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Entries in Hillary Clinton (78)

Friday
Dec212012

John Kerry to Be Nominated to Succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will on Friday nominate Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state, likely succeeding Hillary Clinton, sources confirmed to ABC News.

Kerry, 69, the Massachusetts Democrat who was his party's nominee for president in 2004, chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and is unlikely to face fierce opposition from senators across the aisle.

Kerry's nomination is the only one expected from the White House Friday afternoon, although other cabinet members, including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, are expected to leave the administration in the coming weeks.

An earlier possible State Department nominee, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration for the position when Republicans began to mobilize against her.  At issue was Rice's involvement in the Obama administration's response to the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Kerry's nomination will create an opening in the Senate. Sen. Scott Brown, the moderate Republican who lost his bid for re-election in November to consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, is expected to consider a run for Kerry's seat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec202012

Is Hillary Clinton Faking Her Concussion?

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department pushed back Wednesday against assertions made by conservatives that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is faking a serious injury to keep from testifying about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Earlier in the week, former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, who served under then-President George W. Bush, told Fox News that the outgoing secretary had come down with what's referred to as a "diplomatic illness," which would give her an excuse not to answer lawmakers' questions they have on the Benghazi siege that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

Clinton has been laid up at home since last week when she reportedly collapsed from the effects of a stomach flu and suffered a mild concussion.

According to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, Bolton was out of line for insinuating that Clinton was feigning an illness, telling reporters, "I can assure you, [Bolton is] not privy to any inside information....It's really unfortunate that in times like this people make wild speculation based on no information."

Other conservatives have speculated that Clinton is faking a concussion, including blogger Lucianne Goldberg, who tweeted, "Hillary has given us a great new excuse.  Don't call in with a cold or a bad tooth.  Just say you have a concussion.  It can last for days."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec192012

Benghazi Report Finds 'Systematic Failure' by State Department

GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department has released its independent, internal investigation into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, concluding the attack was the result of the State Department's "systematic failure" in addressing the security needs of the consulate.

The 39-page unclassified report, released Monday, is highly critical of decisions made by senior officials from the Diplomatic Security and Near East Affairs bureaus as demonstrating "a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns posed by the Special Mission Benghazi, given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack of reliable host government protection."

The attacked killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, information specialist Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who were contractors working for the CIA.  Stevens' slaying was the first of a U.S. ambassador since 1988.

[ CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REPORT ]

The investigation was conducted by the Accountability Review Board appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in late September.  The five members spent the last two months interviewing over 100 officials and pouring over thousands of documents and watching hours of video, before issuing conclusions and recommendations to Clinton about what happened before the attack and how another attack may be prevented.

The board concluded that several decisions in Washington left the security posture at the Benghazi consulate "grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place."  However, the report did not single out any individual officials, finding no "reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty."

The report makes the point that the State Department has been subject to so many budget cuts from Congress over the years that there is a culture of "conditioning a few State Department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation," and gives several examples of how Washington failed the staff at the Benghazi consulate, essentially vindicating claims made by regional security officers that senior officials in Washington consistently turned down security requests from the Embassy in Tripoli.

"Overall, the number of Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) security staff in Benghazi on the day of the attack and in the months and weeks leading up to it was inadequate, despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing," said the report.  "Board members found a pervasive realization among personnel who served in Benghazi that the Special Mission was not a high priority for Washington when it came to security-related requests, especially those relating to staffing."

Though the state department has repeatedly pointed to the local militia in Benghazi as being an integral part of the security plan at the consulate, in reality, the militia proved inadequate and ineffective, according to the report's findings.

While the report had harsh criticism for the bureaucrats in Washington, it had nothing but praise for security officials on the ground, whom it said "performed with courage and readiness to risk their lives to protect their colleagues, in a near impossible situation."

The report sheds new light on the death of Stevens as well.  U.S. officials still do not know who exactly transported him to a Benghazi hospital after finding him in the consulate after the smoke cleared, calling them "good Samaritans."  The investigation found that doctors tried for 45 minutes to revive the ambassador, who was likely dead from smoke inhalation when he arrived at the hospital.

The Accountability Review Board also disputed any claims that the Pentagon did not respond in a timely manner or turned down assistance requests.  An unmanned drone was dispatched to Benghazi on the night of the attack, but other military options were too far away to provide immediate help.

