Archive for Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hillary Clinton: I’m secretary of state, not my husband

August 11, 2009


— Hillary Clinton has a message for the world: It’s not all about Bill.

The secretary of state bristled Monday when — as she heard it — a Congolese university student asked what her husband thought about an international financial matter.

She hadn’t traveled to Africa to talk about her husband the ex-president. But even there, she couldn’t escape his outsized shadow.

She abruptly reclaimed the stage for herself.

“My husband is not secretary of state, I am,” she snapped. “I am not going to be channeling my husband.”

Clinton’s presence, so bold in her historic presidential candidacy against Barack Obama, has sometimes been hard to see in the months she’s served as the supposed face and voice of U.S. foreign policy.

The president’s ambitious travels have overshadowed her, heavyweight special envoys have been assigned to the world’s critical hotspots, Vice President Joe Biden has taken on assignments abroad — and then last week her husband succeeded in a North Korean mission to free two journalists even as she landed in Africa on a seven-nation trip.

“You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?” she asked incredulously when the student raised a question about a multibillion-dollar Chinese loan offer to Congo.

“If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion,” she said. “I am not going to be channeling my husband.”

The moderator quickly moved on.

State Department officials said the student talked to Clinton afterward and told her he had meant to ask what Obama, not Bill Clinton, thought about the Chinese loan. A senior Clinton aide said that Mrs. Clinton assured the student not to worry about it.


Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 10 months ago

I can see how it would be easy to get confused about the president the Bill Clinton. (sarcasm) Mrs. Clinton responded in the best way. I think she should be straightforward and direct.

think_about_it 8 years, 10 months ago

I saw the video on the BBC news last night and I shot whiskey out my nose. Especially when the broadcaster said that the student was asking about Obama.

What a wretch.

Dan Edwards 8 years, 10 months ago

What this article fails to mention is that the question was asked in french and it was the interpreter who screwed up the translation. Here's what he said:

"We've all heard about the Chinese contracts in this county, the interferences from the World Bank against this contract. What does Mr. Clinton think, through the mouth of Mrs. Clinton, and what does Mr. Mutombo think on this situation?"

See Reuters here:

Not that the facts should matter to the knee-jerk sexists on this site.

puddleglum 8 years, 10 months ago

Bill Clinton was actually the most popular president during his years of president.

the cigar trick is outstanding, and repubs were only mad 'cause they didn't think of it first.

Dan Edwards 8 years, 10 months ago

LMAO, like a man wouldn't have responded any differently if asked for his wife's opinion.

What did you want her to do, courtsey and bat her eyelashes?

"harpy" eh? Nice word choice--reveals your sexism very nicely.

Ceallach 8 years, 10 months ago

She ain't got a face for poker, that's for sure. If looks could kill!! Wow, Hil, you gotta use some self control in diplomatic situations. Although I do think she has been treated shabbily by her president and her husband.

myvotecounts 8 years, 10 months ago

Ceallach (Anonymous) says…

"She ain't got a face for poker, that's for sure. If looks could kill!! Wow, Hil, you gotta use some self control in diplomatic situations. Although I do think she has been treated shabbily by her president and her husband."

Agreed. I think Obama's administration is "managing" her, and she's not taking it well. But she's not a victim of her husband; she's an enabler. Enablers enable for their own selfish reasons.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 10 months ago

lets all feel sorry for Hillary because she's being shuffled into the dark corner while Obama sends anyone and everyone (except her highness Hillary) out to handle foreign policy. did he put her in this position just to keep a thumb on her?

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 10 months ago

Oh, come on! So a woman stands up in public and tells people what she thinks. I think she did right. She had to respond to the question that was actually asked not the one that was meant. I am very angry at the idea that others can say whatever they want to me and I have to be polite in my response. Why? Now that I am an old woman I am going to speak my mind, and yes, sometimes, I may be rude. I haven't got time to waste being nice little girly girl any more.

Kirk Larson 8 years, 10 months ago

If a man had responded such, he would be admired for standing up for his place in the administration. Some people still can't deal with powerful women and have to demean them by calling them shrill or b!tchy. Oh well, progress comes slowly if at all.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 10 months ago

blue got it right. this isn't about standing up for herself. it's about presenting grace in an undesirable situation. She lost her temper over a question. whether the person asking it meant what they said or not, she responded in a fairly unprofessional manner. She is the secretary of state, and she should have a better grasp on her emotions.

myvotecounts 8 years, 10 months ago

I agree with blue and AreU. It was a caustic and inappropriate response that was beneath the office she holds. It would have been regardless of the gender of who said it.

rivercitymom 8 years, 10 months ago

The irony of all this is Hillary is there to let it be known that the U.S. is not going to put up with the atrocious misogyny and use of rape as a war method, but instead all we get from the media is this story about "Hillary's insecurities."

