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'This Is A Big Deal': Sen. Amy Klobuchar On Hillary Clinton


In getting to this point, Hillary Clinton has relied on an army of surrogates including many high-profile women, from her daughter Chelsea to musician Katy Perry to our next guest, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who joins us on the line from Capitol Hill. Welcome.

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Well, thanks so much, Ari. It's great to be on.

SHAPIRO: You were the first woman elected to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate. What does this moment mean for you - having a woman as the presumptive presidential nominee of a major party for the first time?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, what this means to me and so many other women across the country is that anything and everything is possible. For me, one of my earliest memories of politics where I thought that I could do anything was when Walter Mondale of Minnesota picked Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. I literally remember what she wore - the red dress, the white pearls. And I saw that, and I thought anything is possible.

And today, when we know that the presumptive nominee is a woman for the first time in American history on a major ticket, this is a big deal beyond the Hillary Clinton campaign. This is - means something that I hope will generate more women running for office all across the country. If she can be president, then one girl can be mayor. And someone else can be a police chief, and someone else can be a U.S. senator.

SHAPIRO: Now, her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders says he will fight on until the Democratic convention. Do you think that has the potential to harm the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Party more broadly?

KLOBUCHAR: You know, Bernie, who I came in with to the Senate, and I have a lot of faith in him - he has made two pledges. He has said that he will support our nominee, and he also said that he doesn't want Donald Trump to be the president. And when you take him at his word, which I do, I think he will come to the right decision, and I think he'll do it at a time that will work. And we will be unified in the end.

And I think the most important thing rather than the time is the words he uses and how he motivates his own supporters. He's brought so many new people into the process so that they will also be supporting Secretary Clinton.

SHAPIRO: Do you think she has the potential to tap into the intense, powerful emotion that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have generated? Many people look at the Clinton campaign and say, she has, you know, performed as well as she needed to, but she has not created the ground surge of enthusiasm that other candidates in this race did.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think you're going to see that enthusiasm when it's one-on-one. She has historically been very, very good in debates, including with Senator Sanders. They both did a good job in debates, but I think everyone - I would say she more than held her own. She's done a very good job in pushing these issues out.

And you're right. Now the next step is generating that kind of emotion. And there's nothing that generates that emotion more than people listening to Donald Trump and having an effective leader who's willing to take him on and talk about her vision for the future versus his. That generates passion.

SHAPIRO: It sounds like you're saying the the way she generates emotion is generating negative emotion towards the other guy.

KLOBUCHAR: No, I think it's a combination. That's a very good point. I think it is getting the sympathy for her positions and getting the passion for them through examples and stories and actual families. It's just really hard to do that when you're in a primary debating minute points of policies and differenced which sometimes were minor that she had with Senator Sanders to - bridging that gap to appeal to the greater good of America with some of her policies. And I think she can do that.

SHAPIRO: Hillary Clinton's nomination is certainly historic for her gender. It is also historic in that I'm not aware of any recent presidential nominee of either party whose actions are being investigated by the FBI - of course referring to the email server that she used when she was secretary of state. Should that concern voters?

KLOBUCHAR: I think she's been very forthcoming about this. She had produced over 50,000 emails. She is working and has given the investigators, as far as I know, everything that they need and also made things public. This has gone public because of the State Department process. That is in stark contrast to Donald Trump who won't even give up his tax returns, something that has come to be expected in presidential races.

SHAPIRO: Amy Klobuchar is the senior senator from Minnesota. Thank you for joining us.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, it was great to be on. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.