Sweet Dem Gay forum special. Transcript Richardson, Clinton.

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HOLLYWOOD—Partial transcript of last portion of gay-lesbian-transgender-bisexual Democratic forum.

Our next candidate, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, has

served as secretary of Energy, ambassador to the United Nations and is

a congressman representing the 3rd District of New Mexico.

Welcome, Governor Richardson. (Applause.)

MS. CARLSON: Two times in a week.

Governor Richardson, welcome. It’s great to have you with us.

GOV. RICHARDSON: Thank you. Nice to be here.

MS. CARLSON: Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post has some

questions for you.

MR. CAPEHART: Yes, Governor, thank you for being here.

In response to a question on same sex marriage at the CNN YouTube

debate, you said you would focus less on marriage and more on what’s,

quote, “achievable” in terms of rights and responsibilities for same

sex couples. When will same sex marriage be achievable, and what will

you do to foster an environment where it would become achievable?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Here’s my view. The nation, I believe, is on a

path to full inclusion. A president must lead that effort.

In my judgment, what is achievable is civil unions with full

marriage rights, with domestic partnership. I believe that’s

achievable.

What we also need to do is redress some of the gross imbalances

of the past. If I’m elected president, I would get rid of “Don’t ask,

don’t tell.” I didn’t vote for it when I was in Congress.

When you have an America that is asking men and women to fight

and die, the last thing you need to do is give them a lecture on

sexual orientation. (Applause.)

Secondly, I would repeal another horrendous initiative that I

voted for and I regret now: DOMA. That would preclude a number of

the full partnership rights that I want to see with civil unions.

And third — and there’s another one that hasn’t been focused on

today — and that’s No Child Left Behind. That has initiatives in it

that hurt diversity education.

That is achievable. Hate crimes laws are achievable. But we

have to bring the country to a position where there is public support.

All my life — as a governor, as a congressman, as the U.N.

ambassador, as the secretary of Energy — I’m known for getting things

done. And I’d like to get into that in some of the questions.

MR. CAPEHART: Governor, what was it about the time — I believe

it was 1996 when DOMA was passed — what was it about that time that

made it possible for you to actually vote for it?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I was the chief deputy whip of the

Democrats at the time.

President Clinton was president. And at that time, the objective in

passing DOMA was to fight a huge assault for a constitutional

amendment in the Congress to ban marriage. It was sort of a cheap

political way to decimate a bad initiative.

Now on “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I reached the point, even though

I was the deputy whip, that I voted against that, because it made no

sense to me. So my point is that we need to bring the country along.

You need to build public support.

You know, I like all these speeches here about how we’re going to

do this or that. But what makes sense is to have a president that on

— not only knows how to lead but how to get things done. And we need

a president too that recognizes that the country is moving in a

journey or a path of more inclusion. States are moving a lot faster.

And a president not only has to guide that but has to lead.

MR. CAPEHART: Governor, as a guest on the Don Imus show, Imus in

the Morning, in March 2006, you were asked by Imus in a gag on a

staffer if that staffer were a, quote, “maricon,” which as you know is

Spanish for faggot. In your response, you repeated the epithet. But

you’ve since apologized and now you question — I’ve seen you question

the timing of this issue coming up.

Do you not believe that you should be held responsible, held

accountable, for using that word, repeating that word?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Sure, you know, and I’m Hispanic. I felt the

sting as a kid of being stereotyped. And I apologized but I meant no

harm when I said that. It was, you know, one of those exchanges that

I was caught off guard.

No, I am not backing off. I apologize, but I think you should

look at my actions and not words.

Let me tell you what I’ve done as governor. All of these issues that

we’ve talked about today, Bill Richardson as governor has done.

Number one, I passed a hate crimes act that was based on non-

discrimination, on partnership, on — I was the first governor to

include transgender. Number two — (applause) — I also passed

partnerships, domestic partnerships avoiding discrimination. I pushed

that and got it done. I’m the only governor that called a special

session to expand domestic partnership. We didn’t get it done in the

last session in New Mexico; we will get it done in this next one.

I’ve appointed Cabinet members that are gay and lesbians. All through

my administration I have been inclusing — inclusive of the

lesbian/gay community.

So, you know, you can talk about what mistakes people have made.

I’ve made plenty. And I’ve probably said things that I regret across

the board. But we should look at what we’ve done. It’s not just the

speeches and the 10-point plans, but what we’ve done. And as a

governor, as a congressman 15 years on gay issues, I was there.

