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MSNBC "Decision 08" - Transcript

Interview

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MR. OLBERMANN: Senator John Kerry was, of course, the Democratic nominee four years ago. This year he has stated his support publicly and vociferously for Barack Obama for president. The senator joins us now from Washington.

Good to talk to you again, sir.

SEN. OBAMA: Glad to be with you, Keith.

MR. OLBERMANN: Let me read you a quote from Senator Clinton in Toledo yesterday that was a variation of something she said first in Austin, Texas on Saturday. The senator said, quote, "I think that I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002."

SEN. KERRY: (Laughs.)

MR. OLBERMANN: Without discussing the merits of that, did that surprise you? I didn't see an awful lot of coverage of that. And it seemed to me that that kind of works against Senator Obama perhaps in the short run. But did Senator Clinton not say something that works against Senator Clinton in the event she's in the general election?

SEN. KERRY: Well, more than that, I think that it just works against her right now, because it is such an inappropriate and completely untrue statement to make about Barack Obama. Obviously Barack Obama has a lifetime of experience, and his lifetime of experience goes all the way back to Harvard Law School to the Harvard Law Review to the streets of Chicago to teaching law to being a partner in a law firm to being a state senator.

In fact, Barack Obama has been a legislator longer than Hillary Clinton. He has more legislative experience than Hillary Clinton. He has more foreign policy experience now than either Ronald Reagan or George Bush had before they became president. In fact, he has more foreign policy experience than Bill Clinton did before he became president. So it's, on its face, a kind of insulting and ridiculous comment which doesn't serve her well, I think, in the long run.

MR. OLBERMANN: Do you --

MR. MATTHEWS: Senator Kerry -- I'm sorry.

MR. OLBERMANN: Do you think that, as the Clinton campaign has already offered tonight as a postulation of what's happened in the last week, that Senator Obama has taken a series of hits in the last week's time?

SEN. KERRY: Well, they've thrown a lot at him, obviously. But what's interesting to me is you guys were talking about the metrics a moment ago. Look, the question ought to be appropriately asked -- I say this to Mr. Gregory -- you know, why are they not voting for her overwhelmingly? Everybody knows her. She's been around. Why are they not voting as they were 20 points ahead a few weeks ago?

The story here is that this candidate, Barack Obama, is building an unbelievable coalition across the country. And indeed, he may not win in California or New York or wherever it is, but he took 42 percent or so of the vote out of New York, her backyard. It's rather extraordinary that he won more delegates in his home state against her than she was able to win in her home state against him. I think that tells you an enormous story.

And when you add that to the fact that it's obviously a razor- thin margin in these states tonight, the bottom line is, as it always has been, as the Clinton campaign itself said it was a little while ago, about delegates. If it's about delegates and it's a razor-margin thin -- it doesn't really matter who won what tonight -- I'll bet you he wins more delegates as a margin in Vermont than she wins if she wins Ohio or Texas. That's the story tonight, that mathematically it's very difficult for her to win the nomination if these races are very close tonight.

MR. OLBERMANN: Senator John Kerry of the Obama camp this time around. Thank you again, Senator.

SEN. KERRY: Thank you.


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