Clinton Adviser on Hillary's 'Win Is a Win' Stance in Pennsylvania

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," April 22, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: Both campaigns are in the "setting expectations" game. You'd just heard Major walked you through it. Obama's camp is saying: Clinton needs a blowout tonight for this thing to matter. Clinton, you heard moments ago, says, "A win is a win."

Clinton's adviser Kiki McLean is with us now. Hi, Kiki.

• Video: Watch the interview


KELLY: Good. I'm great. This is a big night for you guys.

MCLEAN: It is a very big night. You know, I love election days because Americans have a great way of putting everybody in their proper place — the media, those of us who are campaign staffs, candidates — they say what they want to see happen and we're going to learn later tonight what the folks in Pennsylvania want.

KELLY: They do. And the polls close in Pennsylvania in about three hours.

MCLEAN: That's right.

KELLY: We should know one way or the other. In the meantime, we're going to get exit polling results in any moment, folks. I'm just getting alerts on my computer, so, as soon as I have information that's reportable, I will bring it to you.

But, Kiki, let me ask you first about the latest dustup that we saw today on the Clinton side of the campaign. And of all people, it had to do with Louis Farrakhan — and this relationship that Hillary Clinton advisor and supporter, Ed Rendell, has with Louis Farrakhan. It's not a relationship, but he, in 1997, Ed Rendell, said some very kind things about Louis Farrakhan, with Louis Farrakhan in the room.

Now, this is being held against Hillary Clinton, because she came out not long ago and said, "Barack Obama needs to be pretty careful about who he chooses as his advisor. Advisors matter." This gets held against her tonight.

Before I get you to respond, I'd just want to point out, we had Governor Ed Rendell booked on this program tonight. He was supposed to come on and talk about this election. When he heard we were going to ask him about this, the Clinton campaign pulled him and said, "He's no longer available to you." Why, Kiki? Why not respond on this?

MCLEAN: You know what, Megyn? I don't really know much about this at all, and frankly, I think this has a lot to do with the fact that Governor Rendell is very busy. We've got polls open for another three hours and votes to get out.

KELLY: No, but we were told this is a reason they pulled him, not that he's busy.

MCLEAN: Megyn, I'd just answered your questions. I don't know the details on this, so, it's not a question I can answer for you. But I can talk about what's going on in Pennsylvania today and the kind of issues that have been debated there and what's going on.

It's why Senator Clinton has been on the state talking about the economy, talking about national security, and talking about the issues that people in Pennsylvania care about, the same kind of issues that people in Texas and Ohio cared about, who stood out and supported Hillary Clinton in the last round of primaries, I think, the same issues that are going to be important in the next nine contests we have in this nominating process.

KELLY: Understood. But on the substance of the point, because folks who are supporting Obama are trying to circulate this as an issue, so you as a Clinton surrogate, tell us why they shouldn't care or why it doesn't matter that Clinton's got the governor's support. Someone who.

MCLEAN: Megyn, I told you, I can't speak to that because I don't know the details of it. So, I don't want to waste a lot of your viewers' time because, I think, they care about the issues that are at hand and are being discussed in Pennsylvania today. I don't have the details that you are asking me about.

KELLY: I understand. I thought you were trying to make the point that you don't have the details on the governor's not appearing on the program.

Let's move on. The other dustup today had to do with Bill Clinton, who's obviously been out there trying to support his wife, Kiki, and I'm sure he's doing his best but he's been making a lot of news, maybe news that she doesn't want him to make. You know, first, he made some comments about trying to defend her on the sniper-gate thing.

Today, he makes some comments about his own statements after Obama won the South Carolina primary. Bill Clinton made some remark about: Hey, well, Jesse Jackson did, too. Then, there was a question about whether that was a racist comment. Well, Clinton came out yesterday and said that allegation was playing the race card.

Let me just play you what he said yesterday on the radio.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: 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. This was used out of context and twisted for political purposes by the Obama campaign to try to breed resentment elsewhere. And, you know, do I regret saying it? No. Do I regret that it was used that way? I certainly do. But you really got to go some to try to portray me as a racist.


KELLY: OK. So, that's Bill Clinton yesterday. Then today, as I understand, it was an NBC reporter asked him about it, to expand on that: how do you think Obama, his campaign played the race card. And here's what he said.


B. CLINTON: No, no, no. That's not what I said. You always follow me around and play these little games and I'm not going to play your games. This is a day about election day. Go back and see what the question was, and what my answer was. You have mischaracterized it to get another cheap story to divert the American people from the real urgent issues before us, and I choose not to play your game today. Have a nice day.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Respectfully, sir, you did say that.

B. CLINTON: Thank you. I said what I said, you can go back and look at the interview.


KELLY: Kiki, I'm not going to ask you to get in the head of Bill Clinton, but is this a distraction from what she's trying to talk about?

MCLEAN: You know what? I think this is really quite simple. He was asked a question in the interview about it. He answered the question. He talked about the fact that there had, in fact, had been an Obama campaign memo.

But you know, Megyn, we all have choices about what to talk about in this campaign, and he answered a question that someone had for him, and I'm here today to talk about what Senator Clinton has been talking about in the state which is the economy, the issues of national security. You can also play a tape of what she talks about on the road in Pennsylvania. We haven't really discussed that yet.

And I'm hopeful for the folks of Pennsylvania that we get to do that, because I think the kind of debate that she and Barack Obama have had in Pennsylvania is important not only for Pennsylvanians but the whole country.

Because, ultimately, this is going to be about who do we believe as Democrats, will be the best nominee to put forth in November to beat John McCain. Because the stakes are very high in this race, the stakes for the future of our country. We're involved in two wars. We've got an economy that is on the brink of disaster, and our next leader and who we pick to be that leader is critically important.

KELLY: Yes. If our viewers leave with nothing else tonight, Kiki, if they walk away from this with nothing else, what's the one thing you want them to know about Hillary Clinton?

MCLEAN: I want them to know that she is ready to be commander-in- chief from day one and she is prepared to deal with this economy. She understands the challenges that people are facing. And you know what? I think millions of Americans already know that about her, because they have supported her, and I think she's in this to stand up for them, and to fight and help them.

But she can only do that if she's made - she's elected president, and to do that first, she's got to get the nomination. So, while the polls are still open in Pennsylvania, vote, vote, vote. Go get your family, get your friends, get in the car, and go to vote.

KELLY: Get the family dog and get out to the poll.

MCLEAN: There you got it.

KELLY: All right. Less than three hours to go. Kiki, thanks so much for being here. We appreciate your respond. We've got to ask about the headlines of the day in (INAUDIBLE).

MCLEAN: You're always welcome to ask.

KELLY: We appreciate it.

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