I was there at the United Nations, too. You know, we should talk

about human rights around the world, the Iraqis that are being

discriminated and targeted today. We should talk about international

issues relating to HIV and AIDS. I was there. I have fully funded in

my state HIV, AIDS initiatives across the board.

I think — so, you know, when you ask me a question like that —

which I accept, obviously — you should look at my record. Action

speaks louder than words.

MS. CARLSON: Yeah. Governor, I think everyone gets one mistake

on Imus. (Laughter.) (Applause.) Since I myself made one.

Before I go to Joe, I wanted to — you’re said you’re calling a

special session for domestic partnerships in —

GOV. RICHARDSON: No. I did.

MS. CARLSON: Oh, you did. And how did it go?

GOV. RICHARDSON: It didn’t pass.

MS. CARLSON: Yeah. Why did —

GOV. RICHARDSON: We lost by one vote.

MS. CARLSON: So I now know the answer to my question of why you

didn’t call a special session for same sex marriage because you can’t

get domestic partnership through.

GOV. RICHARDSON: No. Here’s another thing that I did, all

right? How many states don’t have DOMA? There are six; New Mexico is

one. I kept it off, I fought it. So I’ve done it, too — DOMA. It

isn’t in New Mexico, it isn’t in five other states, it’s in the rest

of the country. I kept it off. I kept it off. We killed it, so

shouldn’t that count for something? (Laughter, applause.)

MS. CARLSON: Indeed. We’re going to count it, okay?

GOV. RICHARDSON: All right.

MS. CARLSON: Joe — Joe’s going to count it.

MR. SOLOMONESE: That certainly does count, and you were such a

champion on attempting to get domestic partnership done in New Mexico.

But following up on the point that you made about the states

moving in the right direction and the will of the people needing to be

there, if the New Mexico legislature handed you a marriage bill, would

you sign it?

GOV. RICHARDSON: (Short pause.) The New Mexico legislature, I

am pushing it very hard to expand domestic partnership. It’s the same

thing, Joe. It’s a question of going through a path that is

achievable.

Now, you know, I’ll give the most flowery speeches like several

that have done here. I am in this business to get things done, to

lead, to pass legislation, to bring coalitions together, to bring the

country together.

MR. SOLOMONESE: And you have been a hero on a number of issues.

I think what we’re trying to get a sense of here is, when you say

the country needs to come along, we need to move people and it’s

happening in the states, then if it’s happening in a state and the

legislature hands you that piece of legislation, in your heart, where

are you on that issue in that sort of a circumstance?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, you know, in my heart, I’m doing what is

achievable. And I’m not there yet. And the country isn’t there yet.

New Mexico isn’t there yet. We have to bring the country on. We have

to move in the direction of making this happen.

That doesn’t mean that I’m closed on this issue. It means that

you do what is achievable.

MR. SOLMONESE: I want to get to one of the other issues that you

mentioned. Under our current immigration laws, one spouse can sponsor

another to become a U.S. resident. Same-sex couples are not covered

by this law. What would you do to help binational couples, couples

who are playing by the rules, gay and lesbian couples who are playing

by the rules, but whose families are being torn apart by the current

immigration system?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I believe that when you have expansion of

domestic partnership, of civil unions, it should be to all people,

regardless of where you are — overseas, underseas, anywhere.

MR. SOLMONESE: (Chuckles.)

GOV. RICHARDSON: So there’s a bill in Congress, which I have

already said I would support, to include — because it’s currently in

the immigration issue — I know of friends of mine that have partners

in Mexico, that — when I signed in New Mexico an executive order

expanding domestic partnership, one of my constituents has a partner

in Mexico, and my own constituent, because of the immigration law, and

his partner cannot come together. I think that’s wrong. I think

that’s discrimination.

MS. CARLSON: Thank you, Governor.

Melissa?

MS. ETHERIDGE: Thank you.

Do you think homosexuality is a choice, or is it biological?

GOV. RICHARDSON: It’s a choice. It’s —

MS. ETHERIDGE: I don’t know if you understand the question.

(Soft laughter.) Do you think I — a homosexual is born that way, or

do you think that around seventh grade we go, “Ooh, I want to be gay”?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I — I’m not a scientist. It’s — you

know, I don’t see this as an issue of science or definition.

I see gays and lesbians as people as a matter of human decency. I see

it as a matter of love and companionship and people loving each other.

You know I don’t like to categorize people. I don’t like to, like,

answer definitions like that that, you know, perhaps are grounded in

science or something else that I don’t understand.

