Hillary Clinton, facing questions from Anderson Cooper on the TPP and whether she “will say anything to get elected,” insisted tonight that “I have been consistent over the course of my entire life.” Here’s the exchange:
COOPER: Will you say anything to get elected?
CLINTON: I have been consistent over the course of my entire life. I have always fought for the same values and principles, but like most human beings, including those of us who run for office, I do absorb new information, I do look at what’s happening in the world. You know, take the trade deal. I did say when I was secretary of state three years ago, that I hoped it would be the gold standard. It was just finally negotiated last week. In looking at it, it didn’t meet my standards. My standards for more new good jobs for Americans, for raising wages for Americans and I want to make sure that I can look into the eyes of any middle class American and say this will help raise your wages and I concluded I could not.
COOPER: Secretary Clinton, with all due respect, the question is about political expediency. In July, New Hampshire, you told the crowd you take a back seat to no one when it comes to progressive values. Last month in Ohio you say you pled guilty to being kind of moderate and center. Do you change your political identity based on who you’re talking to?
CLINTON: No. I think like most people that I know, I have a range of views. But they are rooted in my values and my experience. And I don’t take a back seat to anyone when it comes to progressive experience and progressive commitment. When I left law school, my first job was with the Children’s Defense Fund. For all the years since, I have been focused on how we’re going to unstack the deck and make it possible for more people to have the experience I had to be able to come from a grandfather as a factory person and a small business person and asking the people of America to elect me president.
COOPER: Are you a progressive or a moderate?
CLINTON: I’m a progressive. But I like to get things done. And I know how to find common ground and I know how to stand my ground and I’ve proved that in every position that I’ve had. Even dealing with Republicans who never had a good word to say about me, honestly. But we found ways to work together on everything from reforming foster care and adoption to the children’s health insurance program, which insures 8 million kids.