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Entries in Hillary Clinton (78)

Thursday
Apr262012

President Michelle Obama? ‘Absolutely Not’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama made clear Thursday that she does not plan to follow in Hillary Clinton’s footsteps and run for president after her husband leaves office.

“Absolutely not,” the first lady declared Thursday, when a girl at the White House for its "Take Your Daughters And Sons To Work Day,” asked if she will ever run for president.

“One of the things you learn about yourself as you get older are what are your strengths and what are your interests,” she said.  ”And for me, it’s other stuff, that is not being the president. So I probably won’t run.”

In fielding questions from the youngsters, the first lady expressed confidence that her husband will win reelection and that she’ll be in her current role for another four years.”

“When my husband is running for president, we’re right in there; we’re serving, too,” she said. “And I think that once his terms are over, we’ll go on to do other important things — because there are so many ways that you can help this country and the world, even if you’re not president of the United States,” she said.

Mrs. Obama revealed that what she most wants to do is “sneak around.” Asked if she would change anything about the position of first lady, she said she yearns to ditch her security detail and go for a walk.

“I’ve done it a couple of times. But you know, one fantasy I have — and the Secret Service, they keep looking at me because they think I might actually do it — is to walk right out the front door and just keep walking,” she said laughing. “Just go right over there and go into some shops, and stop and have some ice cream.”

“But I can’t do that. I can’t just up and decide, ‘I think I’m going to go for a walk’ and… I’m going to walk to Georgetown. So if I could change something, I’d be able to sneak around a little bit more. But it causes people a lot of stress when I do that so I try not to,” she said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

Poll: First Lady, Ann Romney More Popular Than Their Husbands

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Michelle Obama and Ann Romney outscore their husbands in personal popularity in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, while Hillary Clinton, for her part, has hit a new high in favorability data stretching back to her entry on the national stage 20 years ago.

Clinton and Obama both are far better known than Romney, helping boost them to much higher popularity ratings overall.  All three are rated unfavorably by roughly similar numbers: 24 percent for Obama, 27 percent for Clinton and 30 percent for Romney.

All told, Obama is seen favorably by 69 percent of the public and unfavorably by 24 percent -- not her best rating (76-16 percent in March 2009) but a broadly positive one.  Her favorability rating is 13 points higher than her husband’s; her unfavorable score, 16 points lower.

Romney’s rating is 40-30 percent favorable-unfavorable in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.  While much less positive than Obama’s, some of that has to do with Romney’s shorter time in the spotlight: 30 percent are undecided about her, compared with 7 percent undecided about Obama.

Romney, in any case, does better than her husband’s 35-47 percent rating last week.  She’s a scant 5 points higher than Mitt Romney in favorability, but a broader 17 points lower in unfavorable ratings.  As noted last week, Mitt Romney’s basic popularity ratings are the weakest for any presumptive presidential nominee in ABC/Post polls during primary seasons since 1984.

Clinton’s ratings are much like Obama’s -- 65-27 percent favorable-unfavorable, a numerical high for Clinton by a single point.  That reflects a turnaround from the 2008 presidential campaign, in which she lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama.  At this time four years ago, she was seen unfavorably by 54 percent of Americans, favorably by 44 percent.

Clinton likely is boosted by her current position: As secretary of state, she’s prominent as a representative of U.S. interests and concerns overseas, without engaging in the controversial to-and-fro of domestic politics.  Note too that her husband, also largely outside the fray of domestic politics these days, had an equally positive 67-29 percent favorable-unfavorable rating in a Pew poll last month, much like his wife’s, and also like Michelle Obama’s, today.

There are differences in intensity of sentiment.  Michelle Obama is viewed strongly favorably by 38 percent of Americans, strongly unfavorably by 12 percent.  Hillary Clinton’s ratings are 33 percent strongly positive vs. 13 percent strongly negative.  Intensity of views on Ann Romney are evenly divided: 11 percent strongly favorable, 13 percent strongly unfavorable.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

State Department Budget Gets Pushback in Senate

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emerged from two back-to-back Senate committees Tuesday without clear momentum for the fiscal year 2013 State Department budget.

