This is the fifth in a series of interviews with Democractic presidential candidates.
Energized by the addition of former National Organization for Women President Patricia Ireland to her campaign, presidential hopeful Carol Moseley Braun confidently told “Hardball” host Chris Matthews that she has no intention of dropping out of the race.
“We’re in it to win it,” she said many times, joking that others mistakenly apply the “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” label to her.
Despite earlier media reports that Moseley Braun’s scheduled appearance wasn’t attracting the same high level of interest that other nominees were drawing to the ongoing MSNBC series, the crowd was standing room only and responded positively, cheering the loudest when she criticized what Matthews called President Bush’s “failed” mission in Iraq.
“They didn’t have a plan. They went in like desperados,” said Moseley Braun. “I would have made sure we stayed focused on Bin Laden and the real war on terror.”
“Then why did so many Democrats agree with the president and authorize going in?” Matthews asked.
Moseley Braun, who opposed the war, shrugged and said, “That’s why I’m running.”
Matthews, known for prodding his guests, repeatedly used gender to frame his questions. After Moseley Braun announced that Ireland had joined the campaign and that the National Women’s Political Caucus PAC had recently endorsed her, Matthews asked, “Is your campaign a woman’s thing? A feminist thing?”
“Oh, stop it,” Moseley Braun chided him.
Later, when Matthews asked if she would drop out of the race if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton decided to run, she replied, “No, why would I?”
“Really now,” Matthews pressed.
“I’m in it to win it,” Moseley Braun said emphatically.
Sponsored by the Institute of Politics, the ‘Hardball’ series continues Dec. 1, at 7 p.m., with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Admittance to the forum event will require a ticket. Information is available at http://www.iop.harvard.edu/.
Students asked Moseley Braun, the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate and a former U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, a host of questions on the issues. On affirmative action, she said it “makes places like Harvard better.” On Bush’s tax cuts, she said she’d repeal them. On the president’s “Leave No Child Behind” education policy, she laughed, saying, “You mean ‘No Child Left Untested’ or ‘No Child Left With a Behind?'” She was also critical of Bush’s recent judicial nominees.
“Every president has the responsibility to nominate moderates,” she said, saying Bush had instead nominated a string of partisan, radical conservatives. “The main criteria in selecting judges should be that they respect the law and have the heart and head to make fair decisions.”
When a student asked the candidate about her controversial trips to Nigeria in the 1990s, Moseley Braun defended herself, saying she had a clear record of supporting human rights and claiming that the controversy was the result of a “huge smear campaign.”