Clinton vows to continue campaign

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The Real News Network Senior Editor Paul Jay and political analyst Eric Margolis discuss Senator Clinton’s determination to continue the protracted battle of the race for the democratic nomination. Eric Margolis makes several notable points: Hillary Clinton’s determination to take the party down to the bitter end, Obama’s recent political battles strengthening him and preparing him for the Republican attack machine, and that the Clintons are reliable allies of the neocon right.

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Story Transcript

VOICE OF ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: US Senator Barack Obama scored a decisive victory over Senator Hillary Clinton in the North Carolina Democratic primary with a win of 56 percent to 42 percent. The primary in Indiana saw Senator Clinton squeak out a victory of 51 to 49. With critics calling her future prospects slim, Clinton vowed that she would not give up.

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SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (D): Tonight we’ve come from behind, we’ve broken the tide, and thanks to you it’s full speed on to the White House.

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Real News Network senior editor Paul Jay spoke to political analyst Eric Margolis.

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE REAL NEWS NETWORK: We’re joined now by Eric Margolis, a seasoned foreign correspondent, a former lifelong Republican, except he’s not anymore, because he got very disillusioned with President Bush, has never been a big fan of the Democratic Party, and is maybe as close as we can get to a neutral observer. And he’s also just returned from Europe. So Eric also brings us a perspective from the rest of the world. Eric, the Clintons seem determined to take this to the bitter end, even if it means the destruction of the Democratic Party along the way. Romney fell on his sword very quickly for the sake of the party and for the sake of his political position. The Clintons don’t seem to have any interest in that.

ERIC MARGOLIS, ANALYST, THE REAL NEWS NETWORK: No. If I can mix languages, no noblesse oblige, lots of Götterdämmerung. They seem to want to take the party down with them to the bitter end, unless up their sleeves somewhere, the Clintons, who are always crafty, are going to try and make some last-minute deal with the party to drop their challenge in exchange for something.

JAY: One of their chief strategists was talking about "We don’t want an October surprise," the sort of veiled threat that some filthy information’s going to come out about Obama that’s will sink the Democratic Party. But certainly with the Clintons’ experience and resources, if it was there to be found, they certainly would have found it by now, one would think.

MARGOLIS: Oh, I think so. And, you know, in a way, Obama having to go through the Clinton meat grinder is beneficial for him in a way, because it’s putting him into fight training for when he goes up against the Republican attack machine, which is going to be even stronger and more vicious and more underhanded than the Clinton attack machine.

JAY: The personal ambition of the Clintons must be a powerful factor here, but I wonder if there’s another factor. Several months ago a critical vote took place on something called the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, where the amendment in Congress, in the Senate, was to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as terrorist. Most of the leading Democrats opposed it; Senator Clinton supported it. Kyl-Lieberman are the co-chairs of something called the Committee on the Present Danger, which is the new formation of the hard-right neocons. Hillary Clinton sent a signal that "I can work with you guys." Obama sent quite the opposite signal. He said, "We can talk to the Iranians." The Committee on the President Danger is for regime change in Iran. Is there something going on here, that the Clintons represent, more or less, foreign policy status quo? And Obama’s at the very least an unknown factor, and perhaps an uncontrollable factor in terms of the foreign policy establishment in both parties that’s been running US foreign policy. And is that part why, perhaps, the Clintons aren’t giving up here?

MARGOLIS: Well, that’s an important factor, Paul. The Clintons are very well known. They’re considered in the camp of very strongly pro-Israel. You saw Hillary Clinton threaten to blow Iran off the map with nuclear weapons recently—certainly an overkill of lines. But she and Bill Clinton are considered reliably allies of the neocon right. Obama’s been trying to make the right words to please them, but deep down there’s great concern amongst Israel’s right-wing parties and its supporters in the United States that Obama is not to be relied upon, or at least he’s not as determined as the Clintons are, and that he’s kind of iffy and fishy. When the chips are down, he may not bring out the nuclear weapons. So there’s a lot of pressure to support Hillary Clinton.

JAY: You just returned from Europe, and you’ve been traveling the world the last weeks. What’s the view outside of what this race is coming down to?

MARGOLIS: Well, there’s a kind of not-very-restrained euphoria right around the world over Barack Obama. You know, the French media is calling him—and I thought this was very interesting—the Black Jack Kennedy.

JAY: Of course, Jack Kennedy gave us the Vietnam War, so I’m not exactly sure why there should be such euphoria.

MARGOLIS: Well, being French, they’re talking more style than substance. But in fact he has the charisma and the promise and the hope. Yeah, I was around when Kennedy was president. He wasn’t a very good president at all. But for excitement, certainly Obama has ignited the interest in Europe. But he’s also seen as the human and friendly face of the United States that so many non-Americans have longed for, haven’t seen for a long time. He’s the non-Bush, he’s the non-Cheney, and he’s a man who speaks in sensible statements about multilateralism, who wants to end these wars, who says there’s no reason for it, and is not regarded as a warmonger abroad, which the current administration certainly are.

JAY: He seems, at least in words, rational, which is sort of a change.

MARGOLIS: I hear the words rational and civilized, and even from Americans in Europe, somebody we can be proud of again. At least an American said to me—he was a major network correspondent—"At least I can be proud to call myself an American again."

JAY: Well, in part 2 of our interview, we will discuss just what does Barack Obama plan for this world of ours. And please join us for part 2 of our interview with Eric Margolis.

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Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.