This is not an exact transcript, but the best my fingers could keep up with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The following takes place between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m Ankara Standard Time. Events occur in real time.
1:46 am: Bad muzak. Really, bad sound quality.
1:50 am: Lost Internet connection. Arrrgh. Want to get back to America.
1:53 am: Reconnect. Get another warning about the security certificate on Hillary’s site. Symbolic?
1:54 am: In the lower left hand corner, I’m getting “Unable to Connect to Text Server. You may be being blocked by your firewall. Please contact your network administrator or this event’s host.”
1:55 am: Back to muzak being piped in through a tin can.
1:59 am: I am breathless with anticipation. No, wait, that’s just tired.
2:00 am: She starts on time!
Hillary: Thanks for great response since announcement on Saturday. This amazing new technology can bring so many of us together.
For her brothers, she says, “Go Bears.” (Carpetbagger.)
Introduces Crystal Patterson, campaign blogger.
Let the conversation begin.
Barbara in Mass: What can I say to people who say America won’t elect a woman?
Hillary: I hope you we won’t know until we try. Any time we’ve broken barriers, required people to make a leap of faith.
Many women are equipped and ready to lead.I believe I would be the best candidate and the best president.
I do think it’s important that we demonstrate that womena re capable of serving at highest level of our government.
Carolyn: Do you regret vote on Iraq?
(I notice at this point the senator’s relentless nodding of her head as she speaks.)
I have said if we had known then when Pres asked for authority put inspectors in make sure he if we had known eveyrhing Pres would never have asked for such authority Congress would not have voted to give it to him.
Faced with very dangerous situation.
I raised questions about policy pursued from my position on Armed Services Committee. Made third trip to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Half the number of troops. Put real conditions on the Iraqi government.
Visited military hospital in Germany.
I do think we should threaten to cut funding for Iraqi army, Iraqi police, and security for the Iraqi leaders. Don’t understand why this president has given them such a blank check. (This line of argument is going to get some traction.)
Al-Qaeda in Iraq weren’t there before, but are there now.
Need to try to prevent Iran from expanding its influence in the region, and prevent from getting a nuclear weapon.
Kim in Winston Salem: How does New Orleans rank in your list of priorities?
Very high. (Surprise.)
When I was in Arkansas, went to visit often. Visited after hurricanes.
Mattie in Armonk New York, a 14 year old class president: What made you so inspirational? (This sounds like a question given to Chris Matthews in the Saturday Night Live sketch. “You’re great.”)
Do what makes you happy. When I was young, I wanted to help people. (Help, as in, ‘control.’)
I worked for Children’s Defense Fund.
I had a very nice middle class upbringing. If you can get out and learn about the world and help people – that’s what I did, I volunteered through church group growing up.
Volunteer in campaigns. I hope you’ll volunteer in my campaign.
I missed the name – 55-year old hairdresser tough time paying mortgage, can’t afford health insurance. (Softball!)
I committed to affordable quality health care for everyone.
Didn’t you try that in 1993 and 1994? I worked at my husband’s request. We made a bunch of mistakes, and I learned from all of that, and I have the scars to show what we went through.
People are really focused on this.
It’s a problem of cost, of competition, also a question of will, political will. Are we going to roll up our sleeves and do this.
Allow people between 55 and 65 to buy into Medicare, or buy into federal employee health care plan.
Always admired the way you raised Chelsea in life in the fishbowl. Will she be taking a more active role in your campaign?
One of the things of raising an independent son or daughter, you want them to do what’s right for them.
Michael in New Rochelle, what are you going to do about terrorism?
We went through such a horrible time after 9/11, every one of us in the greater New York area knew somebody personally affected. It gave us a keener awareness of the threat.
Just this morning was at Ground Zero with victims affected by toxic dust released by the collapse of the buildings.
9/11 and threat of terrorism is never far from my mind. I want to continue to advocate for more resources, more funding, more personnel to protect our borders, ports…
I can’t sit and tell you there will never be another attack.
Linda in Pensacola, Fla. – end dependence on foreign oil?
Hillary: My answer is longer and more wonkish than I can tell you in a brief web chat.
We are literally over the barrel with people who do not mean us well, not just in Middle East and Iran, but Venezuela. Previous question goes hand in hand.
It’s also a jobs issue. Smart, home-grown energy would give a lot of our people a better future. I support all kinds of ethanol.
Solar, geothermal, do more on hydrogen, longer term goals. Do more on conservation. Very impressed with what California has done with imposing conservation and energy efficiency standards.
Would like to use coal reserves.
Take away subsidies to big oil. Strategic Energy Fund, on par with Manhattan Project, funded by windfall profits tax on big oil. Let’s put this on the fast track.
Jean from New Jersey: Favorite movie?
When I was very much younger, Wizard of Oz. (Hmm – Obama, Edwards, Richardson – who needs a heart, who needs a brain, and who needs courage?)
In college and law school, Casablanca.
In the last years, Out of Africa.
Rachel in Austin, Tex: improve relationships with other countries?
We cannot jail all of the bad guys who wish us ill, but we can surround them. We have so squandered post-9/11 goodwill. Start at the top with the president.
I don’t understand why our current president will not talk with people he thinks are bad. There are a lot of bad actors in this world.
We are not being smart about how we solve our problems.
I could talk for the rest of this webcast on this topic. When President Bush pulled out of Kyoto, I thought that was a mistake. Don’t pretend global climate change isn’t real. Come up with a different process, but don’t walk away from the problem. We need to get back into a dialogue with the world.
Afford a college education?
College education is increasingly expensive, and hard with the rising costs of everything else.
(Sorry – this was a long stretch about the importance of education, and how hard it is for many families to afford it; the senator hopes to get the cost down.)
Nancy in Wisconsin: retirement is an impossible dream. Give me hope. (Perhaps even the audacity of hope.)
Hillary: I understand the discouragement. Pensons are no longer guaranteed. Workers lose pensions because of decisions in the boardroom. Social Security is a critical part of everyone’s planning. We’ve got to come up with some new ways to help you save for retirement.
Can’t be left hanging by your employer or by your government. Something I’m going to be focused on during this campaign.
Thanks and farewells.
Overall reaction: Do you remember the sketch where Darrell Hammond played Arnold Schwarzenegger, trying to lay out his agenda, and basically saying, “I vant to solve the problem and things of that nature”? (Here’s the transcript.)
Under Gray Davis, we see it all the time, taxes go up, up, up.. and jobs go away, away, away. To Nevada.. and Arizona.. and all of those places. But I will stop this! How? Specifically.. [ for clarification, his text now appears as a SUPER ] by keeping jobs in California.. and creating new jobs. Good jobs! Where people come to the place.. and work with the employer.. and he gives them the money for doing these things!
The answers felt like that. A lot.
Having said that, Sen. Clinton came across as less scripted, less stiff, and more personable than I expected. Clearly, she went into this event aiming to come across as pleasant and “normal”, not as a policy wonk versed in the minutia of pending legislation. Will it work? Well, at this early date, who was watching?