Sunday Video Round-Up: Secretary Clinton on ALL the Talk Shows
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Secretary Clinton took a very strong line regarding the regime today and I think she did a great job with a very delicate situation. For the first time she has called for free and fair elections in Egypt and that sends a very strong message. She made it clear we will support democracy but we can’t make it solely about the U.S. I would add to that that it is a mistake for US commentators to simply focus on the US-Israel-Egypt axis because ultimately this is about the Egyptian people- these protests are not about anti-US or anti-Israel sentiment but rather it is about economic, political and social justice.
State of the Union (CNN)
Meet the Press:
QUESTION: Here with me now for the very latest on the crisis, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Madam Secretary, welcome back to Meet the Press.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, David.
QUESTION: I know our time with you is limited. Let me get right to it. On Monday, you said that the Egyptian Government was stable and was looking for ways to respond to the wishes of the people. Have you changed your view?
SECRETARY CLINTON: David, this is a very volatile situation, and I think that as we monitor it closely we continue to urge the Egyptian Government, as the United States has for 30 years, to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people and begin to take concrete steps to implement democratic and economic reform. At the same time, we recognize that we have to deal with the situation as it is, and we are heartened by what we hear from our contacts that, at least thus far, the army has been trying to bring a sense of order without violence. And we have to make a distinction, as they are attempting to do, between peaceful protestors whose aspirations need to be addressed, and then those who take advantage of such a situation for looting or other criminal activity.
And we have a very clear message: Long-term stability rests on responding to the legitimate needs of the Egyptian people, and that is what we want to see happen.
QUESTION: Are you calling the regime of Hosni Mubarak stable this morning?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m not going to get into either/or choices. What we’re saying is that any efforts by this government to respond to the needs of their people, to take steps that will result in a peaceful, orderly transition to a democratic regime, is what is in the best interests of everyone, including the current government.
QUESTION: You’ve talked about the steps that are necessary for the regime to take in order to really respond to the wishes of the people, your spokesman, P.J. Crowley, put on Twitter yesterday that, “The Egyptian Government can’t reshuffle the deck and then stand pat. President Mubarak’s words pledging reform must be followed by action.”
Are you calling upon Egypt to call for free and fair elections, and will you ask Mubarak to say unequivocally that he will not run?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We have been urging free and fair election for many years. I mean, I do think it’s important to recognize that through Republican and Democratic administrations alike, America’s message has been consistent. We want to see free and fair elections, and we expect that that will be one of the outcomes of what is going on in Egypt right now. So we have been sending that message over and over again, publicly and privately, and we continue to do so.
QUESTION: But is the only way that Mubarak stays in power for now is if he calls immediately for free and fair elections and pledges that he will not run?
SECRETARY CLINTON: David, these issues are up to the Egyptian people, and they have to make these decisions. But our position is very clear. We have urged for 30 years that there be a vice president, and finally a vice president was announced just a day or two ago. So we have tried to, in our partnership with Egypt, to make the point over and over again about what will create a better pathway for the Egyptian people in terms of greater participation with political reforms and greater economic opportunity.
I spoke about this very clearly in Doha, it seems like a long time ago but just about two weeks ago, where I outlined that whatever was possible in the 20th century is no longer possible for regimes in the 21st century. The world is moving too fast. There is too much information. People’s aspirations and certainly the rise of middle classes throughout the world demand responsive, participatory government. And that is what we expect to see happen.
QUESTION: Well, I just want to pin you down on this, Secretary Clinton. Do you think that the Mubarak regime has taken the necessary steps to retain power?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I think that there are many, many steps that have to be taken. And it’s not a question of who retains power. That should not be the issue. It’s how are we going to respond to the legitimate needs and grievances expressed by the Egyptian people and chart a new path. Clearly, the path that has been followed has not been one that has created that democratic future, that economic opportunity that people in the peaceful protests are seeking.
So it’s our very strong advice, which we have delivered. President Obama spoke with President Mubarak, I’ve spoken with my counterpart, Secretary Gates has spoken with his. This is an ongoing conversation that American officials have had for 30 years. Now is the time to move toward a national dialogue, to take concrete steps, to create the political space for peaceful protest and for the creation of peaceful oppositions that want to help work toward a better future. That is what we want to see.
QUESTION: Should Mubarak lose power? Will the United States offer him sanctuary?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I believe strongly that we are only at the beginning of what is unfolding in Egypt. I’m not going to go into hypotheticals and speculation, other than to say that President Mubarak and his government have been an important partner to the United States. I mean, let’s not just focus on today. This is a government that made and kept a peace with Israel that was incredibly important, avoiding violence, turmoil, death in the region. But so much more has to be done, and that is what we are urging.
