Transcript: Sen. Amy Klobuchar on "Face the Nation," June 9, 2019

Klobuchar: Trump treating farmers like "poker chips at one of his bankrupt casinos"

The following is a transcript of the interview with Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota that aired Sunday, June 9, 2019, on "Face the Nation."


MARGARET BRENNAN: We go now to one of those candidates campaigning in Iowa today, Senator Amy Klobuchar who is in Cedar Rapids. Senator--

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR: Hey, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Good- good- good to talk to you today. We just went through those polls. Are there just too many candidates running? Why do you think only a handful are- are actually breaking through?

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: Well first of all, I am happy to be in the top six and ahead of 18 people and we've got a long campaign ahead of us. I'm- always been a- a Vikings fan, and I can't tell you how many games, Margaret, where the Vikings were leading in the first quarter and go on to not quite make it. So I think you see a fluid race and yes, there are a lot of candidates and you're going to see that narrowed down over time. I- I'm clearly on the debate stage and expect to be there in the fall. And I think that's going to give opportunity to voters in Iowa and all across the country to really narrow it down. And for me being from the Midwest and someone that's running on a track record of getting things done, being effective, passing one hundred bills where I was the lead Democrat since I've been in the Senate- I think those are things that are going to matter to people. They want to see a vision that is not Donald Trump's, that's not chaos every morning with every single tweet. The people here in this state, like all states around the country, want a true leader who's going to get stuff done for them and cares about things that matter in their everyday lives, like the cost of pharmaceuticals, or the fact that we've got so many farms going under here in Iowa because of his trade war, and the way he's handled biofuels with secret waivers that he's given to the oil companies- you name it. There's a lot of people, despite the fact that our economy has been at a stable state in the last decade- it's getting harder and harder for a lot of people to make it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, Senator Kamala Harris made this case last night that she is a prosecutor. That's her definition. Joe Biden, the former vice president, you know, sort of paints himself in restoration- familiar. You hear Bernie Sanders as a revolutionary. As a Midwest moderate, what actually defines you and breaks you out of the pack?

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: Well, what breaks me out of the pack is the fact that I have passed 100 bills where I'm lead Democrat and has been- have been consistently considered one of the most effective senators on a lot of different surveys. The other thing is, I'm able to win in red districts. I've done it every single time, won every single red congressional district. And that's not by selling out of my values. I'd say I'm a proven progressive and that means I put the progress back in progressive. But it's because I go where it is not just comfortable. I go where it's uncomfortable. I meet people where they are. I was in Cresco, Iowa just last night. We had big crowd there. Proud to announce two new legislators supporting me down here in Iowa. So I'm running this as a grassroots campaign, and I'm doing it the right way, with grit. I've always been the one that people didn't expect to win, but I have won every single race I've ever run and I'm going to go in there with looking at our entire ticket--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: --and how we lead from the grassroots and bring people with us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What about on the issue of abortion? This is clearly emotional. It is divisive. It is something that does bring people out to vote. Is there any room for a Democratic candidate who supports abortion, or excuse me, who does not support abortion and like Joe Biden doesn't in the past, doesn't think there should be federal funding for it?

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: OK, well I'll- I'll just make my position clear on this. I think what's going on in Alabama and Georgia, in these states that basically have said doctors should go to prison, that women should not have a choice at all. I think that is just wrong and the vast majority of Americans are going to be against that. And I think that has been proven out. And 73 percent of Americans don't want to overturn Roe v. Wade. I also think you do have pro-life Democrats in our party and they- that's their personal view and that's fine. I think you also see them not wanting to put that view on other people. And that's why it is my position and the strong position of our party that we believe you shouldn't be putting doctors in prison for women just simply exercising their right to choose what they want to do with their body.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But- but on that specific issue of using taxpayer dollars, federal funding of abortion, the Hyde Amendment issue that came up this week, you when you were asked about Joe Biden changing his position on it you said it would have been a big problem for him. Do you think that this was a- a difference in conviction or just a matter of politics?

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: Look at the numbers here, Margaret. We have a number of states that are red, including my own, by order of the Supreme Court, have said it's not fair that women who don't have as much money, don't have the same choices as women who are wealthy. That's basically what the issue is here. And those states that have given that right to those women, actually have also seen decreases in abortion. So for me, the goal is this: we have choice in our country, but that we also make sure that we have reduced the number of abortions which we've been doing. Why? Because we have contraception available, because we've funded Planned Parenthood. So for me, I didn't agree with Joe Biden's position. I'm glad he changed it. It has long been my position. But you look at the facts here. We have reduced the number of abortions by funding Planned Parenthood and we have a president — that I want to replace — who doesn't even support funding Planned Parenthood--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: --where one out of five women sometime in their lifetime go to get their health care.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Very quickly since you're in Iowa, do you think President Trump's brinksmanship will pay off? Particularly for farmers there.

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: I don't think so. I mean he's--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: --becoming the threatener-in-chief. He is literally treating--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator--

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: --these farmers- he is treating these farmers--

MARGARET BRENNAN: I'm running out of time here.

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: Okay. But like they're poker chips basically at one of his bankrupt casinos. I think it's wrong.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

SEN. KLOBUCHAR: And I think that we should have a consistent strong trade policy that works for everyone in America.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back.