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Entries in Hillary Clinton (78)

Friday
Nov302012

Hillary Clinton Reflects on Accomplishments, Challenges

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton reflected on her accomplishments as secretary of state over the last four years in a wide-ranging speech on foreign policy trends on Thursday.

She also touched on what she sees as America’s most pressing global challenges in the future, signaling that her time in the Obama administration is drawing to a close.

At the top of her remarks given at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Clinton took a moment to address the U.N. resolution passed in the General Assembly just minutes before she spoke that recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state.  She called the measure “unfortunate and counterproductive,” reiterating her warning earlier in the day that peace between Israel and the Palestinians would come through direct negotiations, not international resolutions.

“We have been clear that only through direct negotiations between the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace they both deserve: two states for two people with a sovereign, viable independent Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security with a Jewish and democratic Israel,” said Clinton.

The overall theme of Clinton’s address, however, was that economic and diplomatic challenges across the globe are changing the way the United States relates to both allies and foes.

“We do live in a rapidly changing world.  Many of the constants that shaped American foreign policy for decades are shifting.  And that poses new challenges for our global leadership,” she told the crowd.

Among those changes, she said, are the economic crises shaking allies in Europe, China’s continued rise as a global power, regime change in the Arab world as the U.S. works towards energy independence, a greater emphasis on strength through economics rather than arms, and a new generation growing up without the same pro-American sentiment held by their parents and grandparents.  

Clinton reflected on her travels to more than 112 countries, calling it ”shoe-leather diplomacy,” and emphasizing the importance of being on the ground.

“I have found it highly ironic that, in today’s world, when we can be anywhere virtually, more than ever people want us to show up, actually,” she said.  “Somebody said to me the other day, ‘I look at your travel schedule.  Why Togo?  Why the Cook Islands?’  No secretary of state had ever been to Togo before.  Togo happens to be on the U.N. Security Council.  Going there, making the personal investment, has a real strategic purpose.”

Among her accomplishments, she listed hosting town halls with global youth, raising awareness for religious minorities, protecting Internet freedom and advancing rights for women and the LGBT community around the world.

Clinton also reflected on arguably the darkest chapter of her tenure -- the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four State Department employees, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.  Clinton increased security at American embassies and consulates across the globe as a result of the attack, but reiterated that diplomats serving in dangerous places must continue to exist for American diplomacy to work.

“As we mourn fallen friends like Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was fearless in his dedication to diplomacy, we refuse to be intimidated.  Our people cannot live in bunkers and do their jobs,” Clinton said.  “So we will do what we always have done: pull together, learn and improve -- because America always emerges stronger and more confident.”

During a question-and-answer session following her speech, Clinton discussed the current and future challenges for America on the horizon.

She was asked about the conflict in Syria and whether it had reached a tipping point.  While Clinton agreed the rebels had grown stronger and more unified, she stopped short of saying the country was were turning in the opposition’s favor.

“It appears as though opposition in Syria is now capable of holding ground, and that they are better equipped and more able to bring the fight to the government forces, and so we follow closely where the government still maintains regime control and where it’s contested and where the opposition is making significant inroads,” she said.  “I don’t know that you can say that for the entire country there is yet a tipping point, but it certainly seems that the regime will be much harder-pressed in the next months.”

On U.S. engagement with Iran, Clinton said time is running out for Tehran to respond to the international community’s diplomatic efforts.  Ambassador Robert Wood reportedly told the International Atomic Energy Agency board in Vienna on Thursday that the United States has set a March deadline with Iran to start cooperating with the agency or else the issue will be referred to the U.N. Security Council -- a significant step towards ending diplomacy and heading towards intervention.

“I think what was meant about the March reference was either about the IAEA and its continuing work or the fact that we finished our election and now would be a good time to test the proposition that there can be some good-faith, serious negotiations before the Iranians get into their elections, which are going to heat up probably around the March period, heading toward a June election,” said Clinton.