MS. ETHERIDGE: Well, it’s hard when you are a citizen of a

country that tells you that you are making a choice when you were born

that way, and your Creator made you that way. And there’s a document

that was written 200 years ago that says you are entitled to certain

rights that you are not given.

How can there be anything other than absolute equal rights for

homosexuals?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, that’s — that’s always been my view, as

I said. As a Hispanic, I grew up with people thinking because of my

darker skin and my — you know, I didn’t — I wasn’t fully speaking

English at a time, that I was not equal. So I understand that issue

of inequality, and so across the board I’ve always felt that every

human being desires the same rights, desires the same niche in our

society. And you know, I’ve — all my life I’ve striven very hard to

deal with the civil rights issue, on immigration issues affecting

families. I’ve always held these ideals very high, and my record

speaks for it.

MS. ETHERIDGE: I’ve lived in your state. I’ve lived in Santa

Fe, beautiful, beautiful place. How’s the bark beetle infestation

going? (Laughter.)

GOV. RICHARDSON: It’s still a problem.

MS. ETHERIDGE: Yeah.

GOV. RICHARDSON: They’re still a problem.

MS. ETHERIDGE: That’s — environmentally, I hope you can do

something.

MS. CARLSON: Governor Richardson, can I interrupt the bark

beetle? (Laughter.)

I wanted to ask you, people who are opposed to equality for gays

and lesbians say it’s a lifestyle choice and that it can be cured or

changed, and it’s just chosen, it’s not how you’re born.

So therefore you don’t get equal rights because, you know, you’re just

choosing to be a certain way.

What do you say to those people that would take away rights

because it’s just like, you know, choosing anything else and you can

choose back if you want? Why should it be a civil right?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I don’t think it’s a matter of

preferences. It’s a matter of equality. I would say that, you know,

gays and lesbians — I’ve seen some of those — I’ve gotten a lot of

letters, because I’ve been very outspoken on this issue, that gays and

lesbians are seeking special preferences. I don’t believe that’s the

case.

I think it’s a matter of full equality. And this is why in my

public life, I not only have spoken about these issues, I’ve done it.

That’s the point that I’m trying to convey, that I have issues

relating to domestic partners, issues relating to hate crimes, issues

relating to signing executive orders to protect all state employees,

issues relating to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I will strive to move

this country in the direction of full equality for everybody.

MS. CARLSON: Thank you, Governor. We’re just about out of time.

Would you like to make a closing statement? If you want to address

the bark beetle, you may. (Laughter.)

GOV. RICHARDSON: Before I do that, I want to just say to

Melissa, I admire your efforts on behalf of fighting your fight

against breast cancer. I loved your movie, “Inconvenient Truth,” the

Oscar you got.

MS. ETHERIDGE: My movie? (Laughter.) Thank you.

GOV. RICHARDSON: Just tell Al Gore not to run, please.

(Laughter.) I’m moving up. I’m moving up. I don’t —

MS. ETHERIDGE: You’re moving up. You’re getting there. All

right. He says it’s too soul-sucking. He won’t do it again. So —

(laughs).

GOV. RICHARDSON: I want to lead this country because I believe I

have the most experience and because I represent change. I also

believe I’m electable.

Now I notice how a lot of these candidates have talked about all

the things that they want to do and where they stand.

I want you to look at my record as a governor, as a congressman, and

see what I have done. The full range of issues that have been

discussed here, I’ve delivered on as a governor. And I would do the

same as president.

The issue is, how can we bring this country together to achieve

the goals of full equality? And the best barometer of that is your

record, not your speeches. The best barometer of that is who has

delivered, not your 10-point plans.

And with that closing, I ask for the support of the many people

here that support in this country full equality. (Applause.)

MS. CARLSON: Thank you, Governor. Thanks.

GOV. RICHARDSON: All right.

MS. CARLSON: Last and not least, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

She was the first lady of Arkansas and later first lady of the United

States. She was elected to her first term as a senator from New York

in 2000 and re-elected last year.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Cheers, applause.)

Senator Clinton, welcome.

SEN. CLINTON: Thank you.

MS. CARLSON: I don’t know if Senator Edwards is still here, but

from the last debate, let me go on the record. I like the coral

jacket. (Laughter.)

SEN. CLINTON: Thank you. (Laughs.)

MS. CARLSON: Joe is our first questioner for you, Senator.

Joe?

MR. SOLMONESE: Senator, thank you for being here tonight.

