Clinton's Senior Campaign Adviser on Whether Clinton Will Quit at Her Election Event

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," June 2, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: Fair and balanced, now to the Clinton campaign, to concede or not concede? Clinton's camp said she is not calling it quits tonight, and tonight she is telling New York lawmakers that she is open to the vice presidential spot, something she has carefully avoided saying until just this afternoon. And earlier, her campaign manager, hinting on another network that she is getting ready to throw in the towel any moment now.


TERRY MCAULIFFE, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: I think if Senator Obama gets the number, I think Hillary Clinton will congratulate him and call him the nominee. We haven't gotten to that number yet. There's a lot of issues that Hillary wants to talk about going forward.


KELLY: Some mixed messages, some believe. So, what is Clinton actually going to do tonight? Well, her senior campaign advisor, Kiki McLean joins us tonight. Hi, Kiki.


How are you?

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KELLY: I'm doing well. Thanks. How are you doing?

MCLEAN: Great.

KELLY: What can we expect tonight? Will she concede if Obama gets to the magic number?

MCLEAN: Tonight is really about letting people in South Dakota and Montana finish voting. And we'll have an election night in New York, in her home state with supporters around her and she'll have a conversation with them and talk to folks about what she believes. There is no plan for a concession tonight.

KELLY: But if Obama declares victory -- which our Major Garrett who covers the Obama campaign -- says he will, will she accept that? Will she recognize him as the nominee?

MCLEAN: Our focus tonight and today is the voters in South Dakota and Montana. I think everybody has had a lot of time on their hands today, and so they have wanted to split hairs and parse moments as opposed to understanding this is an election.

KELLY: I'm not trying to split hairs and parse moments. I'm just trying to get a straight answer to this question. If he gets to the magic number.

MCLEAN: It is -- it is a straight answer.

KELLY: If he gets to the magic number and declares victory, will she recognize him tonight as the nominee?

MCLEAN: You asked me what our plan was today.

KELLY: No, I didn't. I said will she recognize him as the nominee if he gets the magic number?

MCLEAN: Our plan right now is to focus on South Dakota and Montana. KELLY: So, you won't answer the question?

MCLEAN: I'm not going to make predictions other than to tell you what our plan is. Our plan right now, there are voters in South Dakota and Montana. This is hugely important. At the end of a really long process where people in so many states and territories have had a chance to participate, and those folks in South Dakota and Montana deserve that chance. I think, tonight, at our election night celebration, we're going to hear from the senator about the things she wants to talk about, about what this journey has been about, and we'll let her talk about those things.

KELLY: So, you don't dispute (AUDIO BREAK) chairman saying today and I quote, "I think Hillary Clinton will congratulate Obama and call him the nominee if he gets to that number"?

MCLEAN: I think you're trying to get in to sort of a gotcha kind of moment. I don't really see.

KELLY: It's not a gotcha, Kiki. It is her campaign manager. I'm just asking you if that's still the case. He said that this morning at 8:00. It's 5:00 now. Is there any reason to dispute it?

MCLEAN: I think that what she has always said, what Terry has said on many occasions, what many of us has said, is that she is committed to having a Democrat in the White House next year. Our hope and goal is that it's her. Today is the last of the elections in the states and territories of the primary season. And that's what we're going to do.

KELLY: Understood. OK, let's now get back on the talking points about Montana and South Dakota. Let me ask you about the vice presidential report.


KELLY: For the first time, she comes and says she's open to it. We have not heard that yet before. Usually she deflects it. There's been criticism of her even saying that today, Kiki, saying -- oh, she's trying to steal his thunder. Your response.

MCLEAN: Well, I think what she did was she had a conversation with some of the New York delegation. She answered a question. She reiterated as she had on many occasions, and like I'd just told you, that she's going to do whatever she can to make sure there is a Democrat in the White House. I think that, like I've said before, I think, folks are wandering around, thinking that every moment is huge in what every breath everybody says. When people are hearing characterizations, I wasn't in that conversation, so, I didn't hear that today.

KELLY: All right. Before I let you go, let me just ask you because you're close to her, you've been on this campaign, you know -- how is she today and how are the folks involved with this campaign? How are you feeling on a day like this?

MCLEAN: I feel good on a day like this. I have not seen or talked to her today. Obviously, she's in New York. I think that folks feel good. I think that we, who support her and work for her, feel good about the case that she's taken to the American people, the case that she's making to superdelegates. What she believes we need to do to bring folks home from the war safely and responsibly; what we need to do to fix this economy and make sure that everyone gets the healthcare we need. This is a hugely important dialogue. You know, I'm mom. I have a six-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. And I really believe that this election is in some way is going to have more impact on the quality of their life as they grow into adulthood than perhaps even I will. And I think there are lots of Americans who share those concerns and that's why we participated ultimately today. We've had hundreds of thousands of people who'd never participated before. Come on.

KELLY: Got it. Kiki, I've got to go. I've got to go, but thank you very much for offering those thoughts with us. We appreciate it.

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