Political Capital with John Harwood

Hillary Clinton: My "Unshrouded" One On One With Her

I traveled to New Hampshire to interview Hillary Clinton today and almost was shrouded in the sort of invisibility cloak familiar to Harry Potter fans. Why? Because up until the last minute technical difficulties led us to believe that instead of two working cameras (one on her and one on me) we would only have one.

Such logistical crises are the stuff of TV life. But after frenetic scrambling by my colleague Joanne Fuchs, our camera crew and the operator of our satellite truck from Plymouth NH, the problem was solved at the last minute. My invisibility cloak was shed.

The interview with Sen Clinton--who as of this writing is more likely than any other person to become our next president--was valuable no matter what the technical outcome.

In our conversation she:

--Acknowledged that President Bush's tax cuts helped make the 2001-2002 recession shallower, but ascribed most of the credit (or blame) to the Keynesian stimulus of Bush era deficits

--Argued that Republican have vastly exaggerated the threat that tax increases on the affluent pose to the economy. Citing her husband's 1990s successes, she said her aim was restoring "balance".

--Insisted that HillaryCare would not hurt business in general, but said she DOES intend to force insurance companies to change by accepting anyone who can buy their coverage

--Continued her refusal to outline any specific steps to resolve the Social Security shortfall even though rivals like John Edwards and Fred Thompson have done so. She defended this stance by saying that Social Security is in less dire shape than Medicare, whose problems she has offered specific proposals to address.

--As is typical of politicians in both parties, was far more charming and gracious in person than her campaign persona sometimes suggests through the television screen.

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