“I think that we’ll see in the next few months whether there’s a chance for any kind of serious negotiation,” she said.  “And right now, I’m not sure that it can happen, but I certainly hope it does.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov292012

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Fiscal Cliff Is a National Security Issue

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Thursday that a failure to pass a budget deal would  have dangerous consequences for the global economy and weaken America’s standing in the world.

Clinton spoke at the Brookings Institute, where she outlined the state of the relationship between Europe and America. Clinton called a weak economic future on either side of the Atlantic one of the greatest threats to global security and transatlantic relations.

While she stressed that Europe needs to continue to fix problems with the euro zone, she also had a message for Washington.

“If we’re serious about strengthening our economic ties, we each need to build stronger foundations at home,” Clinton said. “For the United States, this means making tough political choices, it means investing in our own competitiveness to set the platform for stronger economic growth. And it means addressing our domestic fiscal challenges.

“Washington is gearing up for another round of budget negotiations and I am again hearing the concerns of the global implications of America’s economic choices,” she said. “And although I am now out of politics, let me assure you that for all the differences between the political parties here we are united in our commitment to protect American leadership and bolster our national security.   Reaching a meaningful budget deal is critical to both. This is a moment once again to prove the resilience of our economic system and reaffirm American leadership in the world. ”

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday that fiscal cliff negotiations were not making any progress, but Democrats denied that.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov292012

Bill Clinton Ready to Finish Paying Wife's Debt

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- You could meet Bill Clinton and help his wife pay off some old bills at the same time.

The former president has emailed supporters to let them know he wants to get rid of the remaining debt from Hillary Clinton's failed run for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.

In the overall scheme of things, the outstanding bill -- $73,000 -- seems like a mere drop in the bucket since it once totaled $25 million.  But Bill Clinton is intent on wiping the slate clean in the event the outgoing secretary of state has designs on another White House run in 2016.

Because his wife can't do any active campaigning in her current position, it's been left up to Bill Clinton to act as her surrogate.

The latest email offers a meeting with him, which would come at a price.

He writes, "There is nothing I enjoy more than good conversation with good people, which is why I’ve enjoyed it so much whenever we’ve brought one of Hillary’s strongest supporters to New York to spend the day with me -- and I’m happy to tell you that I’ve asked to do it again."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov292012

Secretary Clinton Marks 20 Years of Gay Diplomats Openly Serving

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary Clinton paid tribute to the State Department’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) organization. The ceremony was held in the State Department's historic Ben Franklin room for the first time.

After receiving a standing ovation Clinton thanked the crowd for what she called their courageous actions in the face of historic discrimination. The secretary lamented that homosexuals could not serve openly in the State Department until 1992.

"The policy forced people to lie or mislead or give up their dreams of serving this country all together," she said, noting that it was under her husband's first administration that federal gay employees received equal rights and partner benefits. Clinton said during her tenure she's made expanding State Department policies to be more LGBT friendly a priority.  

"Our people should not have to choose between serving the country they love and living the life with the people they love," she said.

The secretary has also been a champion for homosexual and transgender rights globally. On International Human Rights Day last December, Clinton gave a speech in Geneva declaring that for the United States, "gay rights are human rights," and led the effort to get the first-ever U.N. resolution on human rights for LGBT community passed.

"When I gave that speech in Geneva and said that we were going to make this a priority of American foreign policy, I didn't see it as something special, something that was added on to everything else we do, but something that was integral to who we are and what we stand for," she said.

Clinton asked the crowd, a mixture of veteran and young gay State Department employees, to stop and reflect on how much progress America has made in advancing gay rights, and how far behind much of the rest of the world still is.

"Remind yourself, as I do every day, what it must be like for a young boy or a young girl in some other part of the world who could literally be killed, and often has been and still will be, who will be shunned, who will be put in danger every day of his or her life," she said.

"I want you to leave this celebration thinking about what more each and every one of you can do ... to make not only the agencies of our government, but our world more just and free for all people."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov262012

President Obama Prepares for Cabinet Shuffle

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama prepares for his second term, preparations have begun for the traditional shuffling of the Cabinet.

