OTR Interviews

Kucinich: Clinton's speech, DNC was anti-Trump informercial - and it doesn't help her

Former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich believes Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Convention were too focused on knocking down Trump, didn't spend enough time appealing to Sanders supporters


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 29, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Did Secretary Clinton focus too much or not enough on Donald Trump?

Former Democratic presidential candidate Congressman Dennis Kucinich is here to go ON THE RECORD.

Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Did Secretary Clinton focus too much on Donald Trump? Not enough? Or just right?

KUCINICH: I tend to think that the entire convention was wrapped around an anti-Trump infomercial. And I don't think that actually helps Secretary Clinton, who needs to build public confidence in, not only in her performance in the capacities that she has, but needs to build public trust.

And if you deflect that by attacking someone, some of the underlying issues that are out there are not going to be addressed. And so I think she probably lost some opportunities.

VAN SUSTEREN: So are you saying she basically took the bait from Donald Trump and engaged in sort of a street fight with him, rather than sort of rising above it and talking about the big issues? Is that another way to say it or not?

KUCINICH: I think that if she proceeds to rise above it and acts as a master of policy and works off her political biography, notwithstanding any differences that any of us may have, that would be the best tact for her.

But if she goes negative and if this campaign turns into a mud wrestling, I think Trump benefits, frankly.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why would he benefit more than she would from the mud wrestling?

KUCINICH: Because challengers generally will benefit more from negative attacks.

Hillary Clinton is running as an incumbent in some ways. And so I don't think the negative attacks help her with the stature that she already has. She should be gathering the stature that she has from all the different offices she has held, and without regard to the issues, you know, whether she was right or wrong, she has been a primary player in American politics for a quarter century.

Why give that up to get into a street fight with Donald Trump?

VAN SUSTEREN: Here's what Donald Trump said, a little bit of what he said after her speech.


DONALD TRUMP, GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have been nice. But after watching that performance last night, such lies. I don't have to be so nice anymore. I'm taking the gloves off, right? Yes?


VAN SUSTEREN: I don't know if he had been so nice. I mean, he has done some name-calling calling her "Crooked Hillary."

KUCINICH: Well, absolutely, that's name calling. And I will tell you, there is a Harvard study that suggests that these kinds of negative attacks on both sides could shrink and polarize an electorate.

So, the Democrats need a big turnout. That's another reason why Hillary Clinton needs to weigh whether the attacks on Donald Trump could actually frustrate Democratic turnout.

VAN SUSTEREN: See, there was one report that we had that 80,000 Democrats in the State of Pennsylvania are now registered as Republicans.


VAN SUSTEREN: I think the problem that she has that a lot of people really fed up, do anybody but anyone who is considered part of Washington. You know, it's just essential to get an outsider.

KUCINICH: Well, in this change climate, it is true that people who have been Democrats have registered Republican. They are definitely going to be Trump voters.

Hillary Clinton's challenge is to get a massive turnout. And to do that, I don't think you can run a negative campaign. I think you have to inspire people. You lift them up so that on Election Day, they want to turn out for a really good person for president.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, always nice to see you. Thank you, sir.

KUCINICH: It's good to be with you.