She's going to have enormous leverage, even if she stays in her current position in the Senate.
FOREMAN: Political analysts say that could greatly help Obama, or, if he tries to go around her, it could hurt him.
Remember, while he was snatching up primary delegates in traditionally Republican red states, Hillary Clinton was dominating in many Democratic strongholds coast to coast, the blue lands. And that means one thing to political colleagues. She may be at least as important to their reelection campaigns as he is.
YELLIN: I mean, she has a base of support in almost everybody's backyard. So, everyone she's working with is going to have to court Hillary Clinton. And, if she gets -- if they get her sign-on, they're a lot stronger with many of their own constituents, and these folks know it.
FOREMAN: Coming up: How much damage has the former president done to his legacy?
BEGALA: The people who say Bill Clinton shouldn't have been out there with Hillary were people who didn't want Hillary to win.
FOREMAN: What else might be in play for the senator? Believe it or not, the Supreme Court.
WALL: That's an interesting concept, actually.
FOREMAN: And the next generation. Chelsea says she's not interested in politics, but they all say that before they run.
FOREMAN: In the beginning of the campaign, he was the bigger star. For all of his wife's accomplishments, the former President Bill Clinton drew the big crowds and the big donors. Elect her, get him as well. Two for one was the general sense.
And, yet, a curious thing happened. While her public approval rating fitfully improved over the long battle, his got decidedly worse.
WALL: I think he overstepped. I quite frankly think he forgot he wasn't black.
FOREMAN: For Republican critics, like Tara Wall, a former party official, the primary and Bill Clinton's behavior reaffirmed their worst ideas about the Clintons.
WALL: She proved that she would do anything or say anything to win. She would go as far as possible, as far as she could take it to win, even when it was obvious that she had no breath left, so to speak. So, I think that there is a general distrust of the Clintons among not just Republicans, but many Americans.
FOREMAN: The campaign seemed to hurt Bill Clinton directly. In 2007, 60 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of him. That has dropped nine points. At the same time, his negative rating has risen even more. Hillary Clinton's numbers are now better than his across the board.
GERGEN: One of the enduring mysteries of this campaign has been -- was Bill Clinton's sometimes erratic behavior. Many of us who have known him and have a great deal of respect for him, as I do, have been puzzled by this.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don't care about what your own people care about?
FOREMAN: Whether he was ripping into reporters or launching unexpected missiles at the Obama campaign.
B. CLINTON: I think that they played the race card on me. And we now know from memos from the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along.
FOREMAN: The former president at times displayed little of the renowned charm and political savvy that made him such a popular president.
B. CLINTON: No, no, no, that isn't what I said.
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, he's a fighter. And he got in the middle of this thing, and he gave it his all.
FOREMAN: James Carville was a champion of Bill Clinton's presidential rise and is a close friend.
CARVILLE: It's very important to remember that politics, sometimes, we forget, is a very personal thing. And people get very involved. And he got very involved, and he was very emotionally involved. You might even be able to make a case that he got too emotionally involved on some occasions.
But that's what I like about him. He's a real guy. He's a real human being. He really wanted his wife to win this. He felt like that she had earned it. And that's -- that's why I love him.
YELLIN: The big surprise in this election was, everyone thought Bill Clinton would be the big extra, the big plus, the draw. And it turns out, in a lot of ways, he was the detraction. And some people blame him for her early losses, particularly in South Carolina.
FOREMAN: Some, but certainly not all.
BEGALA: I don't believe for a minute that Bill Clinton was a negative to his wife's campaign. And if people -- it helps them sleep easier at night to believe this myth that the most popular man on Earth and one of the most popular people in the Democratic Party was somehow a detriment, I think they can -- they can -- I want a case of whatever it is they're drinking.
YELLIN: The rage he exhibited at the end of his campaign did not go unnoticed, not only by the media, but by average people, average voters who were sort of astounded by it often.
