Clinton: We Have to ‘Break the Stranglehold’ Extremists in GOP Have on ‘Sensible’ People

‘I will go anywhere, talk to anybody, anytime to try to find common ground’

MADDOW: "In terms of the Obama legacy and the way that Vice President has talked, even if he’s saying he’s not going to run, talks about needing to champion the Obama legacy, obviously there’s some specific policies on which you have some differences with the President."
CLINTON: "Right."
MADDOW: "But I want to ask you about one part of President Obama’s approach to being President that I think there would be a difference between him and you. Has he been naive in expecting Republicans to work with him, when they – they really didn’t work with him on anything? They explicitly did not work with him even on things they agreed with him on because it was more important to them to try to stop him than to even accede (ph) their own policy aims.  Should he have expected that?  Would you expect that?"  
CLINTON: "Well, I think, when you are dealing with the other part in Washington, it’s that old saying – you know, you hope for the best, you prepare for the worst. Of course you want to have the opportunity to work across party lines.  I did that when I was a senator.  I did it when I was secretary of state.  But you need about – you know, six, seven, eight, 10 scenarios if something doesn’t go your way.  

"I think what the president was doing when he came into office, number one, was coping with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and the very people who had supported President Bush in voting for TARP – the Republicans and the Democrats – were then asked to support the president on the Recovery Act and the stimulus.  

"And it was Democrats, predominantly, again, who supported him, and I was there at the end of the Bush administration.  And I – I know that I was trying to exercise my – you know, responsibility as a senator, and I voted for TARP.  

"And then to see people who did something when the Republicans were in the White House who wouldn’t do it when we had a new Democratic president – although we were losing 800,000 jobs a month and the auto industry was on the brink of total collapse – gives you an idea of what we’re up against.  

"Because there is this ideological purity test that I think, unfortunately, too many Republicans who know better are being subjected to.  So I will go anywhere, talk to anybody, anytime to try to find common ground.  To try to achieve our national objective.  

"But I’ll also stand my ground, and I think it’s a constant balance about where one begins and the other one ends.  And I think the president was absolutely sincere.  I mean, I spent a lot of time with him in the first four years, and he was absolutely sincere.  

"And he was often – you know, just bewildered that the evidence was clear, the results were going to flow (ph), and the Republicans would privately say, “yeah, you’re right, but I can’t,” or “I won’t.”  

"So we’ve gotta break the stranglehold that the extremist views in the Republican Party have on too many people who are otherwise sensible and try to get them back into the pragmatic problem-solving that should be the hallmark of the relationship between the president and the Congress."

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