MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell interviewed Dennis Kucinich’s wife Elisabeth this afternoon. Transcript follows…
NORAH O’DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Dennis Kucinich is running for president.
And he is a five foot, seven inch veteran congressman who thought consistently comes in at the bottom of the polls but is very popular among young people. At his side, his running mate, Elizabeth Kucinich, a 31-year-old six foot tall red-haired Brit. She is a political policy expert but some say she’s not exactly the textbook political wife.
Elizabeth Kucinich joins me now for her first cable television interview.
So good to see you Elizabeth. Thank you so much for joining us.
ELIZABETH KUCINICH, DENNIS KUCINICH’S WIFE: Thank you.
O’DONNELL: How did you meet Dennis Kucinich?
E. KUCINICH: It was my second week in America. It was a meeting on monetary policy. I was meeting with several different people in Washington. I had an eight-minute meeting and just knew as soon as I met Dennis that he was my husband. And just to correct you, Dennis polling at fourth nationally.
O’DONNELL: Fourth nationally.
E. KUCINICH: In the Gallup poll.
O’DONNELL: It is interesting when people hear that you met him and were married to him within three months?
E. KUCINICH: Yes. We were engaged the second time that we met. I didn’t even know what political party he belonged to and he knew nothing about me but we just knew. It’s like a (inaudible).
O’DONNELL: What did you know what you met him? Within – when you met him. On the second date you knew that you wanted to be married to him?
E. KUCINICH: He was my man. I mean, really. Eight-minute meeting on monetary policy and just as soon as I met him I knew. I saw him and knew that he was the one.
O’DONNELL: I mean, I ask you that because I pointed out Dennis Kucinich has been in Congress a long time. He’s almost twice your age. He’s known kind of in Washington as a policy wonk. And you are obviously very beautiful. It seems to some people sort of an unusual match.
E. KUCINICH: Well, I love him to bits in every single way. I love his mind, I love his work, I love everything about him. And I did from the second that I met. He has an incredible presence which is very special.
O’DONNELL: And as a British girl, how have you enjoyed being out on the campaign trail here in America?
E. KUCINICH: It’s been incredible. Because when you’re in Britain you only get to hear the administration’s voice, it is very, very important that the rest of the world get to hear the true views of the American people and they are the views that Dennis really represents wholeheartedly.
His positions are mainstream America and when we go around to meet thousands of people a week who all expressing their distaste for the war in Iraq, war as an instrument of foreign policy they want going into Iran and want a proper health care system that services people as opposed to provides corporate profit, Dennis stands for the mainstream of America and the mainstream of American stands with the mainstream of the rest of the world. The people are united.
O’DONNELL: What do you think of Senator Hillary Clinton?
E. KUCINICH: In what way?
O’DONNELL: What do you think of a first lady running for president?
E. KUCINICH: I think it’s fine for a first lady to run for president. I think it’s very important that people understand her position, understand the policies that are underneath the smile and underneath the lines that are very well rehearsed and it is up to people really to take democracy into their own hands and really take this presidential campaign and election very, very seriously.
O’DONNELL: I have to ask you about two very interesting things. Because America has had a traditional of having traditional first ladies, if you will. You would be the youngest first lady ever if your husband were elected president. You have a tongue ring. What about that?
E. KUCINICH: What about that?
O’DONNELL: Well, it’s very unusual. I don’t know that there are many political spouses who have tongue rings.
E. KUCINICH: I’m 30 years old. I’ve had it for ten years. I don’t see it as being a problem. I do still wear pearls.
O’DONNELL: So you can do both. Let me also ask but something you recorded in “Time” magazine, is that your ideal day would be to have a champagne brunch on Sunday and sleep till 4:00 and you said “a la John Lennon, Yoko Ono style.” Do you do that regularly?
E. KUCINICH: No. The reason why I would like that is because we’re always on the campaign trail. If we get in bed before 2:00 in the morning it’s a dream. And after 7:00 is a lay-in. So normally we get four hours of sleep on the campaign trail. It’s incredibly hectic. So I think that to dream of sleep is while your eyes is open is something which is quite nice.
O’DONNELL: If you were first lady what would be your signature issue?
E. KUCINICH: I think that there are many, many issues that really need to be addressed in America. Health care being a very primary one needing a true single payor not for profit health care system and a universal system, Medicare for all. The only true universal system. It’s being called out for by the American people. It’s a life or death issue. And when I sit and listen to these debates and I sit in that front row and I listen to all of these people talk about universal health care as if they’ve got religion and then read the policies that they’ve got understanding full well that there will be premiums, co-pays and deductibles than I know that really the American people are being done a disservice and really want to stand up for the American people.
I also believe that America becomes strong when it really reconnects with its heart. When it really goes and reconnects with its aspirations and its ideals. Reclaims the founding fathers and mothers ideas for this country and we have seen over time how the Constitution has been completely shredded and how Congress will not stand up for it really is time for a president who will do that and also first lady that stands up and, yes, one that is an international one who sees America in a different way, who sees the potential for America and who loves this country and that’s why I came.
O’DONNELL: Well, Elizabeth Kucinich. It was great getting to know you and having this time together. Thank you so much and good luck to you and your husband on the campaign trail.
E. KUCINICH: Thank you.