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Wednesday March 30th 2011 Appointments for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton *updated*

March 30, 2011


2:30 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers a classified briefing to Members of the House of Representatives, on Capitol Hill.

4:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood host a ceremony celebrating the negotiation of agreements between the United States and 100 Open Skies partners, in the Ben Franklin Room at the Department of State.

5:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton delivers a classified briefing to Members of the Senate, on Capitol Hill.

From Politico:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen are coming to the Hill Wednesday — and according to top lawmakers, they better be prepared to answer tough questions on Libya President Barack Obama didn’t answer in his Monday night speech.

The three administration officials are slated to give a classified briefing to senators at 5 p.m. Wednesday, and both Republican and Democratic leaders told their rank-and-file members in their weekly lunches Tuesday not to be afraid to press the Obama surrogates for answers on what some fear might be a larger commitment than initially indicated.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) even told his colleagues that if they felt like the information they received in the briefing was unsatisfactory, they could explore legislative options to challenge the White House.

“I told my caucus to come loaded with all your questions, ask questions in this classified setting and then if you want to do more legislatively, you’re entitled to do that,” Reid said Tuesday afternoon. “The war powers act, we believe is valid and very clear, setting forth a time line, and I read it to my caucus today.”

Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the meeting with Clinton, Gates and Mullen “an opportunity for us to follow up further on what’s happening in the last 24 hours,” adding that the president’s remarks in a speech to the nation Monday “were a step in the right direction.”

But in line with many members of his caucus who have expressed reservations about the U.S. mission in Libya, McConnell also said Obama “didn’t answer every question,” but that Republicans would “continue to post those questions to Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton” in the classified briefing.

When asked which questions he’d like to see answered, McConnell was suggested that even the most basic questions about American engagement in the North African country have yet to be answered.

“What is the ultimate outcome? What’s the desired outcome?,” McConnell asked reporters. “If our policy isn’t regime change, what is our policy?”

Clinton, Gates and Mullen are likely to face tough questions from senators who span the ideological spectrum.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2011 11:18 am

    Seems to me it’s the President’s role to define the intervention in broad, strategic terms (including desired outcomes and timeline). Then his Dept Secretaries would fill in the blanks. And he should do it within a couple days max after the attack (as in cases of Grenada & Panama in 1980s).

    I didn’t watch Obama’s speech, but it sounds like he may not have answered even these questions.

    And I see from a NY Times piece that some are trying to give Samantha Powers credit (rather than the SOS) for “convincing” Obama to attack Libya. If it turns out to be a failure or quagmire, will they still give Powers the “credit”? And does the media realize how weak the discussion about who “convinced” Obama makes him appear?

    • March 30, 2011 11:55 am

      I don’t want to be in the position of necessarily defending Obama, but I have noticed that the media likes the theme of Obama as effete , henpecked, weak latte liberal. From everything I have read from sources that seem remotely legitimate (those initial articles on right wing blogs don’t count in my mind), Hillary supported instituting a no-fly zone but wanted to use diplomacy to get the support of the Arab League and Security Council- I think that was important and prudent. The whole testosterone-filled fantasy that we should have rammed in there without any international support may make people feel like they are doing something constructive, but it’s the responsibility of our leaders to consider the consequences, like whether we are willing to risk another Afghanistan or Iraq.

      The really impressive thing was Hillary getting the support of the Arab League and Security Council- two groups which never seem to agree on anything. That the Arab League joined in this is truly astonishing. Of course, they seem to not be pulling their weight at all in terms of enforcing the no-fly zone but that’s another key characteristic of the Arab League- all talk, no action.

      I know Powers allegedly also wanted the no-fly zone but I really don’t think it’s as big a deal as the media is trying to make it. And as you pointed out at the end of the day the buck stops with the POTUS so if things don’t go well, he can’t really say “well, I didn’t really want to do it.”

      • tiffy permalink
        March 30, 2011 9:55 pm

        Also, Hillary got the NATO on broad. I was surprised that NATO agreed to lead given both Germany and Turkey were skeptical about the no-fly zone.

  2. HillaryFan permalink
    March 30, 2011 1:16 pm

    I agree Stacy- Hillary took a reasoned, pragmatic approach which was likely informed by her experience after Rwanda. At the same time she seemed to know that going into Libya without Arab support could end up emboldening Gadhafi as he could then do what all the dictators in the region do- blame outside interference.

    Speaking of dictators/autocrats- I keep reading that Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are blaming any protests on Iran. I was wondering what Stacy thought of that because I noticed that in some of her remarks about Bahrain she seemed to say that Iran was involved. It sounds like that is how we plan on making a distinction between coming down hard on certain Arab regimes but not on others and I”m wondering if people think that is intellectually honest. Who knows, Iran may be stirring up trouble but at the same time, to blame Iran for all the protesters demands seems unfair to the protesters. Those regimes are incredibly oppressive so don’t the people there have a RIGHT to demand human rights and economic opportunity?

  3. January 26, 2013 12:12 pm

    I wish I could hear her talk live.

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