BEGALA: When you saw President Clinton lose his temper a couple of times on the campaign trail, it was never with a voter. It was invariably with or about the coverage. He can plead guilty to being a guy who tried to protect his wife and tried to defend his wife.
H. CLINTON: Enough with the speeches, and the big rallies, and then using tactics that are right out of Karl Rove's playbook.
FOREMAN: Hillary Clinton seemed plenty capable of defending herself.
H. CLINTON: So, shame on you, Barack Obama.
FOREMAN: But Bill Clinton's stinging attacks grabbed headlines.
BERNSTEIN: He has made it very clear that he believes that Barack Obama is an empty suit. And there's no other way to put it. And, also, there was something very demeaning about -- about Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton saying, oh, the guy can just give a speech. Anybody who has met Barack Obama knows he's capable of a lot more than just giving a speech.
WALL: I think Bill Clinton soured a lot of voters with the way he debased and degraded Barack Obama and his abilities. And you can disagree with a candidate, but I think he tried to strip him of his value, so to speak, in the course of the campaign. And a lot of people were rightfully offended at that.
Some of that will heal. Some of it won't.
FOREMAN: The campaign says, unequivocally, Bill Clinton is behind Obama now. Ask Obama if he wants that support?
OBAMA: Well, the answer is absolutely yes.
FOREMAN: But there has yet to be a triumphant picture of the former president and the would-be successor together.
GERGEN: I have not spoken directly to Bill Clinton. I have spoken to people around him. And there are various reports that he's pretty angry.
It's not that he's -- it's not that he's -- he's got an anger directed at Barack Obama. But he really believed deeply that his wife deserved this, that she had made all the preparations, that she would be the better candidate, the country would be better served.
BERNSTEIN: Always have to look at the emotional factor of Bill Clinton, not just the political factor, and that he is an extremely emotional figure, and that, when he loses, and when he has been denied what he wants or thinks he should have politically, his response has been very self-destructive. And it's been Hillary who has pulled him out of that each time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the president -- the president of the United States!
FOREMAN: Washington on both sides of the aisles remembers and respects the power of the Clinton magic. Even Bill Clinton's enemies know he could reemerge on the trail any day, smiling, shaking hands, erasing much of the tension around this race.
CARVILLE: He's still viewed by a lot of people as the president that led us to our greatest era of prosperity at home and respect around the world.
FOREMAN: But until he fully reappears on this campaign trail, his true current political influence is open to debate.
In a moment: Can anyone predict the outcome this fall, as long as the vice presidency is still up for grabs and a Clinton can still grab it?
BILL BENNETT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I respect their political abilities. As a Republican, I know to fear them in a race.
FOREMAN: And is Hillary's quest for the presidency itself over for good, or just for now?
B. CLINTON: My family is not big on quitting. You probably noticed that.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Gary Tuchman here with a "360 News and Business Bulletin."
Back shortly to "The Clintons Never Quit."
First the headlines, starting with a 360 follow. New York's medical examiner says blood clots killed this woman after she sat for hour after hour in a Brooklyn hospital waiting room. She had been sitting in a chair for nearly 24 hours when she collapsed. After she collapsed, nobody did anything, not even security guards who came in to check.
An hour went by before a nurse even checked her pulse. By then, it was too late. Markets took a beating, the Dow dipping below 11,000 for the first time in two years, then bouncing back. Investors getting jumpy on housing fallout, namely, fears that the two mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, would soon be needing federal help. Both companies issued statements late today, calling their financial positions solid. No such luck for mortgage lender IndyMac. The feds taking it over today, after it essentially ran out of cash, making it the biggest casualty of the housing crash so far.
And iPhone? Try I wait, and wait, and wait; thousands lining up in New York, across the country, and all around the world to get the second-generation gadget. First came a waiting line, then, for many glitches getting their new phone activated, as Apple and AT&T servers buckled under the heavy load -- some today calling it the iPocalypse.
That's it for now. I'm Gary Tuchman.
Another update in the next 30 minutes. Up next, more from Tom Foreman and our 360 special, "The Clintons Never Quit."