I've had it with the media's treatment of Hillary Clinton. They can shove it in between their Cialis and Extenze ads.

Practicality 8 years, 10 months ago

Gotta love it!

Hillary gets elected as a Senator because she is married to Bill. Hillary almost wins the Democratic Ticket for President, because she is married to Bill. Hillary gets appointed as Secretary of State because she is married to Bill. Yet, if someone asks her about what Bill thinks, she screams "I am my own person!" LOL

bad_dog 8 years, 10 months ago

"The point is, Condi would have answered more politely, and did a thousand times to questions more insulting."

No, the point is Condi would have have politely lied with a straight face, as she did a thousand times to questions more meaningful.

Dan Edwards 8 years, 10 months ago

Condi would never have been asked for her husband's opinion, because Condi has never been married, much less to a former POTUS. I think it's safe to assume that none of us knows what Condi would have done.

rivercitymom 8 years, 10 months ago

You know, if I were in Hillary's place and had been asked that question after days of hearing horrific story after horrific story about the incredible violence (rape, expecially) visited on the women and girls in the Congo, I think I would have done just exactly as she had. She HAD to put that jackass in his place (and she had no idea the question had been mis-translated) to stand up for herself and the women she is there to help. You have to remember that women are basically less than cattle, or maybe "speaking cattle" in that country. There are many young girls in Africa who suffer obstetrical fistula (look it up) which happens when they are raped, sold to the highest bidder, whatever and forced to give birth before their bodies are ready. Then, when they can't control their bladders and bowels (from the fistula) they are cast out. And if they don't get medical help (and most don't, they are illiterate and live in remote areas, after all) they die from infections or live the rest of their lives urinating and defecating themselves.

Yes, it's icky. And those are just stories from girls/women "lucky" enough to live through the abuse. Hillary is one of the few women leaders in the world that stands up and says "enough"!

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 10 months ago

Rivercitymom, you have the best comment by far on this subject. You put it a lot better than I could have. And we should not keep silent on this subject because it is not "nice". We as American women need to know the truth about what women in third world countries go though. To turn away in polite disgust would be obscene. I am quite aware of what you write about and I find it horrifying. Thank you for writing this.

Godot 8 years, 10 months ago

There she is in Congo, hearing about the atrocities committed against women, sitting onstage in oppressive heat in her oppressive pantsuit, having a really bad hair day, fuming about all the adulation Bill got for his rescue in North Korea, and wondering what he is up to in Vegas where is he celebrating his 63 birthday, and she gets question like that. IMHO, she showed remarkable restraint. Good thing there weren't any vases or platters nearby.

snoozey 8 years, 10 months ago

How anybody could have any respect at all for Hillary Clinton is beyond me - I find her to be a self-centered grubbing politico with no interest outside her own ambitions. I think she let slip a peep at her true self with that reporter's question. I'd be more inclined to believe events on the wrestling channel than her concern for the good of mankind.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 10 months ago

Her cankles were probably hurtin' her. I feel sooo bad for her. ha ha ha ha ha! What if Condy Rice had behaved this way, the liberal media would have had a hay day.

beatrice 8 years, 10 months ago

"What if Condy Rice had behaved this way, the liberal media would have had a hay day."

Um, you mean the way they are treating Clinton now with this stupid story?

Speaking of sweet, sweet Condi Rice, here is a story about her fine behavior in the news recently -- which makes Clinton seem down-right polite by comparison:

"Condoleezza Rice may be willing to compromise at a Middle East negotiating table - but not at a jewelry counter.

Coit Blacker, a Stanford professor who is one of the secretary of state's closest friends, recalls going into a shop where Rice asked to see earrings. The clerk showed her costume jewelry. Rice asked to see something nicer, prompting the clerk to whisper some sass under her breath.

Blacker remembers Rice tearing the woman to shreds.

"Let's get one thing straight," he recalls her saying. "You are behind the counter because you have to work for minimum wage. I'm on this side asking to see the good jewelry because I make considerably more."

A manager quickly brought Rice better baubles."

verity 8 years, 10 months ago

Oh, the sweet smell of hypocrisy in the evening. I didn't see the extreme righties complaining about Ms. Palin being a b**** when she showed her "true self." She was just doing what she should do to defend herself.

Did it ever occur to any of you misogynists that perhaps Bill Clinton would never have been president had it not been for Hillary?

Bravo to Hillary for standing up for herself and for all women, and thanks, rivercitymom for your story. Unfortunately that and a lot worse still goes on in many parts of the world.

Ceallach 8 years, 10 months ago

Wow, I hardly know myself any more.

If I say anything about Hillary, I'm a misogynist; if I disagree with President Obama, I'm a racist; and if I believe in God, I'm an idiot.

Seems I need to put myself in "time out" until I can get a grip :P

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