The agency has requested $54.7 billion in funding, an increase of 2.6 percent. Clinton says the request represents slightly over one percent of the total federal budget and doesn’t cover the rate of inflation.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called the proposal “budgeting by inertia” and said it disproportionately allocated resources to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan given rising issues in East Asia and the Americas. Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee responsible for the State Department budget.

“It’s going to be difficult to get a bill through this year,” Leahy said.

But “painful cuts” had already hit the department, according to Clinton, including an 18percent decrease in funding for Eurasian programs.

The U.S. presence in Iraq was a target for critics, with Leahy singling out a $4.8 billion request for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Such an expenditure, he said, was a “symbol of grandiose and unrealistic ambitions in that country.”

Clinton told the panel the embassy was still in the process of “right-sizing” its resources. Earlier this month it was announced State had would cut 10 percent of funding from the program.

The State Department budget includes a new $770 million fund that Clinton says would be used exclusively for unexpected issues to arise in the Middle East and North Africa. According to the secretary, during the early days of the Arab Spring the State Department had to “carve out” $360 million from existing programs to support U.S. efforts, a tactic that proved logistically “awkward.” The new fund would be a savings bank specifically for unanticipated regional issues.

Secretary Clinton says it was inspired by a similar program used during the fall of the Soviet Union to counter hunger in Poland and Hungary.

Clinton faced panels from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on State, Foreign Relations, and Related Projects.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb132012

Bill Clinton Struggled to Deal With Lewinsky Affair, Film Says

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Bill Clinton apparently struggled with whether to talk publicly about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, as his aides were surprised, even dismayed, about his relationship with the 23-year-old.

A new documentary focusing on Clinton’s life and presidency reveals that he contacted pollster Dick Morris to gauge whether he should come out with the truth when news of the affair broke.

“He said, ‘Ever since I got here to the White House I’ve had to shut my body down sexually, I mean, but I screwed up with this girl. I didn’t do what they said I did, but I may have done so much that I can’t prove my innocence,’” Morris recalls in the film Clinton, which was written and directed by Barak Goodman.

“And I said to him, ‘The problem that presidents have is not the sin, it’s the cover-up and you should explore just telling the American people the truth.’ He said, ‘Really, do you think I could do that?’ And I said, ‘Let me test it, let me run a poll.’ So I took a poll and I tested popular attitudes on that and I called him back and I said, ‘They will forgive the adultery, but they won’t easily forgive that you lied,’” Morris says in the documentary to air on PBS next week.

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Meanwhile, several of Clinton’s aides were convinced he was set up.

“He’s got all these enemies who are out to get him,” Clinton’s labor secretary, Robert Reich, said in the film. “He wouldn’t be so stupid as to jeopardize his entire presidency. For what? No, that was not the Bill Clinton I knew.”

Clinton first denied the affair that broke out in the news media in 1998, famously saying he “did not have sexual relations with that woman.” He later admitted to oral sex with the young intern and said his relationship with Lewinsky was wrong and inappropriate.

“I am profoundly sorry for all I have done wrong in words and in deeds,” he said Dec. 11, 1998. “I never should have misled the country, the Congress, my friends or my family. Quite simply, I gave in to my shame.”

Although his subsequent impeachment made him only the second U.S. president to be impeached, Clinton’s aides say that in a way, the former president himself set up barriers that he could then leap across and he was always confident he could find his way back.

“How many second chances does any one person deserve?” his former press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, said in the film. “Clinton’s view is as many second chances as a person is willing to try to take. As many times as you fail, don’t you deserve the chance to redeem yourself? Isn’t history loaded with people who have fallen and gotten up, fallen and gotten up and done great things?”

Clinton declined to comment on the film.

The documentary also details the challenges Hillary Clinton faced as first lady. Clinton was, behind the scenes, a powerful force in the White House but aides said her strengths often turned into his weaknesses.

“Voters thought that it was a zero-sum game, that for Hillary to be strong, Bill would have to be weak, and as a result the perception of Hillary’s strength became a perception of Bill’s weakness,” Morris said.

Hillary Clinton was blamed by many for a weak turnout in the 1994 election and for the failure of the administration’s health care reform plan in 1993 that failed to gain momentum.

