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CNBC Excerpt: CNBC's John Harwood Speaks with Joe Lieberman on Tonight's Debate and Hillary Clinton

WHEN: Today, Tuesday, October 13, 2015

WHERE: CNBC's "Squawk Box"

Following is an excerpt from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Joe Lieberman. Following is a link to the video of the clip on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000431616.

John Harwood spoke with Joe Lieberman for an upcoming episode of his CNBC Digital original video series- Speakeasy with John Harwood (http://www.cnbc.com/speakeasy).

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

Simon Hobbs: 2016 democratic presidential hopefuls will take the stage tonight in the first of six debates for the candidates. Our own Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood is already in Vegas live for what we can expect. I assume it's lots of moving to the left, John?

John Harwood: Well, we'll see. But, you know Simon, there's no better authority on debate strategy than somebody who has stood on that debate stage himself. So I sat down over the weekend with Joe Lieberman, the former democratic vice presidential candidate to talk about what he expects.

Joe Lieberman: I think it's going to be a really interesting debate. Secretary Clinton comes into this debate with her campaign not where she wanted it to be at this point. She has a strong challenge from the left, from Bernie Sanders. She's also got a couple of wild cards on the stage. And it's going to be interesting to see do they go after Hillary? Do they go after Bernie to try to cut him away? And what does Hillary do? The question has been should she go after Bernie Sanders? I would be surprised. I think she's going go after the Republicans. She is going to speak on behalf of the middle class. She is going to try to stay up. No reason for her to attack Bernie. And Bernie says that he won't attack her.

John Harwood: Do you not think that all these issues that have been inflamed by the e-mail controversy –trustworthiness, some secrecy and all that – you don't see those as huge impediments to her?

Joe Lieberman: It is going to be interesting in the debate on Tuesday night. I presume that Bernie Sanders won't bring up Bengahzi or e-mail. It will be interesting if Martin O'Malley or Jim Webb do or Lincoln Chafee. I would assume that Anderson Cooper, the moderator, would. So she's going to – I'm sure she is ready for it. When I ran for Vice President in 2000, I sort of inherited the Clinton/Gore approach to debates, which was really to focus. I worked probably five, six days to get ready. Hillary I think has been doing that here because she knows this is a signal moment, an important moment. Bernie, on the other hand, apparently doesn't like to prepare. And it is just who he is.

John Harwood: Is your baseline assumption that she is nominated and gets elected President?

Joe Lieberman: The Republicans have history on their side. Because after two terms of a President from one party, the other party tends to get their Presidential candidate elected. So I would say that one is a toss-up.

John Harwood: Now, the biggest takeaway from Joe Lieberman's comments, I think Simon, are she is going to stay up. I would expect her not go after her rivals. Not even to go that much – spend that much time going after Republicans, but to lay out her program, connect directly with voters, and tell them what she is going to do for them, how she's going to fight for them.


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