"The interagency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference," said the report, which went on to praise the military response.  "The safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi twelve hours after the initial attack and subsequently to Ramstein Air Force Base was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response and helped save the lives of two severely wounded Americans."

Despite the sharp criticism for the State Department, the board does make it clear that the gunmen who carried out the attack are ultimately responsible.

"The Board remains fully convinced that responsibility for the tragic loss of life, injuries, and damage to U.S. facilities and property rests solely and completely with the terrorists who perpetrated the attack," the report said.

But the report finds that there were warning signs; a sharp increase of attacks on Western interests in Benghazi -- a knowledge from the intelligence community that even if there was no actionable intelligence on a future attack, it was known that radical Islamic groups were operating in the area -- that required better planning and protection than what the consulate had.

Clinton, who is at home recovering from a stomach flu that caused her to faint and suffer a concussion, received the report Monday morning.  After reviewing it, she issued eight-page cover letters to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees, where she said that she accepted the report's conclusions in their entirety.

"The Accountability Review Board report provides a clear-eyed look at serious, systemic challenges that we have already begun to fix," said Clinton.  "I am grateful for its recommendations for how we can reduce the chances of this kind of tragedy happening again. I accept every one of them."

She added that she has already established a task force that met for the first time on Tuesday, which will make sure that the board's findings are implemented "quickly and completely."

Clinton also addressed the issue of chain-and-command and bureaucracy problems between the field and Washington.  She announced she is naming the first-ever Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of High Threat Posts, a senior level position devoted solely to focusing on security at high risk posts.  

She also said that in the future, regional Assistant Secretaries based in Washington at the highest levels will have greater responsibility and accountability for their people and posts in the field.

 Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec172012

Hillary Clinton Recovering at Home, Reviewing Benghazi Report

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is feeling a bit better following the concussion she suffered early last week, but will continue to rest this week, State Department officials said.

“She is on the mend,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “We thank all of you for your good wishes, and she’s obviously going to be fine. But … she’s going to be working at home this week.”

A U.S. official tells ABC News that Clinton is feeling more “like herself” and would like to go back to work, but doctors have advised it may take several weeks and want the secretary to rest.  That is standard for concussion treatment.

Clinton originally fell ill from a stomach virus following a whirlwind trip to Europe at the beginning of the month, which caused such severe dehydration that she fainted and fell at home, said the State Department. According to the official, the secretary had two teams of doctors, including specialists, examine her.  They also ran tests to rule out more serious ailments beyond the virus and the concussion. During the course of the week, Clinton was on an IV drip and being monitored by a nurse, while also recovering from the pain caused by the fall.

Nuland said the decision to cancel Clinton’s schedule this week was made on Saturday morning after consulting with her doctors.

The secretary was set for a full week of events and work commitments, including testifying before the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations committees on Thursday, following the release of the State Department’s internal investigation on the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya in September.  Deputy Secretaries of State Bill Burns and Tom Nides will testify in her place.

The investigation, conducted by an appointed Accountability Review Board, was ordered by Clinton in October. Nuland told reporters Monday that the board has completed its work. She said Secretary Clinton received the report on Monday and is reviewing it at home.

Congressional committee members will receive the full, classified report before being briefed on Wednesday by the board’s chair, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, and member Admiral Mike Mullen in a closed session.

House Foreign Affairs chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said in a statement on Saturday that while the committee accepts Burns and Nides’ presence at the hearing,  she expects there will be questions surrounding the attack that will at some point require "a public appearance by the Secretary of State herself. ”

Secretary Clinton has sent letters to the chairs of both committees making it clear that she is open to further meetings after the holidays, when Congress is back in session and she is feeling better, said Nuland.

“She was ready to testify, she very much wanted to, she was preparing to, and except for this illness, she would have been up there herself.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec162012

John Kerry to Be Nominated to Be Secretary of State, Sources Say

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sources tell ABC News that President Obama has decided that he will nominate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. to be secretary of state.

