Archive for March, 2013

In her signature style of random, shallow cuts inaccurately delivered, Jennifer Rubin makes a pathetic attempt, in today’s Washington Post, to slash and burn Hillary Clinton’s legacy at the State Department.  The problem with her attack is that Hillary Clinton was not at the helm driving the policies that Rubin targets in this order.

1. In the case of Benghazi, she didn’t quite make it out the door unscathed.

2. Confidence in Obama in Muslim countries dropped from 33% to 24% in his first term.

3. … fecklessness with regard to Iran.

4. … doing nothing to end the suffering in Syria.

5. … embracing Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohamed Morsi.

6. On Clinton’s watch, a U.S. ambassador was killed … (Yes, Benghazi again).

7. The administration was largely mute at a critical time in the Green Revolution.

8. The Palestinian Authority, against our express wishes, went to the United Nations for a declaration of statehood, while we were able to round up fewer than 10 “no” votes.

9. Syria’s chemical weapons were not secured….

10. Russian reset was such a bust that Clinton’s successor, John Kerry, was compelled to dump it as he was taking office.

Rubin’s  major obstacle in lodging these complaints is the job description of the Secretary of State as presented at the State Department website.

The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department, which includes the Foreign Service, Civil Service, and U.S. Agency for International Development

The policies were not Hillary’s.  Nevertheless, let’s take a look at what she did manage to accomplish.

1.  The Benghazi “scathing” –  her soaring poll numbers fly in the face of that one.

2. Aside from a much-trumpeted speech in Cairo in 2009, the Obama administration early on focused attention on East Asia providing no follow-up to Cairo.  This was not Hillary’s decision.  Hillary stood firm in Spring of 2009 against continued construction in East Jerusalem.  No support was forthcoming from the White House.  By Fall of 2009 the White House had pulled her back from this issue.  When Netanyahu issued a 10 month freeze on construction she had to welcome it with open arms … not a popular endorsement in the Arab world, and not her policy.

I want to take 3 and 7 together.  Rubin is also ill-organized.  Aside from Iran policy being in the hands of the White House,  the State Department did what it could in the face of a silent, hesitant President during the Green Revolution.  Aware that people in the streets of Tehran and other cities were depending on Twitter to communicate life-and-death information and learning that Twitter intended to close down for maintenance, Hillary Clinton prevailed upon Twitter to leave the lines of communication open.  They did, as those of us who spent those weekends retweeting important tweets from Iran can attest.

4. Since the 2012 Republican Vice Presidential candidate did not know that aside from negotiating at the U.N. on Syria, we were energetically participating in a group called Friends of the Syrian People, I suppose I cannot expect Rubin to be aware of this either.  From April until she fell ill in December of 2012 Hillary Clinton attended at least five meetings and was scheduled for another which she could not attend due to her illness.

5. She did not embrace the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief.  He is the democratically-elected President of Egypt and stepped down from the leadership of the Brotherhood when elected.  She visited a president, as she had many, in this case to ensure that Egypt would continue to respect agreements with Israel.

6. Yes, we lost an Ambassador, one who was a friend of hers, and that was tragic.  To blame Hillary for this when Congress twice chopped her Diplomatic Security budget and given the conventions under which mission security operates is patently political gamesmanship.

8. With regard to the Palestinian resolution at the U.N.  It is not the job of the Secretary of State to “round up votes” at the U.N.   That is why we have an ambassador to the U.N.

9.  Syria’s chemical weapons – why it is perceived to be the job of one sole person, the Secretary of State,  to achieve this escapes me.  The Friends of the Syrian People have been working together on international sanctions.  It is not in the hands of an individual person.

10.  Russia.  Hillary Clinton and Sergei Lavrov worked exceedingly well together and achieved the very crucial New START treaty.  This was immense,  a great victory for both diplomats and both countries.  Their relationship remained solid throughout her tenure.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a

Here are a few other things she did.

>For the first time in its history she completely overhauled the State Department , USAID, and interagency cooperation with her Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).

>For the first time in history she called all of the chiefs of mission together at the State Department for annual conferences.

>She instituted an Office of Global Women’s Issues.

>In June 2009 she  provided benefits to domestic partners of foreign service diplomats for the first time.

>She brought previously neglected countries back to the table with numerous memoranda of understanding and countless business initiatives.

>She kept the alliance between Afghanistan and Pakistan stable despite enormous challenges.

>She reopened the vital supply route from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

>She ensured U.S. access to the vital Manas airstip in Kyrgystan.

>She Salvaged the Turkey-Armenia accords which  she was supposed to simply witness when they suddenly nearly fell apart.

>She brought issues like human trafficking as well as violence against women and LGBT communities to the international table.

