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MSNBC Interview - Transcript


Location: Unknown

MS. CRAWLEY: Let's get straight to the co-chair of Senator Obama's campaign, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

Senator, pleasure to have you here. There is talk that Senator Obama has this bank of undeclared superdelegates on the sidelines just waiting to endorse. If that's the case, what would they gain by sitting silent at this stage?

SEN MCCASKILL: Well, I think a lot of that, frankly, were just rumors. There's an awful lot of parlor talk around Washington about these delegates. What is true is that in a wide margin, the superdelegates have been coming to Barack Obama, but that has been true since the first of February. It was even true in the rough weeks after Pennsylvania that the superdelegates were choosing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.

We are very close to even on superdelegates and we think within the next few days that we will pull even with Senator Clinton on superdelegates, and then we will have every category. We will be ahead of superdelegates, ahead of pledged delegates, ahead of states, ahead of popular vote and then, hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, we will unite and move forward to make sure we don't have another four years of George Bush.

MS. CRAWLEY: I hear the excitement in your voice, senator. And Terry McAuliffe seems to agree with you that sooner rather than later this will come to some sort of close.

Let's listen to Terry McAuliffe from this morning.

TERRY MCAULIFFE (Democratic Party Strategist): (From videotape.) It will be over in early June. I remind everybody that President Clinton didn't win the nomination until June of 1992. We all came together and had a historic win in 1992. We're going to do it again. We've all said we'll be together at the end. If Hillary doesn't win, Hillary, President Clinton and myself will be over there helping Senator Obama.

MS. CRAWLEY: You know the question now that a lot of people are asking is, what is the end game for Senator Clinton going forward? What is the strategy? What is the math that they're looking at?

You said yesterday it would be, quote, "inappropriate and awkward and wrong for anyone to suggest that Clinton should give up." You said that you're confident that she's going to do the right thing for the Democratic nominee and that the Obama campaign has tremendous respect for Senator Clinton and her campaign. But still in spite of that respect, it seems that the campaign strategy now is to sort of ignore Senator Clinton and focus on John McCain. Is that accurate?

SEN. MCCASKILL: Well, I think there is a certain anxiousness to turn America's attention to a candidate for president who wants to continue an economic policy that has left all but the very wealthy behind and a foreign policy that has not made us safer and has not enhanced our alliances across the globe.

And so, yes, we're kind of anxious to get to that, but on the other hand, we do have sincere respect for Senator Clinton and this is her decision. She must decide what is right for her and for her campaign. She's a tough campaigner. She will win West Virginia. She will win Kentucky. And we just hope that sooner rather than later, we can all hold hands and move forward together because we all are confident that's going to happen.

MS. CRAWLEY: Senator, Hillary Clinton brought up gender no surprise last night; this was a generations of women fundraiser she was attending. She said it was the female vote that has helped her come back. And so I guess my question to you now is that they're looking at a lot of the exit polling this week, there are some concerns still about how Obama will reach certain key voting blocs that Senator Clinton has done very well with, including white women. And so I guess if we separate you from your political standing, I assume they must be coming to you and saying, senator, how do we do this? How do we attract the white women?

SEN. MCCASKILL: I think we can do that. I think what has been left out of this conversation is the fact that Barack Obama did better with white women in Indiana than he did either in Pennsylvania or Ohio, and I know that this group of women -- so many of them want badly to see a woman president; I do, too, frankly. But at this moment in history --

MS. CRAWLEY: You said even that this was gut-wrenching, this decision for you --

SEN. MCCASKILL: It was gut wrenching. Absolutely gut wrenching. But at this moment in history, this is the man that can lead and inspire us to involve a whole new generation of voters, and I know that the women are going to want very much a candidate that is going to reject Bush's policies, reject the kind of nominees that Bush has put on the Supreme Court and do the things that we need to do to help women get through the month and have the bills come out even at the end, especially those single moms that are out there struggling.

MS. CRAWLEY: Senator, any chance we'll see you on the Obama ticket?

SEN. MCCASKILL: No, he's too smart for that. He's way too smart for that.

MS. CRAWLEY: Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. We appreciate your time. Thank you.

SEN. MCCASKILL: Thank you.

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