For a variety of reasons, including the finalization of the process, other pending Cabinet decisions, and — more immediately — the national reaction to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the news will not be announced in the next few days.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is recovering from an illness and a concussion she suffered upon fainting because of that illness, is set to retire in the next few weeks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec122012

Hillary Clinton Says While "All Doors Open," No Presidential Bid Yet

State Department photo(NEW YORK) -- When Hillary Rodham Clinton steps down from her post as secretary of state as expected early next year, her political career will have spanned over two decades.

She is by far the most popular official in the Obama administration, and is already the leading candidate should she choose to run for president again in 2016. So is this really goodbye for the former first lady, senator and secretary of state? Or will Hillary Clinton, who recently turned 65 years old, re-invent herself once again?

In an exclusive interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters, Clinton said that while "all doors are open" for her future, one thing is for certain: she is definitely leaving the cabinet as soon as a new secretary is sworn in.

"It sounds so simple, but I've been, as you know, at the highest levels of American and now international activities for twenty years, and I just thought it was time to take a step off… maybe do some reading and writing and speaking and teaching," said Clinton.

She told Walters that she doesn't have a plan for what she'll do immediately after leaving political life, but has considered working in philanthropy or academia. When pressed on whether her future includes a widely-speculated 2016 run for president, Clinton maintains that she still does not plan to run.

"I've said I really don't believe that that's something I will do again," she said. "I am so grateful I had the experience of doing it before."

She went on to say, however, that if she did choose to run she would not be concerned about her age. Clinton would be 77 years old at the end of a second term.

"I am, thankfully, knock on wood, not only healthy, but have incredible stamina and energy," she said.

She did admit that being the most-traveled Secretary of State in U.S. history has taken a toll.

"Being on planes, as you know, as much as I am, takes something out of anybody, doesn't matter how old you are, or how often you've done it," she said. Clinton, who has traveled to 112 countries as a member of President Obama’s cabinet, said she replenishes her energy by drinking a lot of water, trying to swim and do yoga when time permits and regulate her sleep.

Her darkest moment as Secretary of State happened this year when terrorists in Libya attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11th, killing four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Clinton calls the attack the "worst time" in her tenure.

"It's something that is certainly terrible," she said. "We take risks in the work we do. The people who do this work, are often in very threatening environments, whether it's our military or our civilian people around the world, I have just the most extraordinary admiration for them."

Clinton, who knew Stevens personally, has repeatedly said that no one wants to find out what happened in Benghazi more than she does. The results from an internal State Department investigation are expected to be released soon.

Clinton said she is leaving the office feeling immensely proud of what has been accomplished over the last four years.

"When I became secretary, when the president took office, we were in the midst of a terrible economic downturn, but we also were experiencing some very negative attitudes toward our country,” she said. "I don't think there's any doubt now, and we have gone through enormous difficult changes, but I think everyone knows that the United States and our leadership is to be counted on."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec112012

Hillary Clinton Cancels North Africa Trip over Stomach Bug

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Globe-trotting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been grounded by a stomach virus.

Clinton, who recently got back from Europe, was scheduled to travel to Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates this week, but State Department spokesperson Philippe Reines said she'll be "staying put" until she "shakes this bug."

Reines said in her place, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns will head to Marrakech, Morocco, where Clinton was to attend a meeting on Syria.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec092012

James Carville: 90% of Dems Want Hillary Clinton

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision about whether to run for president in 2016 will be key to the makeup of the Democratic and Republican fields in 2016, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd said Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.”

And James Carville – former strategist for President Bill Clinton – said Democrats are relishing the possibility that she’ll enter the race.

“I think that, whether or not other Democrats run, it’s all going to pivot off of her.  And even the Republicans to a degree are going to pivot off what she does.” Dowd said.

With Clinton’s popularity across the board surging in the four years after her first run for the presidency, Carville says that the consensus among Democrats is that Hillary Clinton would give the party its best chance to win.

“I don’t know what she’s going to do, but I do know this:  The Democrats want her to run.  And I don’t just mean a lot of Democrats.  I mean a whole lot of Democrats, like 90 percent across the country,” Carville said. “We just want to win.  We think she’s the best person and shut it down.  And that’s across the board.”

But Republican political adviser – and Carville’s wife- Mary Matalin said it’s unlikely the Secretary of State would be able to clear the field.