The top priority for the president is filling the slots for those top officials heading for the door: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner.

To replace Clinton, Democratic insiders suggest that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Susan Rice is the frontrunner, with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., also a viable candidate.

Rice has been harshly criticized by Republicans for the erroneous comments she made on Sunday news talk shows after the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya -- comments that were based on intelligence reports that falsely blamed the attack on a protest against an anti-Muslim video.  When Obama, during his recent press conference, offered a vociferous defense of Rice, many of those close to him began to suspect he was tipping his hand as to what he might decide.

To replace Geithner at Treasury, White House chief of staff Jack Lew is thought to have the inside track if he wants it, with other possibilities including Neal Wolin, the current deputy secretary of the Treasury, and Lael Brainaed, current under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs.

Other informed sources suggest that there is consideration being given to a business/CEO type such as investor Roger Altman, former Time/Warner chair Richard Parsons, and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.

Any of the business/CEO types being discussed for treasury secretary could also serve as secretary of commerce.  Jeff Zients, the acting director of the Office of Management & Budget, is said to be under consideration.

Informed sources say that -- with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also planning on leaving -- Kerry could be offered the position if he wants it, though the Massachusetts senator has suggested he only wants State.  Another option, Michelle Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense for policy, would be the first female to serve in that position.

There was some discussion of National Security Adviser Tom Donilon moving across the river, but it seems clear, sources say, that he’s staying where he is.

If Lew leaves to take the position at Treasury, some possible replacements for him as chief of staff include deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough or Vice President Joe Biden’s current chief of staff Ron Klain.  Tom Nides, deputy secretary of state for management and resources, has also been discussed.

Obama’s senior adviser David Plouffe has also long discussed leaving the White House.  There are many options to fill his shoes, including the elevation of communications director Dan Pfeiffer.  Also possible: bringing back former press secretary Robert Gibbs, or former deputy chief of staff/campaign manager Jim Messina.  

Another option might be to bring in some of the people who were part of the messaging shop in the campaign: David Simus, who served as director of opinion research for the campaign, or Larry Grisolano, who did ads for campaign.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov202012

US Officials Emphasize ‘De-escalating’ Gaza Violence

State Department photo/ Public Domain(WASHINGTON) -- As news reports emerged Tuesday of a ceasefire or truce to end the crisis in Gaza, American officials made it a point not to use either of those terms.

Instead, U.S. officials were talking about “de-escalating” the violence in Gaza as a step toward a long-term resolution.

Briefing White House reporters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes repeatedly said “de-escalation” was the goal for ending the violence in Gaza and Israel.

When asked if he was avoiding using the term “ceasefire,” Rhodes said, "No, I mean, there are many ways that you can achieve the goal of a de-escalation.” He added, "Our bottom line is, is an end to rocket fire. We’re open to any number of ideas for achieving that goal. We’ve discussed any number of ideas for accomplishing that goal. But it’s going to have to begin with a reduction of tensions and space created for the situation to calm. ”

At the State Department briefing earlier in the day, spokesperson Victoria Nuland was also using “de-escalation.”

Nuland was asked several times why she was using that term instead of “ceasefire” or “truce.”  She indicated it was because the State Department did not want to get into characterizing acceptable terminology.  “I’m not going to characterize X is acceptable, Y is not acceptable. That’s a subject for negotiation,” she said.

Furthermore, she said, “because the parties are talking, we’re going to be part of that, and we’re not going to negotiate it here from the podium. We’re not going to characterize it here from the podium.”

The message she did want to get across was that “any de-escalation is a step forward.”

Of the long-term aims of Secretary of State Clinton’s last-minute mission to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo, Nuland said you “obviously start with a de-escalation of this conflict.”  From there, “we have to see an end to the rocket fire on Israel. We have to see a restoration of calm in Gaza. And the hope is that if we can get through those stages, that will create space for the addressing of broader issues, but I don’t want to prejudge. This is obviously ongoing and live diplomacy.”