See you soon.
H. CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you.
FOREMAN: Look back on happier days for the Clintons.
H. CLINTON: I am so happy to be here.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
FOREMAN: Last summer, when she seemed destined for the nomination, back when friends and supporters felt there was little, maybe nothing, that could stop her, and remember that was not a good time for Clinton opponents.
BENNETT: I'm not a Clinton fan, never have been. I think their net effect on American politics was not good.
FOREMAN: Bill Bennett is a noted conservative commentator and served in the Reagan and first Bush administrations.
H. CLINTON: Change the direction of this country.
BENNETT: As a Republican, I know to fear them in a race. Our record against them is not very good. But I don't admire them. There seems to be a certain ruthlessness about them in their political calculation.
B. CLINTON: Give me a break.
BENNETT: Let me say this. I said back in February, look, one good thing about the Obama nomination, if it happens, is that the Clintons will move to the back, and they will be not center stage in American politics anymore.
GERGEN: I think there was a -- in the beginning of the campaign, an arrogance factor that hurt them badly. I think that that's not what voters were looking for. They wanted someone to earn it again.
You know, we live in a society where people don't grant automatic deference to their leaders anymore. It's -- you have to keep earning it and earning it and earning it. And I think there was a sense the Clintons weren't paying that price.
FOREMAN: Many critics of the Clintons throughout their careers have cited time and again those central complaints, saying that the former first family acts as if America owes them a position of leadership, that they too often and too easily parse words, like the lawyers they are.
H. CLINTON: I made a mistake in describing it. I have said many times we were, you know, very much told by the Secret Service and the military that we were going into a war zone.
B. CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
FOREMAN: And that they have historically overlooked their own mistakes.
BERNSTEIN: One thing we know about the Clintons -- and anybody who knows them well would say -- is that -- that they are so thin-skinned, that they do not take criticism well. And it's hurt them in the past, as well as it did in the campaign. They are much more at ease with blaming others than taking responsibility.
BEGALA: They're not good at agreeing with people who say they're crooks. That's true, Tom.
No, I'm sorry. I completely disagree. Bill Clinton used to say this to me. He used to say, Ben Franklin said, you should thank your critics, because they are your friends, because they point out your flaws.
He is the most open-minded grownup I have ever known. It's a bum rap. I think that the notion that somehow the Clintons attack their critics as evil or whatever is simply not true at all.
BENNETT: I don't want to be uncharitable here, because I think he got some bum raps, too. I think he was hit for being racist or saying racist things, when I don't think -- it certainly wasn't intended. And I don't think the comments...
FOREMAN: Opponents, however, insist the Clintons and their fans keep fueling the fire. For example, near the end of the primary, a chorus rose from Clinton supporters that she had been treated unfairly as a woman. The liberal group Media Matters posted a compilation of instances.
TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC: When she comes on television, I involuntary cross my legs. CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: The reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner is, her husband messed around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear, take out the garbage.
WALL: I think that's a cop-out. I think that was a complete cop-out to say -- to be someone early on who was not going to make being a woman an issue. I mean, the fact is, you are a woman. We all know that. And women certainly -- and could appreciate that and embrace that. But she made the point of not making this a point, to be, this is the big boys club. This is -- this is real politics here. I'm going to play like the big boys.
H. CLINTON: What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?
WALL: And if you're going to take that stance, then you can't, when you lose, say, well -- cry foul and say, it's because I'm a woman. Sometimes, women lose. And, in this case, you lost.
FOREMAN: But the Clintons, especially the senator, appear to have impressed many opponents more in this defeat than in many previous victories.
H. CLINTON: This is more like a hiring decision.
BENNETT: She just kept going and going and going, showed that soft side a couple of times. But there was a kind of admirability in her perseverance and hanging in there. When it looked like it was lost, she was at her best. And that's -- that's an impressive thing. Americans like to see that.