“I wish she would run. But it defies human nature to think that Democrats, even though they are redistributionist and utopians, would not be competitive, that [Virginia Senator Mark] Warner or all these other Democrats who’ve been waiting in the wings are going to have a dynasty, since Democrats are always complaining about these dynasties, they’re going to have another Clinton step up, and everyone’s going to go, yeah, step back?  I don’t think so,” Matalin said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec072012

Hillary Clinton Won't Discuss Future Plans

Astrid Riecken/Getty Images(DUBLIN) -- Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was in Dublin Thursday for a human rights conference, is rumored to be considering another run for the White House in 2016.

Naturally, the question came up as her tenure as America's top envoy winds down.

With the Irish prime minister by her side, the former first lady and one-time U.S. senator dismissed inquiries into her future, saying, "I’m right now too focused on what I’m doing to complete all the work we have ahead of us before I do step down."

Clinton told reporters, "I’m frankly looking forward to returning to living a life that enjoys a lot of simple pleasures and gives me time for family and friends and other pursuits."

It's the "other pursuits" people are most interested in.

If that wasn't enough, the secretary of state also fielded a question about the possibility of President Obama naming her husband, former President Bill Clinton, ambassador to Ireland.

While she couldn't say what Obama has in mind right now, Clinton remarked, "I would think that my husband will be here many times in the future doing the work that he’s been doing without having to have the title of ambassador."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec052012

Hillary Clinton Wins High Popularity, Majority Support for a 2016 Bid

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Carried by a new high in personal popularity and broad approval of her work as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton closes out her diplomatic career with majority support as a candidate for president in 2016.

Fifty-seven percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say they’d back a run by Clinton to succeed Barack Obama, vs. 37 percent opposed. That includes a broad gender gap -- 66 percent support for Clinton among women, dropping to 49 percent among men.

Clinton is expected to step down soon from her leadership of the State Department, a position she accepted after narrowly losing the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama in 2008. She’s demurred on the prospect of another bid for the presidency.

Clinton’s fared well during her tenure at State; 68 percent approve of her work, second only to Colin Powell among the last five secretaries of state. (He managed a remarkable 85 percent approval in 2002 and 2003.) Similarly, two-thirds in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, see Clinton favorably overall, numerically a new high in her long public career as first lady, U.S. Senator, presidential candidate and top U.S. diplomat.

Clinton’s recovered from personal favorability as low as 44 percent in April 2008, during her presidential run; she also dropped that low in June 2003 when she was discussed as a possible candidate in the 2004 presidential race, and in June 1996 during the Whitewater controversy. Those dips underscore the potential risks should she climb back into the political fray.

In another sign of the challenges of a political candidacy, intensity of sentiment is better for Clinton personally, and as secretary of state, than it is for her as a candidate. Her “strongly” favorable rating and strong approval of her job performance outnumber her strong negatives, in both cases, by more than 2-1 margins. Strong support for her as a candidate also outweighs strong opposition, but much more narrowly, by nine percentage points, 36 to 27 percent.

2016 and GROUPS -- Politics are comparative, so actual support for Clinton as a candidate would depend more than anything on her opponents in the Democratic primaries and general election alike. That said, having 57 percent willing to give you a look (55 percent among registered voters) is not a bad starting point -- and the differences among groups are telling.

In addition to the gender gap there are sharp differences between age and racial groups, generally similar to Obama’s support patterns. Young adults, age 18 to 29, support Clinton for president by nearly 2-1; that falls to an even split among seniors. And while she gets 52 percent support among whites, that jumps to 70 percent among nonwhites, a strongly Democratic group.

Clinton does less well among nonwhites than did Obama, who won re-election with 80 percent of their support last month. That said, while majorities of white men and married men say they’d oppose a Clinton candidacy, she’s backed by more than six in 10 white women and married women -- two groups that Obama lost.

Among other groups, support for Clinton in 2016 tops out at eight in 10 Democrats and liberals, vs. 23 and 24 percent of Republicans and strong conservatives, respectively. About two-thirds of moderates and six in 10 independents say they’d support a Clinton candidacy.

It’s hard to see Clinton winning 23 percent of Republicans in an actual campaign; no Democrat has come close to that mark in exit polls dating back 36 years. That’s another sign that, while currently her numbers are positive, actually running for president can be messier than it looks from a popular perch at Foggy Bottom.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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