"Good Morning America's" train tour across the country continued on Tuesday with Diane Sawyer interviewing Hillary Clinton and encouraging the senator to agree that John McCain is too old to be president. She also jokingly invited the former first lady aboard, stating that the program could "go out and buy you some pajamas."
But first, adopting the liberal talking points that McCain might die soon, the ABC host wondered, "...Senator Claire McCaskill said recently that she felt that it was a dangerous decision to pick Governor Palin, because of Senator McCain's age and because of his health. Do you agree?" After Clinton declined to support McCaskill's contention, Sawyer prompted, "So, you're not going to endorse what she said?"
The interview, which took place in New York as part of what GMA has dubbed the "Whistle-Stop Tour '08," also including the ABC journalist fretting about the tight presidential race. She worried, "A lot of people are saying, with this kind of economic news, this situation, Senator Obama and the Democrats should be further ahead. Why is it so close?"
Successive segments with the senator featured progressively more gushing questions, such as when Sawyer told Clinton that she had asked people across the country what the number one question they'd like asked of the former first lady. She then cooed, "And several of them said to me, I'd like to know, have there been hard days since June and how she's dealt with them?"
In a third piece for the 8:30 half hour, the longtime journalist joked about Clinton joining the ABC crew on the train. "And we have a bunk bed for you," she mused. Sawyer then followed up that GMA could "go out and buy you some pajamas."
The morning show host did ask one tough question. She queried how Clinton feels about Governor Sarah Palin "as a woman." Sawyer added, "And I just wonder, with the 18 million cracks of the glass ceiling, however you disagree with her on policy, will part of you be cheering if she makes it because she's female?"
A transcript of the first part of the interview, which aired at 7:11am on September 16, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: Someone else we ran into while we were up here- She's up here, of course, covering the problems of her state, someone we haven't heard from in a while, it's Senator Hillary Clinton. Americans have woken up to some reeling economic news. Is this the 3:00 in the morning call now? Is this it?
ABC GRAPHIC: Hillary Clinton on Financial Crisis: Will Dems Plan Help Economy?
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: It sure is a crisis. And I think it's the kind of crisis that demands the full attention of the president, the entire administration, the Congress. I called for such a summit gathering some months ago because I had seen this coming for two years. And I've been really distressed that we've allowed it to deteriorate. Because we face this crisis and the underlying problems are not yet addressed. And that is people losing their homes, the value of their home. Credit drying up. Businesses unable to borrow. Not hire. Not making new investments. I think, you know, Alan Greenspan said the other day, it was a once-in-a-century crisis. And that's pretty daunting.
SAWYER: Was the president right? Was the White House right not to bail out Lehman?
CLINTON: Well, we won't know that. I'd like to dial the clock back and say that the President and this administration have really been asleep. They haven't regulated. They haven't kept watch and monitored what has been going on in the markets and in the credit situation that our country faces. And what's really sad is it may be looking like it's a Wall Street crisis. But it's a Main Street crisis. It's an economic crisis that is rippling through the economy. I would reiterate calls that I have made for the last many, many months to put a moratorium on home foreclosures, to freeze interest rates. If we don't stabilize the home market, then, as serious as these bailouts are, they're not going to solve the problem. And I'm very concerned about how late to the game the Bush administration was. But we are where we are now. And we all need to do whatever we can in the Congress and in the private sector to try to avoid further deterioration.
SAWYER: Have to ask you a couple of political questions and get brought up to date here. A lot of people are saying, with this kind of economic news, this situation, Senator Obama and the Democrats should be further ahead. Why is it so close? And particularly those -- that 20-point swing among white women that we just saw in a recent ABC News poll. What did he do wrong and what does he have to do to get them?
CLINTON: Well, we have close elections. That is part of modern American politics. And I always thought this would be a close election. I believe with all my heart we're going to win this election. And I'm doing all I can to try to make the case after the eight years we've seen and the crisis after crisis, that we have watched under this president, and the Republican policies, we sure don't want to reward that. And we need new leadership. And we need the kind of changes that will work for America.
SAWYER: But, we're still seeing some 17 percent of your voters saying, that they're going to McCain. What does he have to do to get them?
CLINTON: Well, he's doing it. He's talking about the economy. He's talking about what's at stake in this election. I was in Ohio. I've been in Florida, and Nevada, and New Mexico and across the country, making the case that if you voted for me, you have so much more in common with Senator Obama, than you would with Senator McCain. In light of all the important issues- What people talk to me, when I'm shaking hands after I speak for Barack, is losing their job, having to take another job. Worried about their home value. Concerned about health care. That's what's on the minds of Americans who are struggling so hard. And they deserve leadership that will be on their side. And I think that's what Senators Obama and Biden offer.
SAWYER: Senator McCaskill, Senator Claire McCaskill said recently that she felt that it was a dangerous decision to pick Governor Palin, because of Senator McCain's age and because of his health. Do you agree?
CLINTON: You know, what I said, is we have to keep focused on the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats. This goes way beyond any one candidate. It's really about the future that we have to fight for. And I am doing all I can to keep focused on what matters in the lives of Americans. We have a better economic policy. You know, we had a difficult situation in 1993, when my husband became president. Democrats fixed it. We have all kinds of challenges. And if we don't look at the differences between what Senator McCain and Governor Palin offer, in terms of policies, and in my view, misplaced policies, compared to what we offer, then we're going to get diverted and we're not going to make the right decisions.
SAWYER: So, you're not going to endorse what she said?
CLINTON: You know, I think the point is not the vice presidential candidate on the other side, with all due respect. It's the presidential candidate. Senator McCain is not offering much of a change from what has already been the policies of the Republicans and of this administration.