CARVILLE: She's a very serious person. She's very hardworking and very thoughtful. And those are the attributes that I think have served her well in the past and are going to continue to serve her.
WALL: I will say it again. She's a shrewd politician. She's a smart woman. And at -- many, many times I found myself listening to her on -- and, yes, I did listen to her on occasion -- listening to her and just being in awe with how well she's able to articulate what she believes in, what her plans are, what she wants to do, where she wants to go, and how precise she is in saying that.
FOREMAN: Whatever their perceived faults, in election after election, the Clintons have proven their ability to excite great crowds of Americans, much like their own heroes, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and even opponents are awaiting late August when they will stand with Obama.
BENNETT: When you see the Democratic Convention, when he addresses the audience that night, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's speech, every Democrat, every middle-of-the-roader, and many Republicans are going to say, this is a very interesting moment in American politics. You would have to be pretty angry, as a Hillary supporter, not to go along with Obama if things go the way I expect.
FOREMAN: And, speaking of expectations, could there actually be a path that would give the Clintons more power than the presidency?
BENNETT: If politics is a sport of the Olympics, we would enter the Clintons. Even I would vote for that one, because they would compete very well in any political map. They are political beings.
COOPER: It's easy now to look at Hillary Clinton's campaign collapse and be tempted to say the age of influence for the Clintons is over. But consider this: she trounced every other Democratic contender for the nomination except Barack Obama.
And if he were to lose to John McCain this fall, political analysts far and wide would put her right back on top of the list for the nomination in four years.
Once again, here's Tom Foreman.
FOREMAN: When Hillary Clinton returned to the Senate after all those long months on the campaign trail, she made it clear her support for Barack Obama will not eclipse her own political judgment.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The bill would allow our intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor the communications...
FOREMAN: The president wanted approval of that electronic surveillance bill known as FISA. Obama voted for it. She voted against. If Obama becomes president, that may be the kind of split he can ill-afford.
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: She's a United States senator with a very high profile from a very important state. She's got people that support her that the Democratic Party needs, both in a financial sense and in a support sense.
But for somebody that didn't get the nomination, she's got a pretty good hand that she's got to play.
RICHARD M. NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Richard Milhous Nixon...
GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... do solemnly swear...
FOREMAN: Almost every president comes to Washington talking about some kind of change. And they all find it can be difficult or impossible to pull off without strong legislative support.
Hillary Clinton talked about her legislative skills on the trail.
H. CLINTON: That I have been working on these issues and come forth with ideas that will really help.
YELLIN: Barack Obama can't run with his top domestic agenda item, which is health care without Hillary Clinton's sign-on. He may even have to give it to her as her issue to carry. That's a big-ticket item to let somebody else to take the credit for, but he might have to do that. That's Hillary Clinton's issue.
CARVILLE: She's not a frivolous person. And she'll be able to help a President Obama with a key constituency.
You know, politicians tend to many times act, you know -- have their interests. But it's certainly in his interest to keep pretty close to her, I would think.
H. CLINTON: I pledge my support and my hard work and my effort to the next president of the United States, Barack Obama.
FOREMAN: But even as she barnstorms the country with Obama now, there may be reason for Hillary Clinton to be cautious later.
BENNETT: We don't know if he becomes president what kind of president he will be. And so there are actually some real doubts because of the experience question and other things. Supposing he gets in there and he's not a good president. Then the closer she was to him, the more it hurts her.
FOREMAN: So how close should the two be? Should he try to get her out of the Senate and deeply into his camp by making her his vice- presidential candidate?
BENNETT: Every poll I've seen suggests a majority of Democrats would like it. I can't see that Obama would like it. Did he say, or one of his aides say, three presidents is two many in one White House? That's a pretty good line, whoever said it.
BERNSTEIN: I think that if Obama is to choose Hillary Clinton, it will be because he sees he cannot win this election clearly unless he picks her.
GERGEN: It's for that reason, in my view, Barack Obama is going to keep the door open until the very last moment, until the moment of decision about whether he thinks Hillary Clinton ought to be on the ticket. And I think there is a serious possibility she will be on that ticket.
