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Hillary Clinton press conference in Fort Dodge, Iowa

20151204 Fort Dodge IA Press Avail with Tom Perez [Iowa Central Community College]

PARTICIPANT: Okay, why don't we start locally? Tony, do you want to kick us off?

PARTICIPANT: Do you think banning gun sales to people on the no-fly list would have prevented any of these massacres, including the one in San Bernardino?

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: You know, that's like the question, you know, how do you prove a negative? I don't know exactly what it would have or could have prevented. But I do know that we've got to start implementing sensible gun safety measures, and this seems like among the most sensible that I know of.

There have been numerous sales to people on the no-fly list for years now. And where those guns go, who ends up with them, we don't have any idea. So I think it's hard to justify not prohibiting people who are on the no-fly list from being able to buy guns. Just like I think it's hard to justify people who are felons, people who have orders of restraint against them, people who have been treated for or difficulties from serious mental illness.

I think we've got to be more willing to start imposing these kinds of gun safety measures. And I'm certainly going to continue to advocate for it.

PARTICIPANT: Secretary Clinton, Janet Yellen said this week -- she told Congress that the economy has largely now met the criteria for the first interest rate increase since 2006 and that in order to keep at the pace we're growing, we need to add (inaudible) thousand jobs per month.

Today, we found out that last month 211,000 jobs were added. I know you say often that while people are on their feet again, they're not yet running. Today you talked about stagnant wages. Do you think the Fed is using the right criteria to assess the health of the job market? And is there anything else they should be doing? And are we ready for a rate increase?

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: You know, one of the things that I've learned over the years is that it's often a quite treacherous path to be commenting on what the Fed does or doesn't do. The Fed has been signaling this for a long time. If they do make this decision by the end of the year, it's not going to come as a surprise. I think the markets not only in the United States but around the world have already processed that. And they have laid out what criteria they think should be applied. So I'm not going to comment on their decision making, I'm going to continue to advocate for more good-paying jobs and try to get wages up, which is exactly what I think the economy needs.

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible) mental health and, you know, (inaudible) health issue as well.

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: You're absolutely right. And that's why I've been talking throughout this campaign about untreated mental health. We have parity laws now on the books, but they're not actually being implemented in practice. A lot of insurance companies are not giving enough leeway for people to be treated for mental health problems. They don't give them enough treatment sessions, they don't really provide the continuity of care. A lot of people can't even afford that.

We need to do more on community mental health treatment. We need to make sure the insurance companies are fulfilling the letter of the law and providing more treatment, we need more facilities and resources.

I mean, look what happened here in Iowa. You know, Governor Branstad closed two of your four facilities despite the Republicans and Democrats coming together in the legislature to try to keep them open.

So how do we give people mental health treatment if there's nowhere for them to go? And what often happens is people end up going to jail, which is really expensive and not very constructive.

So mental health has to be a big part of this. And it's not only about trying to intervene and prevent people from doing the terrible crimes that we have seen in the last several years, but it's also just the wear and tear on human beings and families and workplaces and the cost to communications.

So both with mental health and substance abuse, I've been advocating a much more comprehensive approach. And I don't think that's a substitute for doing something about guns falling into the wrong hands, but I think it's an absolute necessity, for a lot of reasons, to do much more on mental health.

PARTICIPANT: Secretary Clinton, I want to ask you about the visa waiver program and if there's anything (inaudible) should do to change it in light of the fact that this woman (inaudible) came to the U.S. on a K1 visa. As a former secretary of state, are you confident enough in the system of checks and balances on that visa waiver program?

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I agree with the White House and Democrats in Congress who are advocating to take a hard look at the visa waiver program.

You're right, from what I've read in the press, she did come here on a visa, and she was on a -- you know, here because she'd married an American citizen.

I well remember that the people who flew planes into the World Trade Center were here on visas, some of which had expired, but that's how they got into our country.