Before her meeting in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Clinton too avoided using the term “ceasefire.”

After describing America’s commitment to Israel’s security as “rock-solid and unwavering,” Clinton said, “That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation in Gaza.”

Clinton said that the rocket attacks into Israel from Gaza “must end and a broader calm restored.”  She added that the focus was on "a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security and legitimate aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov202012

House Republicans Write Obama Letter Opposing Susan Rice Nomination

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Although they have no say in her possible confirmation proceedings, 97 House Republicans have spoken out loud and clear about their opposition to President Obama nominating United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice as the next secretary of state.

Rice has come under attack by the GOP and some Democrats for initially stating that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11 was the result of a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Islam movie.

The Republican lawmakers, in a letter to the White House Monday, alleged that Rice, who was working off talking points from the CIA, "either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi affair."

It was eight days after Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed that "the American people learn(ed)...that the intelligence services quickly considered the attack an act of terrorism and that al Qaeda may have played a role," according to the letter.

In spite of Obama and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, defending Rice, the House Republicans claimed she "caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world...we strongly oppose any efforts to nominate Ambassador Susan Rice for the position of Secretary of State" to replace outgoing envoy Hillary Clinton.

Obama hasn't made an announcement yet as to his pick for secretary of state, which will come down to the Senate affirming his selection.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov182012

Obama Asks for Prayer on Budget Deal

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- Taking a break from deficit negotiations for a whirlwind tour of Southeast Asia, President Obama joked Sunday afternoon as he toured a sacred Buddhist temple that he could use some prayer to help reach a budget deal.

“We’re working on this budget, we’re going to need a lot of prayer for that,” the president told a monk at the Wat Pho Royal Monastery.

The president later explained the quip at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. “I always believe in prayer,” he said. “If a Buddhist monk is wishing me well, I’m going to take whatever good vibes he can give me to try to deal with some challenges back home.”

Shortly after arriving in Bangkok, Obama, accompanied by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, toured the Viharn of the Reclining Buddha, one of the most famous sites in Thailand, and the Eastern Viharn Phra.

Obama and Clinton talked softly with the robed monk as they walked, shoe-less, through the holy temple.

Continuing their private tour through an ornate courtyard known as the Phra Maha Chedi Group Clinton remarked “what a peaceful place” it was.

“If you have 80,000 people here it’s not so peaceful,” the president noted. “This is kind of a treat.”

The president also met and exchanged gifts with ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The president greeted the 84-year-old king at the Siriraj hospital, where he has lived since 2009.

“It’s a great honor to meet with you,” Obama said. “Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. We send greetings from all the people of the United States who are so grateful for the friendship of our two countries and are great admirers of yours – your wisdom and your leadership.”

The king gave Obama several gifts including one for the First Lady. “Oh, thank you, Michelle, my wife [will] appreciate it,” Obama said.

“She’ll look very good in that color, Mr. President,” Clinton remarked.

In return, the president gave the king a photo album with pictures of all the U.S. presidents and first ladies he has met, starting with Dwight Eisenhower and continuing through George W Bush.

“We left the last page blank,” Obama said, so they could add a photo of themselves.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov062012

Will Hillary Clinton’s Next Vote for President Be for Herself?

Astrid Riecken/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has emphatically stated she plans to step down from her post and retire from politics regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s s election.  But as she casts her vote on Tuesday, political pundits and fans will undoubtedly begin the speculation over whether the next presidential vote she casts in four years will be for herself.

Clinton has repeatedly said she has no desire to run for president again, and will leave politics after serving her one term as Secretary of State.  

Just last month, The Wall Street Journal published an in-depth profile where the former first lady and Senator said she had ruled out another presidential campaign.

“It’s important for me to step off this incredibly high wire I’ve been on,” she said, “to take stock of the rest of my life.”  

It’s a refrain Clinton has repeated in nearly every interview given over the last year, but that hasn’t stopped the political guessing game.  As Secretary of State, Clinton has enjoyed her highest popularity ratings in her more that 20 years of public life.  Websites are devoted to following her career and encouraging her to run, and before the 2012 election is even over, there’s even someone selling Hillary 2016 sweatshirts online.