FOREMAN: There are other possibilities, of course. Other positions that have been raised, mayor of New York, governor of the state.
WALL: I do think that there's a possibility she could have a role in the cabinet as a liaison in the Senate. I think that she could rise to a Senate leadership position of some sort.
FOREMAN: As vice president, though... BERNSTEIN: If she were vice president, the thing she cares about the most in social policies she would have a real role in. It's possible she could have a huge role in an Obama administration in terms of health-care policy, in terms of all kinds of social policy.
BEGALA: I get the sense she's a little more ambivalent than some of her supporters are about becoming vice president. It's a great job, and I think she saw how important Al Gore was in her husband's administration. But this is a woman who is a power in her own right.
H. CLINTON: This issue deserves a vote in the United States Senate.
FOREMAN: Not lost on Washington insiders is this: Hillary Clinton could in fact, by fortifying her status in the Senate, actually have more influence over time than she might have had as president.
BENNETT: She absolutely could. She could be elected again and again and again, get seniority on these positions like armed services, and have a profound effect on American policy.
FOREMAN: So, again, it comes down to a delicate dance for Senator Obama. One way or the other, the Clintons remain players in all of his presidential aspirations.
BERNSTEIN: Obama wants a collaborative relationship with the Clintons. And at the same time, he doesn't want a relationship in which the Clintons are dictating to him.
YELLIN: As Hillary Clinton says, 18 million cracks in the ceiling. What she's saying is I have a base of enormous support. Don't ignore me; don't forget me. I'm here to stay.
FOREMAN: Coming up, generation next. Chelsea steps from the shadows to light up the campaign trail...
CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF HILLARY CLINTON: One thing that my mom has been trying to get the Congress to do...
FOREMAN: ... leaving many Clinton fans hungry for more. And a candidate for the future.
TUCHMAN: Hello, Gary Tuchman again. We'll get back to "The Clintons Never Quit" right after this "360 News Bulletin."
The White House is promising a veto if the Senate version of housing relief lands on the president's desk. The senators passed it late today, but it faces significant revision in the house. The idea is to have the government underwrite billions in new mortgages so that homeowners could refinance instead of facing foreclosure. Barack Obama with a bit of thumb in John McCain's eye, at least according to the political buzz. CNN has learned that when he travels to Iraq later this month, he'll be traveling with two colleagues, one of them being Republican Chuck Hagel, a maverick friend of John McCain's, but unlike McCain, a vocal opponent of the war.
Senator McCain, you'll recall, spent his days in Iraq with renegade Democrat Joe Lieberman.
As for Barack Obama, he sat down today with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, talking terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA: GPS": If U.S. forces in Afghanistan captured Osama bin Laden, what would you do with him? And you were president?
OBAMA: Well, I think that if he was -- if he was captured alive, then we would make a decision to bring the full weight of not only U.S. justice, but world justice down on him.
And I think that -- and I've said this before -- that I am not a cheerleader for the death penalty. I think it has to be reserved for only the most heinous crimes. But I certainly think plotting and engineering the death of 3,000 Americans justifies such an approach.
Now, the -- I think this is a big hypothetical, though. Let's catch him first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: And that wasn't all he said. You can catch the rest of the interview this weekend Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on "FAREED ZAKARIA: GPS": right here on CNN.
And tomorrow, three homecomings. Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howes leaving Brooke Army Medical Center ten days after Colombian forces plucked them out of activity. More than five years in the jungle, shackled and chained. They've spent the days since then getting checked out physically and prepared mentally for the rest of their lives; happy lives we hope.
I'm Gary Tuchman, that's it for me.
Back to our 360 special report, "The Clintons Never Quit" right after this short break. Have a great weekend.
FOREMAN: At CNN's Democratic debate in Los Angeles, back in January, there were plenty of liberals on hand; relatively few conservatives. So when a famous Republican author felt a tap on his shoulder, he was not sure what to expect.