“She was outspoken, she was smart, she was hard driving, and some people resented her,” Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes said in the film. “Remember during the campaign, it was two for the price of one, well people aren’t electing two for the price of one. They’re electing the president.”

The documentary airs on PBS Feb. 20-21, as part of  its American Experience series.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan262012

Hillary Clinton Ready to Step Off ‘High Wire of American Politics’

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It’s not the first time she’s said she’s leaving government service after her current job, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton definitively said Thursday that she wants out of politics.

During a town hall meeting with State Department employees Clinton said she is ready to step off “the high wire of American politics.” She said she’s paying no attention to the battle for the Republican presidential nomination and hasn’t watched any of the debates.

It is not clear what she would do after leaving the Obama administration, but Clinton’s departure from public life would end a husband and wife dynasty in American politics after Bill Clinton’s two terms as president, her time as a senator from New York and her tenure as secretary of state.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec272011

President Obama, Hillary Clinton Named Most Admired Americans

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- When asked without prompting to name the living man and woman whom they most admire in the world, more Americans name Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton than any other figures.

The Gallup rankings, tallied from a nationwide poll conducted earlier this month, show Obama and Clinton each receiving 17 percent of all mentions.  

Clinton tops the list of most admired woman for a record 16th time, trailed by Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, and Condoleezza Rice.

Obama won the title of most admired man for the fourth consecutive year, followed by George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, the Rev. Billy Graham, and Warren Buffett.

The lists, which Gallup has compiled nearly every year since 1948, are a mix of popular, high-profile leaders in politics, business, charitable causes, and entertainment.

Of particular note this year, according to Gallup, are newcomers to the men’s list: Buffett and Thomas Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"It is common for the president of the Mormon Church to receive mentions, but Monson is the first to make the top 10," Gallup managing editor Jeffrey Jones wrote on its blog.

On the women’s list, Sarah Palin fell from her second-place slot, which she has held since 2008, to fourth place.  

Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich are the only two Republican presidential candidates to make the lists.

Bachmann holds the ninth-place slot, with two percent of mentions as most admired woman, tied with Queen Elizabeth II.

Gingrich is tied for sixth place with Donald Trump, with one percent, barely above Pope Benedict XVI, Bill Gates, and Monson for most admired man.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct312011

Poll: Hillary Clinton Favored for VP if Biden Bows Out

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden says he’s “absolutely, positively” going to be President Obama’s running mate in 2012.  But if he wasn’t?

A plurality of Americans would strongly prefer Hillary Clinton to step in to assume the VP role, according to a new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll.

Forty-three percent of adults said they favored Clinton as a Biden replacement when presented with a list of possible names by pollsters.  

Billionaire businessman Warren Buffett, CIA director David Petraeus, Oprah Winfrey and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo all received single-digit support in the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Clinton has remained a highly popular figure with voters, insulated from the political fallout over the lagging economy in her role as secretary of state.  A recent Gallup poll found 66 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of her, compared with 46 percent for Biden.

In a March interview with CNN, Clinton announced that she would leave her post if Obama won re-election. She also ruled out running for the presidency again, or joining Obama on the 2012 ticket.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct242011

GOP Contenders Lambast US Troop Withdrawal from Iraq

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Veering away from the economy and other domestic issues that have been their chief focus, the GOP presidential contenders on Sunday blasted a slated Dec. 31 pull-out of all but 150 U.S. troops from Iraq as a capitulation to the Iraqi government that imperils the still tenuous region.

Referring to the Iraqi government's refusal to shield any remaining U.S. troops from prosecution in Iraqi courts, Michele Bachmann said on Sunday that the Iraqis "disrespected" the very country that had overthrown their former dictator, Saddam Hussein.

She equated the coming pull-out with being "kicked out," and said Iraq should repay the United States the $700 billion it has spent waging war there.

"They're not a poor country.  They're a wealthy country," the Minnesota Congresswoman said on CBS' Face the Nation.

"I think that they need to do that, because what we will be leaving behind is a nation that is very fragile and will be subject to dominance by Iran and their influence in the region," she said.  "That's not good."

"It's going to leave a big vacuum in Iraq," former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain said on Face the Nation.

"We've lost the battle in Iraq with the Iraqi government," former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said on Face the Nation.  "We've lost this sphere of influence that we had."