Clinton is popular globally as well.  The Journal writes that during her last visit to Beijing in September, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo joked with the 65-year-old over dinner, telling her, “You will still be young when you are president.”

She’ll be 69 in November of 2016.

Former President Bill Clinton told ABC News’ Jake Tapper back in April that no matter what his wife decides to do next, he will support her.

“I’ll say what I’ve said all my life.  When I met her, I thought she was the most gifted person in my generation for public service.  I still feel that way.  I’m immensely proud of her,” said President Clinton.  “But if she comes home and we do this foundation stuff the rest of our lives, I’ll be happy.  If she changes her mind and decides to run, I’ll be happy.  But that’s light years away.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep252012

Mideast Unrest Tops Hillary Clinton's Agenda at Start of UN Meeting

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stacked her first full day of diplomacy at this year’s annual U.N. General Assembly meeting, also known as UNGA, by meeting with the leaders of some of the United States’ most challenging allies in a region marred by recent civil unrest.

Clinton had sit-down meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Libyan President Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, before ending the evening Monday holding talks with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

The secretary and her delegation met with Morsi and his delegation for nearly an hour, according to senior State Department officials.  One official described the meeting as “very relaxed and warm,” and said that Morsi began the meeting by affirming Egypt’s commitment to protecting U.S. diplomatic missions, and told Clinton that the Egyptian government understands it has a duty to protect embassies and it’s a duty he takes seriously.

The official pointed out that since the initial violent protests on Sept. 11, Egypt has faced many more, but there have been no further incidents of damage to U.S. embassies and consulates -- a sign security forces are doing their jobs.

At a late Monday night briefing, the official also said that Clinton and Morsi discussed Egypt’s relationship with Israel under the new Muslim Brotherhood-led government.  The official said Morsi repeated previous statements affirming that Egypt has every intention of honoring the Camp David treaty with Israel and continues to work on keeping good communication lines open between the countries.

Both state department officials acknowledged that Egypt has a tough road ahead in shaping its new democracy but that Clinton assured Morsi that despite the call by some lawmakers for Egypt’s aid to be cut, she will continue to advocate for U.S. financial support.

“We understand that there may be members who have questions, but that there is strong bipartisan support for Egypt being a democratic success, because it’s in our national security interest that that occur,” one official said.

Egypt’s plan to include Iran in any negotiations regarding the end of bloodshed in Syria was met with heavy skepticism by Clinton and her delegation.  Calling it a small part in the conversation, an official would not dismiss Egypt’s initiative entirely, but said that the United States always has “concerns when Iran is engaged.”

Although the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims, which sparked global protests across the Muslim world, was brought up briefly in the meeting, the official said, Morsi understood the film was not a reflection of the U.S. government and acknowledged that it should not be used an excuse for violence.

Secretary Clinton’s meeting with Pakistan President Zardari, however, began by discussing the video, despite the continued issues between the two countries, including the use of drones, the jailing of the doctor who helped with the operation to kill Osama bin Laden, and the declaration of the Haqqani network as a terror group.

“The meeting today with President Zardari started again on the recent violence caused by the video,” said another senior State Department official with authority to comment.  “We have had extremely good support from Pakistani security sources in protecting our posts and our personnel, and we spent quite a bit of time talking about the violence throughout the region.”

After they finished talking about the video, they turned to issues of counterterrorism, where Clinton and Zardari agreed to support a joint counterterrorism working group that will meet throughout the year.

Clinton’s most verbally and publicly pleasant greeting was reserved for Libyan President Magariaf, whom she thanked again for the outpouring of support the Libyan people have shown America after the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomats earlier this month.

“The United States was proud to stand with you and the Libyan people as you fought for your country last year,” Clinton said.  “And we will continue to stand with you as you now write Libya’s new future as a democracy that will give all of your people a chance to have a better future.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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