BENNETT: I turned and a young woman said, "Mr. Bennett, I don't imagine you're getting a lot of welcomes. I just wanted to welcome you. I hope you have a pleasant time." And it was Chelsea Clinton. Very, very impressive. Who could not be impressed with that touch, that she had come to me? I could see some of her father in that.
FOREMAN: There can be no other childhood in America that quite compares to growing up in the White House. Many children have had the experience for all its good and bad, and not one adult can rightfully say he knows what it would be like.
But in this election, a great many adults who remembered that little girl from the Clinton White House were impressed to see her again, a young woman on the campaign trail.
C. CLINTON: I fundamentally believe that, if we work hard and we reach out and we talk to people about the questions that are important to each of us as voters, whether that is a woman's right to choose, college affordability, ensuring our economy is back on track, not only ending the war, but standing up for American values again, the people will vote for my mom on Tuesday.
FOREMAN: Chelsea Clinton appeared most often before college-age crowds. She gave no interviews and, when pressed on issues that struck too closely to home, she firmly turned them aside.
C. CLINTON: That is something that is personal to my family. I'm sure there are things that are personal to your family that you don't think are anyone else's business either.
YELLIN: She's got her mother's mind, and her father's comfort. She's not a charismatic person in the way her father is. I mean, that's been overstated.
She's very policy specific, muted. But she connects, and people find her fascinating, because she speaks so infrequently. When you do hear her speak, everyone listens.
C. CLINTON: I'm proud that my mom stood up for universal health care.
FOREMAN: She took questions about policy, about her mother's character and people, indeed, listened and listened.
GERGEN: She's clearly a very capable young woman. I think she was an enormous asset for her mother during this campaign. And I think she's been part of the glue that's held that marriage together between Bill and Hillary Clinton.
WALL: I think Chelsea Clinton really helped humanize, in a lot of ways, Hillary Clinton and her role as a mother and energizing the youth vote. And I thought it was interesting when she said her mother would make a better president than her father. That one might come back to haunt her should she ever runs for office.
FOREMAN: Inevitably, that is the question. Will Chelsea consider a career in politics? She says no.
BERNSTEIN: A friend of the family said to me this week Chelsea Clinton is really devastated by her mother's loss. And don't underestimate the effect that that has also on Bill Clinton in terms of feeding his anger.
GERGEN: My bet is that Chelsea Clinton is going to go have a private life that's going to be extraordinarily adventuresome, interesting. She's a young woman who really proved herself, her mettle in this campaign and to the public.
FOREMAN: Still, the depth of respect for her weathering all that it means to be a Clinton in American life today appears profound in both parties.
CARVILLE: I know that my own children look up to her maybe as much as anybody. The whole country has watched her grow. And it's sort of nice to see a sort of success story like this and to see, you know, somebody we knew as a girl turn into a really kind of mature, bright, articulate, successful young woman. And I think it's good for other children, in particular young girls, to see.
FOREMAN: And who knows, with the Clintons and politics, what the future will bring?
BENNETT: If you look at the DNA, if you believe in DNA, Tom, if you believe in DNA, you've got to believe that she's going to go into politics. How can she not go into politics?
BEGALA: I have no idea if Chelsea Clinton wants to run for office. If she does, you know, I may quit my gig at CNN and volunteer to be her campaign manager.
FOREMAN: When Bill Clinton took the White House way back in the early '90s, he danced while Fleetwood boomed out "Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow." The Clintons never have. Almost as soon as the campaign ended for his wife, Bill Clinton was traveling anew...
B. CLINTON: I'm going back to work.
FOREMAN: ... tending to the business of the charitable foundation he started. It encourages economic opportunity, health care, nutrition, education, environmental responsibility, and much more all around the globe. The Web site says hundreds of thousands of people are likely alive today because of medicine the Clinton Foundation got to them.