I think we have to take a look at all of this. And I think it's important that we take a very thorough and comprehensive look and not be pushed one way or the other by some of the inflammatory rhetoric that is occurring because, actually, if you look at the kinds of crimes that were committed by this woman and her husband, or the 9/11 hijackers, visas are a problem. And we have to look at that, see what we need to do to tighten up requirements, do better information sharing with other countries.

And it's a calculated balance between wanting to keep our country open for people coming and going and reciprocity with other countries and being sure that we are being vigilant in protecting ourselves. And I think we have to make sure we do more to get the balance right.

PARTICIPANT: Could you briefly summarize how you would pay for your (inaudible) to create jobs in the country?

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: I can't briefly summarize, but I will certainly send you a long list. And a lot of it is on my website. Because I am targeting high-income earners. I'm targeting closing corporate loopholes. I'm targeting ending a lot of the deductions and the other gimmicks that the wealthy and corporations are privy to under our tax system.

And, you know, we have costed everything we are proposing. And I'm only proposing things that I have identified a way of paying for them. And we can give you specifics on that.

PARTICIPANT: Secretary Clinton, you mentioned battling ISIS online --


PARTICIPANT: You mentioned combating ISIS online in your speech today.


PARTICIPANT: Have we become too sensitive to civil liberty arguments post-Snowden given what we saw happen in (inaudible)?

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: You know, Dan, I think we are always trying to get the balance right between liberty and privacy and security and safety. And that has been a balancing act from the very beginning of our country.

It is tough. I supported the U.S.A. Freedom Act, which I thought was a good path forward for us to try to get that balance in line. Because we have to do both. We have to protect Americans' rights, and we have to protect Americans' lives.

And, you know, that's not always easy to do. And so I think the U.S.A. Freedom Act is a very good start.

But I was also -- when I'm talking about combatting online, we're going to have to try to figure out how we deprive them from the oxygen of social media, for example. You know? They run multiple Twitter accounts and other kinds of accounts. And I don't know that we would let that continue if we were dealing with a criminal network. Why should we let it continuing if we're dealing with a terrorist network?

So we just have to have a broad, very careful analysis of what we think will work to try to cripple them in cyberspace. And I will be promoting and looking for ideas about it.

PARTICIPANT: A follow-up on that, though. Republicans have criticized you -- or Democrats and you -- for calling for tougher gun laws in the wake of the terrorist attack in California, saying that terrorists really don't care about their gun laws, they'd get guns however they could. Do you regret calling for gun control in the wake of the attack now knowing what you know about the terrorists?

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: No. Not at all. We don't know how they got that arsenal inside their house. We have no idea. We don't know whether it was stolen, it was bought by somebody else and handed off to them, we don't know.

So I don't see any conflict at all between going after the terrorists with everything we've got, better coordination from local law enforcement to federal to international sources that we can put to work, and doing more on gun safety measures. I see no contradiction.

And, besides, Dan, think about this: 90 people a day die from gun violence. From homicides, suicides, and tragic, avoidable accidents. That's 33,000 people a year. I am absolutely convinced lives could be saved if we did more on comprehensive background checks, closing the gun show loophole, closing the online loophole, closing the Charleston loophole, which we know if there'd just been a little more time, the man who walked into that church and killed those people at Bible study would not have been eligible to buy a gun legally. But because the three-day rule kicked in, the gun was handed over, and then only later did they find out he was not eligible because he had a felony record.

So I know we can save lives. And we shouldn't be conflating the two. We need to go after the terrorists and we need to do more to save the lives of Americans every single day from homicides, suicide, and these terrible accidents, some of which are the result of carelessness. Toddlers picking up loaded guns. Kids finding a gun in the back seat of a car and playing with it and shooting somebody in the front seat. I mean, this has no sense at all. We've got to do a better job on all fronts.

PARTICIPANT: Thanks, everybody.

PARTICIPANT: Madam Secretary, do you still have confidence in the mayor in the city where you were born?

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: I do. He loves Chicago, and I'm confident he's going to do everything he can to get to the bottom of these issues and take whatever measures are necessary to remedy them.


(Break for direction.)