Dismissing the GOP attack as disingenuous, Secretary of State Clinton countered on ABC's This Week With Christiane Amanpour that the withdrawal deadline was set before President Obama took office.

"Remember that it was President Bush who set the timetable in motion by agreeing with the Iraqis that all troops would be out by the end of this year," she said.  "And, of course, President Obama promised the American people that the troops would be out by the end of this year."

Despite the Republicans' accusations that the United States would be abandoning Iraq and leaving the door open for Iran to wield its influence there, Clinton said there would still be a strong U.S. presence in the region, and dialogue and support for Iraq would not end.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct242011

Hillary Clinton Defends Obama’s Handling of National Security

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Now that Osama bin Laden, Moammar Gadhafi and Anwar al-Awlaki have meet their end under President Obama’s term in office, how does Hillary Clinton feel about Obama’s ability to handle national security issues, namely those “3 a.m. calls” she implied he wouldn’t be able to handle during the 2008 presidential primary campaign?

“President Obama has passed with flying colors every leadership challenge,” Clinton said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Asked about her accusation during their heated battle for the Democratic nomination that Obama wouldn’t be able to handle emergencies, the secretary of state, who by many accounts works well with the president, defended her boss.

“I think this president has demonstrated that, in a still very dangerous world, it’s important to have someone at the helm of our country who understands how to manage what is an incredibly complex world now,” she said.  “Yes, we have a lot of threats, but we also have opportunities, and I think President Obama has grasped that and has performed extraordinarily well.”

But though she praised Obama, she declined to wade back into politics.

“I’m out of politics, as you know, David [Gregory, host of Meet the Press].  I don’t comment on it.  But I think Americans are going to want to know that they have a steady, experienced, smart hand on the tiller of the ship of state, and there’s no doubt that that’s Barack Obama,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct032011

Activists Protest Relationship Between Lobbyist, Obama Administration

American actress Daryl Hannah sits in front of the White House in Washington, DC, Aug. 30, 2011, during a protest against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Hannah was among dozens of protestors arrested in a demonstration against the oil pipeline which, if constructed, would run from Canada to Texas. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Opponents of a proposed $7 billion Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline say emails between an oil company lobbyist and the Obama administration reveal a pattern of “deeply disturbing” bias and corruption that undermines an impartial government assessment of the deal.

Friends of the Earth, an environmental group that obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request, has been publishing the documents online in an effort to ratchet up pressure on the State Department, which is considering approval of the so-called Keystone XL project by the end of the year.

The emails show frequent, friendly and collaborative interactions between Paul Elliott, a lobbyist for TransCanada, the pipeline’s owner, and State Department staffers in Washington and Ottawa. Elliott is a former campaign aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Activists say the “most disturbing document” is an exchange between Elliott and Maria Verloop, a State Department energy and environmental issues counselor, in which Verloop cheers Elliott’s success in winning support from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., for the pipeline.

“Go Paul! Baucus support holds clout,” she wrote in a Sept. 10, 2010, email.

Elliott responded to Verloop later that day, saying lobbying “is a grind but when the grind pays off with support it makes it worthwhile.”

In a December 2010 email, Verloop told Elliott that “it’s precisely because you have connections that you’re sought after and hired.”

Critics say the exchanges and dozens more like them depict inappropriately “cozy” relations between Elliott and the department, even if there is no sign of illegality.

“If President Obama remains true to his campaign promise that his election would mean an end to the days of lobbyists setting the agenda in Washington, he has no choice but to rescind the executive order delegating to the State Department the authority to sign a presidential permit for this pipeline,” Friends of the Earth said in a statement on its website.

“If the pipeline decision is made in the White House, rather than at the biased State Department, and if President Obama undertakes a fair and impartial analysis of the evidence, we believe he will reject this pipeline,” the group said.

Neither Clinton nor Obama have signaled their views on the pipeline, and administration officials insist the independent vetting process remains underway. Clinton is the final arbiter of the deal, which she is expected to rule on by the end of the year.

Nuland said the documents depict only one side of multi-lateral consultations surrounding the pipeline. She also said no contact has occurred between Elliott and any administration staffers with direct influence on the final approval process.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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