BEGALA: I won't talk about private conversations that I've had, but I can tell you this. He is very committed to his philanthropic work. And even had his wife been inaugurated as president, he was not going to walk away from that foundation.
FOREMAN: Most expect him to spend even more time on that international work now. But loyalists are more than willing to predict continuing big roles for both of them in Washington, too.
CARVILLE: You know, I've been around politics long enough to know that political fortunes have a way of not being static. And I think both of them are very talented people. And if I had to make any kind of wager, my guess is that they'll continue to have enormous political influence. And it will probably be more, not less, as the years go by.
FOREMAN: Or maybe less. Not more.
YELLIN: I doubt Bill Clinton will be terribly involved in domestic politics in the years to come, but I suspect that he will be called on, as he was, for the tsunami coverage, for Katrina, various times...
FOREMAN: International ambassador roles.
YELLIN: Absolutely. He'll be an international roving ambassador, the elder statesman at times. When he can play that role, he will.
BENNETT: I don't think he'll be much sought after. Though I imagine for a race here and there, he can still command a crowd. But you know, they had a long run. I mean, they had a long run of power, from Clinton's presidency in '92, really up to the beginning of 2008 when Barack Obama takes over. That's a long run in American politics to be on top, and they were on top.
FOREMAN: There are ways the Clintons could yet be on the very top again. If Obama falters this autumn or has a disastrous first term or picks her as his vice president, Hillary Clinton could still become the nation's chief executive.
GERGEN: But I must tell you at the moment her fate does rest with Barack Obama. And that's an unusual position for the Clintons to be in. In the past, they've always been able to look to the voters to determine their future. And they've always -- nearly always succeeded.
FOREMAN: The calendar may be the biggest enemy for whatever remains of Hillary Clinton's presidential hopes. In eight years, she will be pushing 70. John McCain is 71.
BEGALA: I don't know if she'll ever run again. I really don't know. It's tough. You know, the great, late (inaudible) used to say the only cure for presidential fever is embalming fluid.
So I have no idea. Bill and Hillary Clinton are very adaptable people. They have succeeded wherever they've been.
WALL: I think they're still very strong. I think they have a very long career in the party. There are a lot of things they can do in the party, but they've certainly been taken down a notch.
FOREMAN: One of the more intriguing ideas being floated around political circles regarding Hillary Clinton is a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
GERGEN: She was a good lawyer. She was rated among the country's 50 best lawyers when she was practicing back in Little Rock.
WALL: The ironic part of that is that she would be right of Barack Obama in most of her positions, more than likely. So, you know, I can only see him appointing someone who is at least as left-leaning as he is, and she's not.
CARVILLE: My own view is she has a pretty good idea of what human beings' lives are like, and that she would be pretty good. Having said that, it would be a very interesting nomination battle there. It would be kind of fun to be part of that.
BERNSTEIN: Putting Hillary Clinton on the court would be an unmistakable sign of Obama's judicial intent. Whether it's what she wants to do with the rest of her life, I don't know, quite honestly.
BENNETT: Not a chance, I don't think. That's not -- that's not what she does. That's not what they do.
FOREMAN: What the Clintons do, with rare exceptions, is win political races, wield political power, and fascinate political observers of all persuasions.
BERNSTEIN: We know an awful lot about these people, and what we know is that they are people who are vastly complicated. The story of the Clintons has been a great national psycho drama, a kind of out of body experience at times for the whole country.
They're going to be with us. And their story is very much the great political story of our time in many ways.
FOREMAN: And this is something else the Clintons do.
H. CLINTON: So today, I'm going to count my blessings and keep on going.
FOREMAN: In the rough and tumble game of modern American politics, they never quit.
COOPER: Undeniably, the Clintons have made miscalculations over the years, something that would have certainly destroyed lesser politicians.
But Bill Clinton has talked about that in a way that could convince everyone that the final chapter in the Clinton saga may not be written for years. If you live long enough, he said, you'll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you'll be a better person. It's how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit. Never quit, never quit.
Thanks for joining us.