Discusses Possible Biden Run, Benghazi Incident, And Email Investigation


WASHINGTON (CBS News/CBSNewYork.com) – Hillary Clinton sat down for her first Sunday morning talk show appearance in years to talk about her 2016 campaign with John Dickerson on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

On Biden

Clinton said she and her team are not taking steps to prepare for a possible late entry into the Democratic presidential primary by Vice President Joe Biden.

“This is such a personal decision and the vice president has to sort this out,” Clinton said. “He’s been so open in talking about how difficult this time is for him and his family and he’s obviously considering what he wants to do including whether he wants to run.”

“I just have the greatest respect and affection for him and I think everybody just ought to give him the space to decide what’s best for his family,” she added.

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Biden met with political advisers Monday at his residence in Washington, D.C. as part of his ongoing conversation with family, friends and staff over whether to jump into the 2016 presidential race.

Over the last few days, some Democratic donors have also calls for the vice president to mount a challenge to Clinton.

In a letter circulated Friday signed by nearly 50 prominent party fundraisers, potential donors pledged their support for Biden, calling him “an authentic leader” who has had “spectacular success” with President Obama.

On Benghazi

Clinton spoke about the Benghazi incident and her upcoming testimony before Congress.

“Remember we had embassies that were under attack, or threatened to attack by terrorist groups across North Africa, indeed across a much larger swath of the world. So I think, you know, it was terribly tragic what happened. I immediately asked for an independent review, just like former secretaries of state did, and I made that public,” Clinton said. “So my view on this is that we have to learn things. And we’re always learning. We learned after Beirut, we learned after Tanzania and Kenya. We have learned after Benghazi. But we’re not going to be able to represent the United States working out of hermetically sealed tanks, we are going to have to be out in the world.”

On Her Personal Email Server

Clinton also discussed her use of a private server to handle her emails.

“I’ve said that I didn’t make the best choice. I should’ve used two separate email accounts: One personal, one work-related. What I did was allowed, it was fully above board, people in the government certainly knew that I was using a personal email. But I’ve tried to be transparent. And that includes releasing 55,000 pages – which is unprecedented, nobody else that I’m aware of has ever done that – plus turning over the server, plus testifying at the end of October. So, you know, I think people have questions, I want to try to answer them.”

“I’m sorry that I made a choice that has raised all these questions, because I don’t like reading people have questions about what I did and how I did it.  I’m proud of the work we did at the State Department,” Clinton said. “We did a lot of really important work. And I want that to be the focus of what people know about my tenure at the State Department.”

On Trump

Clinton was asked about a Donald Trump supporter who claimed at a Trump rally that President Barack Obama is Muslim, and Trump not correcting him.

“When you are at an event and says something like that in front of you then I do think you have a responsibility to respond. John McCain did,” Clinton said. “[Trump] is fueling a level of paranoia and prejudice against all kinds of people. And when you light those fires, you better recognize they can get out of control. And he should start dampening them down and putting them out.”

On ‘Obamacare’

Clinton says she’ll soon roll out a proposal for controlling the cost of prescription drugs, a key fix to President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

“We have a lot of positives. But there are issues that need to be addressed,” Clinton said. “I’m going to address them this week, starting with how we’re going to try to control the cost of skyrocketing prescription drugs. It’s something I hear about everywhere I go.”

It was the first time Clinton signaled she’ll address the subject since announcing her bid to become the nation’s first female president. She also suggested Sunday that the U.S. should increase the number of Syrian refugees it will accept from 10,000 to 65,000. She took a pledge to avoid negative campaign attacks against a key rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Any proposal on prescription drug costs could find a big audience.

Polls show the public remains split over Obama’s 2010 health care law, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court and survived dozens of congressional votes to repeal it. One survey in August suggested that Americans are more concerned with consumer issues.

The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found in August that 72 percent of respondents said the cost of prescription medications is unreasonable. Regardless of party affiliation, large majorities supported requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose how they set prices, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices on behalf of beneficiaries, limiting what drug companies can charge for some medications and allowing consumers to get prescriptions filled by pharmacies in Canada.

About half of Americans take prescription medication, and of those, a quarter said they have difficulty paying for their drugs, the Kaiser poll found.

The Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank that’s often in sync with the Obama administration, issued recommendations on Friday to curb drug costs, including consumer friendly ratings of new drugs and limits on what patients pay.

On Describing Herself

During one of the lighter moments of the interview, moderator John Dickerson asked her to describe herself using just three words.

“Just three? I can’t possibly do that. I mean, look, I am a real person,” Clinton said.