Rodham Clinton says she's ''driven by my passions'' to
get things done and suggests her image as a calculating
politician comes from her pragmatic focus on results.
''It's a passion
that I carry with me every single day,'' Clinton said
Monday in an interview with the Associated Press. ''I also
know that I live in the real world and I have to
figure out how we're going to get these changes
The price she
pays for pragmatism is to sometimes be viewed as
calculating, the New York senator said.
''I see it as
harnessing my passion to actually get results and make a
difference in people's lives,'' she said. ''I care deeply,
but I also know I've got to build coalitions, I've got
to bring people together. That's what I've been doing
and that's what I will do.''
In the interview
in Dubuque, Iowa, she dismissed suggestions that
revelations her campaign had planted questions during
campaign stops in the state reinforced any image
''I think in
campaigns things happen and you just go on, and that's
certainly what I've done for 35 years and it's what I've
done for eight years in the White House and now seven
years in the Senate,'' said Clinton. She has indicated
she knew nothing about the planted questions, but some
of her rivals have cited the issue to argue she is less than
''People can look
at my record,'' said Clinton. ''My whole life, going
back 35 years has been driven by my passions for improving
the lives of children and families, making our country
fairer and more equal and creating opportunity for
forged a significant lead over her rivals for the Democratic
presidential nomination in national surveys, but polls show
the race much more competitive in Iowa where rivals
Barack Obama and John Edwards are criticizing her
Asked if she
could survive an early loss, Clinton said, ''I can survive
setbacks, I've survived a lot of setbacks in my life. I
don't see them as anything other than the natural ebb
and flow of life and politics.''
argue that it will be tough to stop Clinton should she
pull off a win in Iowa because her poll standings elsewhere
are solid and would be reinforced by a win against
tough competition in the leadoff caucus state.
''I don't have
any illusions that it's going to be smooth sailing, it
hardly ever is in life or politics,'' said Clinton. ''I'm
just getting up every day and doing the best I can and
trying to reach out to as many people as possible.''
argued that she's the Democrat best able to win in the
been tested, I've been through it,'' said Clinton. ''I have
no illusions about what the Republicans will do to keep the
has hardened and prepared her for a brutal national
campaign, she said.
''I think I have
been making a lot of progress in this election because
people are seeing me, they are getting a firsthand view of
who I am and what I care about and what I want to do
as president,'' she said.
Clinton said she
expects the nomination to be settled quickly, probably
within a month of Iowa's January 3 caucuses.
like I'm 50 points behind because I know how fast things
can turn, I understand the crosscurrents in any political
campaign,'' said Clinton. ''I started out so far
behind in Iowa.''
she's flattered to be in a field that includes a woman, a
black man and a Hispanic candidate, but that won't determine
going to vote for us because of who we are, they will
vote for us because what we'll do, what we've done and what
difference we can make,'' said Clinton.
Clinton spoke to
the AP after a speech to 250 delegates to a regional
convention of the United Auto Workers, during which she
sought to ease their worries about trade. A key
difference between labor and former President Clinton
was his pushing agreements like the North American Free
Trade Agreement, which union leaders argue ships jobs
overseas and forces American workers to compete with
low-wage workers abroad.
president we'll have a time-out to take stock of where we
are on trade,'' said Sen. Clinton, who last week
announced her support for a free trade agreement with
Peru, which President Bush also supports and the House
has approved. ''Every trade agreement has to be
independently, objectively analyzed.''
play a key role in Iowa's caucuses, and Clinton sought to
bolster her ties.
''I am going to
do everything I can to move toward smart trade,' said
Clinton. ''I don't want to be in a race to the bottom.''
A spokeswoman for
Democratic rival Sen. Chris Dodd noted Clinton's
support for the Peruvian trade deal.
''On Saturday, at
the Iowa Jefferson Jackson Dinner, Senator Clinton said
she stands now where she's always stood. Today she confirmed
it: on both sides of every issue,'' said Dodd aide
Colleen Flanagan. (Mike Glover, AP)