You’ve said in past settings like this and all across the country

that you would like to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Now, since

2003, you’ve sat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the committee

that would decide this issue. Why haven’t you introduced legislation

to repeal this policy?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, Joe, first, thanks for doing this and thanks

for everybody being here and having this forum.

I think the very simple answer is we didn’t have a chance with

the Republican Congress and George Bush as president. And I want to

get it done when I’m president. I want to do it and have it be

successful. I don’t want to try, in a Republican Congress, with a

very negative president, and have it defeated.

We’re talking, now that we have a Democratic Congress, about what

steps we can take to sort of lay the groundwork so that when we do

have a change in the White House, which can’t happen too soon, to suit

me — (cheers, applause) — we will — we will be able to move on

that.

But I just want to sort of put it into a broader context, because

it’s one of my highest priorities. I came out against don’t ask/don’t

tell in 1999. It was a transitional action that was taken back at the

beginning of my husband’s administration because at the time, there

was such a witch hunt going on.

And we’ve got some veterans over here. I saw Staff Sergeant Eric

Alva, who I have met before at HRC — (cheers, applause) — and I was

so glad to see him when I walked in. And you know, for people who

don’t know Staff Sergeant Alva’s history, he was the first Marine

wounded in Iraq, recipient of a purple heart.

And 15 years ago, he could have both been refused the opportunity

to serve, but if he had gotten into the military, under the rules that

existed at the time and the attitudes that were prevalent, he could

have been court-martialed or even accused and threatened with criminal

action if he didn’t reveal names of those with whom he might have had

relationships who were serving in the military.

I think — you know, we have moved a long way on this and other

issues, but I think it’s important to recall how much of an advance

don’t ask/don’t tell was at the time. However, it was not implemented

appropriately. It was still used to discharge a lot of patriotic men

and women who were serving our country, often at great cost, in the

middle of a war where people were being told, “We don’t need your

services anymore,” including, you know, linguists and translators and

other specialty services.

But in 1999, you know, it just struck me that it wasn’t working

and that what we need to do was to try to move us toward using the

Code of Military Justice and judge people on conduct, not status. No

matter whether you’re, you know, gay or straight, that’s the way it

should be, it should be even-handed across the entire services.

We’re beginning to see some changes.

I remember very well the intense debates about this back in ’93, and

honestly, it was so emotional in the military and in the Congress that

— the Congress did pass a law, so we have to get the law repealed.

But now it’s beginning to change. Former Joint Chiefs of Staff

Chairman General Shalikashvili has just come out in favor of a change.

I’ve noticed General Powell, who was adamantly against my husband’s

efforts back in ’93, has begun to say, you know, maybe we should

rethink this. So I think we will lay the groundwork, but then when

I’m president, we’ll get it done, and I’m looking forward to doing

that. (Applause.)

MS. CARLSON: Thank you —

MR. SOLMONESE: Changing tracks, talk to us about what is at the

heart of your opposition to same-sex marriage?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, Joe, I prefer to think of it as being very

positive about civil unions. (Laughter.) You know, it’s a personal

position, and you and I have talked about it. I’ve talked about it

with a number of my friends here and across the country. And, you

know, for me, we have made it very clear in our country that we

believe in equality. How we get to full equality is the debate we’re

having, and I am absolutely in favor of civil unions with full

equality — full equality of — of benefits, rights, and privileges.

And I’ve also been a very strong supporter of letting the states

maintain their jurisdiction over marriage, and I believe that was the

right decision, for a lot of reasons. Because it’s easy, again, to

forget that just two and a half years ago we were facing all of these

referenda that were enshrining discrimination in state constitutions.

And a lot of people tried very hard to fight against them and prevent

them from being passed, but unfortunately, they were.

Now, two and a half years later, we’re beginning to see other

states take different approaches. And what we were able to do — and

I really give HRC a lot of credit for your leadership on this — in

stopping the federal marriage amendment gave the states the breathing

room to make different decisions. So I want to proceed with

equalizing federal benefits. I want to repeal Section 3 of DOMA,

which stands in the way of the extension of benefits to people in

committed, same-sex relationships, and, you know, I will be very

strongly in favor of doing that as president.

MR. SOLMONESE: I wonder, Senator, if you can sympathize with the

frustration of this argument that it’s a states’ rights issue; it’s a

— in the civil rights struggle, this argument that it was a states’

rights issue was something that was typically used against people

working against us, as sort of a red herring. And so can you see

where this argument as –marriage as a states’ rights issue would

resonate the same way in our community?