QUESTION: But you’d like to see him stay in power?
SECRETARY CLINTON: David, you cannot keep trying to put words in my mouth. I’ve never said that. I don’t intend to say that. I want the Egyptian people to have the chance to chart a new future. It needs to be an orderly, peaceful transition to real democracy, not faux democracy like the elections we saw in Iran two years ago, where you have one election 30 years ago and then the people just keep staying in power and become less and less responsive to their people. We want to see a real democracy that reflects the vibrancy of Egyptian society. And we believe that President Mubarak, his government, civil society, political activists, need to be part of a national dialogue to bring that about.
QUESTION: Before you go, are Americans in danger in Egypt?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We’re working closely with the Egyptian Government to ensure the safety of American citizens. We have authorized a voluntary departure. We’re reaching out to American citizens. As I’m speaking to you at this point, thankfully we do not have any reports of any American citizens killed or injured. We want to keep it that way. So we are just working triple-time here at the State Department to ensure the safety of our Americans.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
Fox News Sunday:
Here is a transcript from her appearance on Fox News Sunday:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
With Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday
QUESTION: Joining us now from the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Secretary, President Obama on Friday called on Mubarak to recognize the rights of the Egyptian people. Are you satisfied with the steps that Mubarak has taken so far?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I don’t think anyone is satisfied, least of all the Egyptian the people, who have legitimate grievances and are seeking greater political freedom, a real path to democracy, and economic opportunity. And for 30 years, the United States, through Republican and Democratic administrations, has been urging the Mubarak government to take certain steps. In fact, we’ve been urging that a vice president be appointed for decades, and that finally has happened.
But there’s a long way to go, Chris, and our hope is that we do not see violence; we see a dialogue opening that reflects the full diversity of Egyptian civil society, that has the concrete steps for democratic and economic reform that President Mubarak himself said that he was going to pursue, and that we see the respect for human rights for Egyptian people and the kind of progress that will lead to a much more open, political, and economic set of opportunities for the Egyptian people.
QUESTION: Secretary, all of your answer has been couched in terms of President Mubarak. Does that mean that the Obama Administration still backs Mubarak as the legitimate president of Egypt?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have been very clear that we want to see a transition to democracy, and we want to see the kind of steps taken that will bring that about. We also want to see an orderly transition. Right now, from everything we know, the army has taken up positions. They are responding very positively thus far to the peaceful protests. But at the same time, we have a lot of reports of looting and criminal activity that is not going to be particularly helpful to what we want to see happen, and that has to be dealt with.
So there are many, many steps along the journey that has been started by the Egyptian people themselves, and we wish to support that.
QUESTION: Secretary, you talk about an orderly transition. How concerned are you that if Mubarak were to be suddenly thrown from power that Islamic radicals could fill the void?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Chris, we want to see an orderly transition so that no one fills a void, that there not be a void – that there be a well thought out plan that will bring about a democratic, participatory government. And I also believe strongly that this is in Egypt’s long-term interests, it’s in the interests of the partnership that the United States has with Egypt. So that is what we are attempting to promote and support, because clearly, what we don’t want is chaos. I don’t think the Egyptian people want that. They want their grievances to be addressed. We also don’t want to see some takeover that would lead not to democracy, but to oppression and the end of the aspirations of the Egyptian people.
So this is an intensely complex situation. It does not lend itself to quick yes-or-no, easy answers, but instead, I think the path that President Obama has charted, that we are pursuing, that calls for no violence, that supports the aspirations and human rights of the Egyptian people, that stands behind concrete steps toward democratic and economic reform is the right path for all of us to be on.
QUESTION: Secretary, on Tuesday, after the protests had already started in Cairo, you said this:
SECRETARY CLINTON: Our assessment is that the Egyptian Government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.
QUESTION: A number of protestors in the streets said based on that remark and other actions that the U.S. was acting on the side of the regime, not of the protestors. Was that statement by you a mistake?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Chris, we recognize the volatility of the situation, and we are trying to do exactly what I have just said – to promote orderly transition and change that will respond to the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people, which is what the protests are all about. I don’t think anyone wants to see instability, chaos, increasing violence. That is not in anyone’s interest.
So what President Obama and I have been doing is sending a very clear message about where the United States stands. We want to see an orderly transition to a democratic government, to economic reforms – exactly what the protestors are seeking. At the same time, we want to recognize Egypt has been our partner. They’ve been our partner in a peace process that has kept the region from war for over 30 years, which has saved a lot of lives – Egyptian lives, Israeli lives, other lives.
