Secretary Clinton: Probably Glad to Be in Another Country During Midterm Madness and Other News *updated*
Heh. Smart woman! And Obama should be very grateful to President Bill Clinton for criss-crossing the country to rally wayward Democrats and Independents, particularly in states where Obama’s presence on the campaign trail would actually hurt Democrats.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she expects President Barack Obama to stay the course on domestic and foreign policy even if Republicans make big gains, as expected, in hotly contested congressional midterm elections.
Clinton told students and civic leaders in Malaysia that she had spoken to Obama by phone on the eve of the vote, and joked that she thought he seemed “a little envious” that she was abroad for an election that may see Democrats lose control of Congress.
“I think he was a little envious that I am here,” Clinton said, describing the phone call she and Obama had at 1 a.m. — midday Monday on Washington time.
But she said that even if Democrats lose control of Congress, the Obama administration will pursue its agenda.
“The political winds blow back and forth but I think you will find that President Obama is a pretty steady captain of the ship,” Clinton said. “So no matter what happens in our election, you will see him … continuing to promote his agenda, which I think is right for America and right for the world.”
Clinton is barred from partisan political activity as America’s top diplomat, but said she personally thought Obama is doing an “excellent job” in handling complex domestic and foreign policy matters.
In other Secretary of State news Hillary gets props for how well she interacts during Q&A’s:
When Hillary Rodham Clinton was asked what she thought about comments that she was smarter than her husband, Bill, the highest-ranking US diplomat gave an answer that was both convincing and yet diplomatic: I think my husband is the smartest person I have ever met and he thinks the same of me.
Her answer was met with applause by her audience of more than 500 people, including women leaders, academics and students, who had been specially invited to the more than hour-long “A Conversation with US Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton” at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC) here Tuesday.
The town hall style programme was also telecast interactively to two library centres in Kuala Lumpur and in Kuching for university students to follow the conversation.
In a candid question-and-answer session, she also spoke of Bill as being an endlessly interesting life partner after having known him for 39 years and being his wife for 35 years.
What struck the audience most was her poise and intellectual responses to even the most difficult of issues and questions from an enthusiastic audience.
When asked about her views about women going into politics, Clinton said they should be encouraged to do so but should be prepared for the hard work and to especially have “the skin of a rhinoceros”.
However, she said being a politician was intellectually demanding but rewarding, especially in being able to meet so many different kinds of interesting people.
As for the general thinking that the US was siding with the Israelis when dealing with the Palestinians, Clinton said that since the 1990s she had felt that both Israel had a right to a exist while the Palestinians had a right to a state.
The US too was committed to a two-state solution, she said, adding that the US had provided more aid to the Palestinians than any other country ever had.
Saying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was an extremely complex issue, she said the US was committed towards securing a peace agreement from both sides through negotiations.
Clinton said she was working very hard to create greater trust between the Israelis and Palestinians to resolve their decades-long conflict.
“I find it very helpful to put myself in the other person’s shoes like if I were a Palestinian, if I were an Israeli, how do I see the world?” she said.
She welcomed Malaysia’s support for the Palestinians in their state building efforts so that they would be ready for statehood when agreement was reached with the Israelis.
UPDATE: Thanks to filipino-american4hrc in the comments for pointing me to this article:
A player in U.S. elections for more than two decades, Clinton, as the top U.S. diplomat, is now barred from domestic politics and chose to spend election day on the other side of the world on a two-week, seven-nation Asia-Pacific trip.
Anxiety over the stumbling U.S. economy and discontent with Obama and government in Washington have brought Republicans to the threshold of huge gains that could give them a majority in the House of Representatives and perhaps the Senate.
Taping a televised question-and-answer program in Kuala Lumpur, Clinton was asked whether Obama, a Democrat, could advance his agenda when “he himself is having challenges winning the hearts of the American people.”
Clinton pointed to the long history of a U.S. president’s party losing seats in Congress in the election after he takes office, noting this happened to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in 1994.
“A new president gets elected, he usually does an enormous amount his first two years, and then everybody in America says ‘well that’s not enough’ or ‘that’s too much,'” she said.
“It’s like Goldilocks … It’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s not right,” she added. “So they send a message to the new president by voting out members of Congress of his party.”
Clinton said she believed history would look kindly on Obama — particularly for stabilizing the world economy and preventing “a global depression” soon after he took office.