SEN. CLINTON: Absolutely. And you know, Joe, not only that; I

really respect the advocacy that the community is waging on behalf of

marriage. I think you’re doing exactly what you need to do and should

do. And I really am very much impressed by the — you know, the

intensity and the persistence of that advocacy.

But this has not been a long-term struggle yet, and I think it’s

really clear that, you know, people in the states are moving much more

rapidly to deal with the inequalities than you would find at the

federal level. When you and I were plotting strategy to beat the

Federal Marriage Amendment, the reason we were plotting strategy is,

we were worried it was going to pass.

And you know, again, I mean, this was a terrifying prospect, that

we would have enshrined in the Constitution, for the first time ever,

discrimination. And we were, you know, very clear about what we

needed to do to get the votes in order to prevent this mean-spirited,

divisive effort, led by Karl Rove, to politicize the hopes and dreams

of, you know, so many of our fellow Americans. And we were able to

defeat it.

But I don’t know that we could have defeated it if we had not had

DOMA.

I mean, that is something that, you know, has provided a great

protection against what was clearly the Republican strategy, lest by

George Bush, led by the congressional Republicans, to just cynically

use marriage as a political tool.

MS. CARLSON: Do you think that’s going to come up this time —

SEN. CLINTON: No.

MS. CARLSON: — when the Republicans are running? Is it dead as

an issue?

SEN. CLINTON: You know, Margaret, that’s what I am — you know,

I’m very — I’m very optimistic because I think that —

MS. CARLSON: I haven’t heard it yet.

SEN. CLINTON: I — I don’t hear it either, and I’m as — don’t

tell anybody, but I’m running for president — (laughter) — and so

I’m traveling around the country a lot —

MS. CARLSON: “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” (Light laughter.)

SEN. CLINTON: Yeah, that’s right. And I — you know, I don’t

hear it, I don’t feel it, I don’t see it; even with the Republicans

with their various forms, you don’t get the sense. Why? Because a

lot of people who were in favor of that constitutional amendment knew

better. That was a strictly cynical political ploy on their part, and

they were successful, unfortunately, in a lot of states. But I think

that now people are starting to say, well, you know, maybe we don’t

want to do that, and because the Democratic Congress won’t bring up

the amendment, there’s really nothing for them to be rallying around.

MS. CARLSON: Thank you, Senator.

Melissa?

MS. ETHERIDGE: Senator, I have a personal issue here. I

remember when your husband was elected president. I actually came out

public — publicly during his inaugural week. It was a very hopeful

time for the gay community. For the first time, we were being

recognized as American citizens. It was wonderful. We were very,

very hopeful, and in the years that followed, our hearts were broken.

We were thrown under the bus. We were pushed aside. All those great

promises that were made to us were broken.

And I understand politics. I understand how hard things are, to bring

about change. But it is many years later now, and what are you going

to do to be different than that? I know you’re sitting here now; it’s

a year out — more than a year. A year from now, are we going to be

left behind like we were before?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, you know, obviously, Melissa, I don’t see it

quite the way that you describe, but I respect your feeling about it.

You know, from the moment that Bob Hattoy spoke at the Democratic

Convention, through the appointments that were made both to positions

in Cabinet agencies as well as in the White House, to the ongoing

struggle against Gingrich and the Republican majority, I think that we

certainly didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but I believe

that there was a lot of honest effort going on by the president, the

vice president and the rest of us who were trying to keep the momentum

going.

You know, I remember when I was running for the Senate as first

lady marching in the gay pride parade in New York City, and to a lot

of people that was just, you know, an unbelievable act, you know, and

MS. ETHERIDGE: Why not be the leader now?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, I think — I think I am a — I think I am a

leader now. And I think that we are doing a lot to not only talk

about laws, as important as they are, but to really try to change

attitudes and persuade people that they should be more open, more

respectful, more accepting.

If I were sitting where you’re sitting, with all you have gone

through in the last 14 years, I’m sure I would feel exactly the same

way because, you know, not only did you bravely come out, but you’ve

had health challenges and so much else.

And so time can’t go by slowly. You want things to move as quickly as

possible, which I, you know, understand and wish could happen as well.

But as president, I think I have an opportunity both to reverse

the concerted assault on people. It wasn’t just on people’s rights;

it was on people. It was pointing fingers; it was demeaning; it was

degrading; it was mean-spirited. And that will end. That is going to

be — that is over. And when we began to — (applause).

MS. CARLSON: Senator, we’re almost out of time, believe it or

not.

SEN. CLINTON: Oh, I can’t believe it.