We want to continue to make it absolutely a American priority that – what we’ve been saying for 30 years – is that real stability rests in democracy, participation, economic opportunity. How we get from where we are to where we know the Egyptian people want to be and deserve to be is what this is about now. So we are urging the Mubarak government, which is still in power; we are urging the military, which is a very respected institution in Egypt, to do what is necessary to facilitate that kind of orderly transition.
QUESTION: And briefly, Secretary, should Americans currently in Egypt leave the country?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are following the conditions for American citizens extremely closely. This is one of my highest responsibilities, Chris. And we have authorized voluntary departure, which means that we will assist American citizens to leave Egypt. We have warned that there should not be any nonessential travel to Egypt. Thankfully, right now, there are no reports of Americans killed or injured. Again, I thank the Egyptian army for the support and security that they have provided. But we are watching it closely and we are assisting Americans who wish to leave.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, we want to thank you so much for talking with us today.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.
ABC’s ‘This Week with Christiane Amanpour’:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
With Christiane Amanpour of ABC’s This Week
January 30, 2011
QUESTION: Perhaps no one is watching this situation more closely than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and she joins us this morning from the State Department. Has the United States Administration, whether yourself, whether the President or Secretary Gates, told the Egyptian Government specifically that any military crackdown will result in a cutoff of U.S. military assistance?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No. Right now, we’re monitoring the actions of the Egyptian military and they are, as I’m sure your contacts are telling you, demonstrating restraint, working to try to differentiate between peaceful protestors, whom we all support, and potential looters and other criminal elements who are obviously a danger to the Egyptian people. We have sent a very clear message that we want to see restraint. We do not want to see violence by any security forces. And we continue to convey that message. There is no discussion as of this time about cutting off any aid. We always are looking and reviewing our aid.
But right now, we are trying to convey a message that is very clear – that we want to ensure there is no violence and no provocation that results in violence, and that we want to see these reforms and a process of national dialogue begun so that the people of Egypt can see their legitimate grievances addressed.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, do you believe that what President Mubarak has done already, which is to appoint a first-ever vice president and to shuffle the government – does that amount to enough reform? Is that all you’ve asked him to do?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, of course not. But there has been, for 30 years, a both public and private dialogue with the Egyptian Government – sometimes more public, sometimes more private, but all with the same message from Republican and Democratic administrations – that there needs to be reform. One of the items on that long list was appointing a vice president.
That has happened, but that is the beginning, the bare beginning of what needs to happen, which is a process that leads to the kind of concrete steps to achieve democratic and economic reform that we’ve been urging and that President Mubarak himself discussed in his speech the other day.
QUESTION: There are people still on the streets in great numbers. On Tuesday, you said that the U.S. Government’s assessment is that the Government of Egypt is stable. Do you believe that was a mistake or do you think today that the Government of Egypt is stable?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Christiane, I know that everybody wants a yes-or-no answer to what are very complicated issues. Obviously, this is a volatile situation. Egypt has been a partner of the United States for over three decades, has been a partner in achieving historic peace with Israel, a partner in trying to stabilize a region that is subject to a lot of challenges. And we have been consistent across those three decades in arguing that real stability only comes from the kind of democratic participation that gives people a chance to feel that they are being heard.
And by that, I mean real democracy, not a democracy for six months or a year and then evolving into essentially a military dictatorship, or a so-called democracy that then leads to what we saw in Iran. So we’ve been very clear about what is in Egypt’s long-term interests, and we continue to be clear. And that is what we want to see come from this very – this great outpouring of desire for the people of Egypt to have their universal human rights recognized. And that is what we hope will come.
QUESTION: A lot of the people here on the streets are telling us that they’re angry, they think the U.S. is hedging its bets.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I just want to reiterate what both President Obama and I have been saying. I said it in Doha, I’ve said it before, President Obama said it himself when he was in Cairo at the beginning of his Administration – we believe that democracy, human rights, economic reform are in the best interests of the Egyptian people. Any government that does not try to move in that direction cannot meet the legitimate needs of the people. And in the 21st century, it is highly vulnerable to what we have seen in the region and beyond. People are not going to stand by any longer and not be given the opportunity to fulfill their own God-given potential.
So what I’m hoping is that there can be a very difficult set of decisions made, that the government will be able to maintain a peaceful relationship with peaceful protestors, that where there is criminal activity, looting and the like, that can be handled in an appropriate way, respecting human rights. But then we can see a national dialogue begin where the Government of Egypt recognizes that it must – that it must take those concrete steps that many of us have been urging for democratic and economic reform.
