Hillary Clinton Unplugged
By Joanna Coles
Photo Credit: Daniel J. Barry/Wire Image
Next subject: abortion. Some women feel that your language is becoming much more moderate on the issue. What do you say to reassure them?
HC: I've been saying the same thing for as long as I can remember: I believe abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. I do think women should have a choice but also that women should be making responsible decisions. I think people who have been pro-choice have basically gotten lazy about it. There will be a concerted effort by the Supreme Court to try to push as far as they possibly can [last spring, the court upheld a ban on so-called partial-birth abortions], and if they go all the way and either repeal or overturn Roe v. Wade, then it will become a political issue again in the legislatures of every state, and people will find themselves having to be politically active. When you're part of a group that cares deeply as the anti-choice people do you get organized, and you vote on that issue, whereas people who are pro-choice vote on a lot of different issues. I bet a lot of people among your readers voted for George W. Bush because they concluded that he was more likeable or whatever. But if [abortion rights] is the most important issue to any of your readers, then it has to become a voting issue.
JC: Do you have much contact with Al Gore?
HC: I see him every so often. He is doing an extraordinary job on the whole global-warming front and deserves an enormous amount of credit. I hope he gets the Nobel Peace Prize, which he's up for this fall, because he's really kept this issue on the front burner during the last six years, when Bush wanted it to be buried.
JC: Do you think he's going to run?
HC: I have no idea. You would have to ask him.
JC: When you first came to Washington, what surprised you most?
HC: I was surprised at how Washington responded when Bill asked me to work on health care. [The response] was so much more conservative than in Arkansas, where I had worked on it. Learning the difference between being the first lady of a state and the first lady of a country was a real experience.