MS. ETHERIDGE: I know.

MS. CARLSON: Time flies when you’re having a good time, but

Jonathan — (cross talk, laughter). To be continued, Melissa.

Jonathan.

MR. CAPEHART: Real fast, Senator, Joint Chiefs Chairman —

former Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace called homosexuality immoral.

And when you were first asked about it, you said, quote, “I’m going to

leave that to others to conclude.” The next day, after much

criticism, you finally said you did not think that homosexuality was

immoral. Why didn’t you say that the first time?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, it was a mistake, Jonathan. Because what I

went on to say after what you quoted was to launch an attack on “don’t

ask, don’t tell.” You know, because my view was that as a chairman of

the Joint Chiefs, he had absolutely no right to say what he said. I

disagreed with him profoundly.

But what was really offensive is that he was in a position of

responsibility that had a direct impact on the lives of, you know,

hundreds of thousands of these young people in the military. So I

went right at him on “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And I, you know — you

know, you say these things. You know, somebody sticks a microphone in

front of you. And I thought, well, that’s — you know, that was

pretty good. And my friends started calling me and saying, well, you

know, that wasn’t very good. (Laughter.)

So I said, you know, “Oh, you’re probably right.” So I immediately

got the first opportunity I could to, you know, say the whole thing.

So I just was — I was focused on one aspect of what I thought

was really over the line. You know, Joe Blow, Joe Schmo walking down

the street can say, “Here’s what I believe.” You say, “Oh, well, who

cares?” The chairman of the Joint Chiefs says it, that has a direct

impact on policy. And that’s what I went after. But I — I should

have put it in a broader context.

MR. CAPEHART: Senator, would you put someone —

MS. CARLSON: Senator, we — well, we are just about out of time,

Jonathan. I’m really sorry.

MR. CAPEHART (?): Who’s anti-gay?

MS. CARLSON: I’m sorry; what, Jonathan?

MR. CAPEHART: Would you put someone on the bench who is known to

be anti-gay?

SEN. CLINTON: No. And that’s why we shouldn’t. (Cheers,

applause).

MS. CARLSON: Senator —

SEN. CLINTON: It’s one of the reasons why I’m against Southwick

for — (inaudible word) — judge.

MS. CARLSON: Senator, you told the AFL-CIO on Tuesday night,

“I’m your girl.” Do you want to express those same sentiments here?

SEN. CLINTON: I AM your girl! Absolutely! (Laughter, cheers,

applause.)

MS. CARLSON: And you do get a closing statement, short though it

may be.

SEN. CLINTON: Well, you know, I want to be a president who

really does move forward the agenda of progress and equality in our

country. That’s what I have tried to do my entire life, you know, for

35 years. You know, this country, with all of its flaws, which we can

see manifest — it doesn’t move fast enough, it doesn’t do what we

want it to do — has demonstrated extraordinary resilience and a lot

of movement forward. And I think that we will see that as the years

unfold. And I want to be a part of that.

But I come to these issues, you know, not as a senator or as a

lawyer or as a presidential candidate, but as a friend of a lot of

members of the LGBT community who have, as my — who are my age, who

have suffered through a long period of, you know, coming out, of

having to face families, of having to deal with all of the issues that

we know occur.

And I want to be a president who can clearly say to the American

people, you know, these are our friends, our children, our parents;

these are people who we want to support as they live the best lives

they can.

So it’s very personal for me. And we are not going to agree on

everything, but I will be a president who will fight for you, will

work to end discrimination in the employment area, end “don’t ask,

don’t tell,” finally get hate crimes through, do a lot of what we need

to do on HIV/AIDS and so much more. And I really hope that we can be

partners in trying to make our country a little bit better and a

little more progressive for all of us.

Thank you. (Applause.)

MS. CARLSON: Senator, I wish we had more time. Thank you.

SEN. CLINTON: (Laughs.) Me too! Yeah, me too!

MS. CARLSON: That concludes our forum, but the campaign is only

heating up from now to Election Day 2008. Stay informed, follow the

campaign and join with LGBG Americans across the nation to debate the

issues at visiblevote08.com and at hrc.org.

On behalf of Logo and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, thank

you to our panelists: Jonathan Capehart, Melissa Etheridge and Joe

Solomonese. And thank you, Senator Clinton and here in Los Angeles

and at home, for joining us.

Right now, CBS News on Logo reports live from right here in this

studio with a post-forum wrap-up. Stick around for the interviews and

analysis.

Thank you and good night. (Applause.)

####

END

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