I think that is the best way for Egypt to navigate through this without unforeseen consequences that could further undermine the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much for joining us.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
Face the Nation: [something is wrong with this video, so go here to watch it in full-size mode]
Face the Nation transcript:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
With Bob Schieffer of CBS’s Face The Nation
January 30, 2011
QUESTION: We’re just off the line with Liz Palmer, our person in Cairo, and during her report, F-16s, Egyptian air force warplanes, apparently were flying low over the demonstrators in the main part of Cairo. Do you know what this is about?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Bob, I don’t, and let me repeat again what President Obama and I have been saying, and that is to urge the Egyptian security forces to show restraint, to not respond in any way through violence or intimidation. That falls upon the peaceful protestors who are demanding that their grievances be heard. And obviously, our reports up until now have been that the Egyptian army had taken up positions, that they were showing such restraint. And we strongly urge that that continue.
What the people who are in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt are protesting for is the right to participate in their government, to have economic opportunity, for their human rights to be respected. We are very clearly asking both in public and private that the Egyptian authorities respond to that, that they start a process of national dialogue that will lead to a transition to such democracy, and what President Mubarak himself said the other day – that they would begin to take concrete steps for democratic and economic reform – we expect to see happen.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, do you think those things are possible if President Mubarak stays in office, or is he eventually going to have to leave?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m not going to speculate, Bob. What we are focused on now is a transition that will meet the needs of the Egyptian people and that will truly establish democracy, not just for one election and then no more elections after that, or not for radicals, extremists, violent elements to take over. We want to see the – what really was at the core of the protests, which were people saying, “Hey, we deserve a better life. We deserve more opportunity to be respected and responded to.” And that is what we’ve been conveying and that’s what we will continue to make very clear, and we stand ready to assist.
QUESTION: Do you – are you concerned that if President Mubarak does go, it may give an opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the opposition to his government for so many years, could somehow come to power? I think most people agree they were not the start of this or the cause of these demonstrations. But where do you see – what role do you see them playing if Mr. – President Mubarak should go?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, I’m not speculating about who goes or who stays. And I’m not prepared to comment on what kind of democratic process the Egyptian people can construct for themselves. But we obviously want to see people who are truly committed to democracy, not to imposing any ideology on Egyptians. And therefore, we would like to encourage that people who have been the voice of protest and been the voice of civil society be the ones at the table trying to design what would be an orderly transition to meet the democratic and economic needs of the people.
Bob, we’re all very conscious of the fact that Egypt is an incredibly important country, a large country with great influence in the region and meaning for the Arab world. And we want to see the outcome of what started as peaceful protests legitimately demanding redress for grievances to result in a true democracy. Not a phony one like we saw with Iranian elections, not to see a small group that doesn’t represent the full diversity of Egyptian society take over and try to impose their own religious or ideological beliefs. We want to see the full diversity and dynamism of Egyptian society represented.
QUESTION: Do you believe that his appointment of a new vice president – is that helpful?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s something that American Government representatives have been urging and requesting for 30 years. I talked – I’ve talked with former ambassadors over the last weeks who have said, “Boy, I remember when I went in in 1980-this or 1990-that.” So yes, it’s something we have said is absolutely imperative. It finally has happened. There are some new people taking responsibility in government. We hope that they can contribute to the kind of democratic and economic reforms that the people of Egypt deserve.
QUESTION: So far, though, it does not seem that anything that Mr. Mubarak has said or done up until this point has, in any way, tempered these demonstrations. I mean, things seem to be getting worse rather than better.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think there are several things going on. But first and foremost, words alone are not enough. There have to be actions. There has to be a demonstrable commitment to the kind of reforms that we all know are needed and desired, but also too, there is now, unfortunately, in addition to the legitimate, peaceful protests that are going on, lots of reports of looting, prison breaks, and the like. So it makes the situation much more complicated than it even was before, because everyone wants to ensure that the right of assembly, the right of association, the right of free expression be protected, that there be no violence against the protests.
At the same time, people in the streets have to refrain from violence themselves. And I’ve heard many stories of Egyptians protecting their national museum, protecting their homes. And they’re protecting them from looters and from criminals. So this is an incredibly complex set of circumstances, and we are hoping and praying that the authorities will be able to respond to the legitimate requests for participation by the peaceful protestors. Let’s begin to see some meetings with representatives of the government and representatives of civil society. Let’s begin to see some steps taken that will lead toward free, fair, and credible elections in the future.
Those will begin to put some substance behind the words and give the protestors who are trying to see a future for Egypt that is responsive to their needs a reality that they can hang onto.
QUESTION: All right. Madam Secretary, thank you so much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.