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is greeted by human trafficking victims Van Sina and Somana at the Siem Reap AFESIP rehabilitation and vocational training center

These are simply a few things that come to mind at the moment, and I probably have left out some important events.  Nonetheless, I believe these accomplishments stand well in the face of nouns like “fecklessness.”   Clearly Rubin is wrong and way off-base.  Hillary Clinton has left an indelible mark on the State Department and has brought its operations into the 21st century with her integration of social networking into our outreach to the world.  She has been a tremendously effective Secretary of State and a hero to many, our own troops at war among them.  We can be appreciative of her selfless service and proud of the job she has done.


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Folks in the D.C. area will also have a chance to see Hillary Clinton early next month.

2013 Global Leadership Awards

2013 Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Opera House
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

7:30 PM Awards Presentation

 Tina Brown
Nicholas Kristof
Diane von Furstenberg  

Vice President Joe Biden
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

Global Trailblazer:  Malala Yousafzai | PAKISTAN
Solidarity Award:   The Kant Brothers | INDIA
Fern Holland Award:  Dr. Hawa Abdi | SOMALIA
Human Rights Award:  Sandra Gomes Melo | BRAZIL
Economic Empowerment Award:  Manal Yaish Zraiq | PALESTINE
Leadership in Public Life Award:  Tep Vanny| CAMBODIA 

Special Tribute:  The Honorable Melanne Verveer
Vital Voices Co-Founder and Chair Emeritus

This evening is dedicated to the memory of Inez McCormack.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

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We wondered why her name was not on the original list of speakers, but now it is official.  Hillary Clinton will once again grace this event.

Hillary Clinton Joins Women in the World Summit

Mar 21, 2013 3:39 PM EDT

In one of her first appearances since leaving the State Dept., Clinton will join some of the world’s most inspirational women at our fourth Women in the World Summit.

In one of her first appearances since leaving the State Department, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be joining the Women in the World Summit to be held April 4 and 5 at New York’s Lincoln Center.  The annual summit, now in its fourth year, illuminates global issues through the voices of leaders, activists, artists, and pioneers who are confronting the most urgent challenges faced by women and girls around the world.

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The Daily Beast Hosts "Women In The World: Stories And Solutions"
2nd Annual Diller-Von Furstenberg Awards

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The new Qunnipiac poll shows Hillary beating out two Florida favorites, and you know what they say  – Florida, Florida, Florida.


March 21, 2013 – Clinton Tops Florida Favorite Sons In 2016 Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has double-digit leads over either of Florida’s favorite sons, former Gov. Jeb Bush or U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, in an early look at the 2016 presidential election, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.


Mrs. Clinton, who shows the most strength of any potential 2016 aspirant in Quinnipiac University’s national polls, leads Jeb Bush 51 – 40 percent and bests Sen. Rubio 52 – 41 percent in a poll of Sunshine State registered voters.

Clinton is viewed much more favorably than either man, 62 – 33 percent favorable for Clinton, compared to 50 – 35 percent favorable for Bush and 41 – 34 percent for Rubio.

We probably won’t know for some time whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton runs for president in 2016, but if she decides to make the race, she begins with a sizable lead in a state that Republicans cannot win the White House without,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac  University Polling Institute. “Florida voters have a very positive view of Mrs. Clinton and it’s not just Democrats who feel that way.”

Mrs. Clinton is viewed favorably by 26 percent of Republicans, not bad for a Democrat who’s had her share of battles with the GOP, and gets a 57 – 35 percent favorability among the key voting group, independents. Not surprisingly, she gets 93 – 5 percent favorability among Democrats. She has a 10-point gender gap: 66 percent of women and 56 percent of men view her favorably.

In a head-to-head with Jeb Bush, Mrs. Clinton would get 10 percent of Republicans while he would only get 4 percent of Democrats. Independent voters are divided 42 percent for Clinton and 41 percent for Bush.

10. If the election for President were being held today, and the candidates were Hillary Clinton the Democrat and Jeb Bush the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp

Clinton              51%    10%    92%    42%    45%    56%    44%    86%    62%
Bush                 40     88      4     41     45     36     48      9     30
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      2      1      1      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      1      4      4      1      2      3      -
DK/NA                 5      1      2     11      5      6      5      1      8

                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No

Clinton              47%    42%    32%    42%    38%    49%    25%    44%
Bush                 45     50     60     51     53     44     66     48
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       2      1      2      -      1      1      2      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      2      1      -      3      1      3      2
DK/NA                 5      5      4      7      5      6      5      5

                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+

Clinton              52%    51%    53%    54%    51%    55%    51%    50%
Bush                 39     41     39     43     39     31     45     42
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1      -      3      1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      3      2      1      2      6      1      1
DK/NA                 6      5      5      2      5      8      2      5
11. If the election for President were being held today, and the candidates were Hillary Clinton the Democrat and Marco Rubio the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp

Clinton              52%     8%    90%    47%    48%    55%    45%    88%    57%
Rubio                41     90      6     38     44     37     48      6     35
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      2      1      1      1      1      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      -      2      1      -      1      3      -
DK/NA                 6      1      3     11      5      6      5      2      8

                     COLLEGE DEG                               BornAgnEv
                     Yes    No     Prot   Cath   Men    Wom    Yes    No

Clinton              50%    42%    32%    47%    41%    49%    27%    45%
Rubio                46     49     62     47     53     44     67     48
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1      -      1      1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      1      1      -      1      -      2      1
DK/NA                 3      6      4      6      4      6      3      5

                     COLLEGE DEG   ANNUAL HSHOLD INC    AGE IN YRS.......
                     Yes    No     <50K   50-100 >100K  18-34  35-54  55+

Clinton              55%    51%    52%    56%    55%    54%    53%    51%
Rubio                39     41     38     41     41     33     43     42
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      1      2      -      1      2      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      1      1      -      -      3      -      -
DK/NA                 5      6      6      3      4      8      4      5
12. Is your opinion of Jeb Bush favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp

Favorable            50%    87%    27%    48%    50%    50%    58%    20%    41%
Unfavorable          35      5     61     32     36     35     31     62     32
Hvn't hrd enough     13      7     11     17     13     12      9     17     25
REFUSED               2      1      1      3      1      3      2      1      1
13. Is your opinion of Marco Rubio favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about him?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp

Favorable            41%    81%    12%    41%    45%    38%    48%    10%    39%
Unfavorable          34      3     60     30     34     33     31     51     34
Hvn't hrd enough     24     15     26     26     20     27     20     39     25
REFUSED               1      -      2      2      1      2      1      -      2
TREND: Is your opinion of Marco Rubio favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about him?
                                                             High    Low
                     Mar 21  May 23  Feb 03  Aug 19  Jul 30  May 23  Apr 16
                     2013    2012    2011    2010    2010    2012    2009

Favorable            41      44      41      35      35      44      10
Unfavorable          34      24      17      28      24      24      11
Hvn't hrd enough     24      31      41      34      38      31      78
REFUSED               1       1       2       2       3       1       2
14. Is your opinion of Hillary Clinton favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about her?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    Hsp

Favorable            62%    26%    93%    57%    56%    66%    57%    88%    68%
Unfavorable          33     68      5     35     37     29     39      7     25
Hvn't hrd enough      4      3      2      4      5      2      3      5      6
REFUSED               2      2      -      3      1      2      2      -      1
TREND: Is your opinion of Hillary Clinton favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about her? (*Low also 44% Jun 2007)
                                                             High    Low
                     Mar 21  May 22  May 1   Apr 2   Dec 5   Mar 21  Apr 2
                     2013    2008    2008    2008    2007    2013    2008*

Favorable            62      48      49      44      52      62      44
Unfavorable          33      43      40      45      41      33      45
Hvn't hrd enough      4       5       7       8       5       4       8
REFUSED               2       4       4       4       3       2       4

Seriously? There are people who haven’t heard enough about her?

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Headlines this past week have included the CPAC clown car and the RNC election post-mortem on the Republican side, neither of which MSNBC appears able to stop trumpeting.  On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s endorsement of marriage equality,  which ruffled some Fox News feathers, and Barack Obama’s trip to Israel soaked up most of the airtime.

While MSNBC gleefully pursues the rifts that have continued to rock the Republican Party, a brief report, overshadowed by Obama’s day in Jerusalem, shined some light, however briefly today,  on a battle in the Democratic Party that is being fought in the hills of Kentucky.

If you had the impression that 2008 was a mere memory, that Hillary Clinton’s four years of service in the Obama administration and Bill Clinton’s work for the Obama campaign indicated that all wounds were healed and that the Obamas and Clintons ended their only private meal together singing Kumbaya,  think again.  There is a power struggle going in behind the scenes.  Politico broke this little gem today to almost no fanfare.

In Kentucky, prominent Democrats wooing Alison Lundergan Grimes, not Ashley Judd

By MANU RAJU | 3/19/13 5:14 PM EDT

Democratic heavy hitters — including Bill Clinton — are quietly trying to woo a new candidate to jump into the race to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, even as actress Ashley Judd is taking steps toward launching a star-studded campaign of her own.

With fears growing in some Democratic quarters over Judd’s potential candidacy, some prominent Democrats in the Bluegrass State are beginning to set their sights on 34-year-old Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state. Among Grimes’s attributes: She lacks political baggage since she’s served barely a year in office, and she hails from a well-connected family influential in Kentucky Democratic politics. But it’s not at all certain if she’ll jump into the race

Grimes does have the Clintons in her corner. Earlier this month, the former president — a longtime friend of Grimes’s father — privately urged the young secretary of state to mount a Senate bid while assuring Grimes that both he and his wife, Hillary, would get behind her should she decide to take on the powerful Senate GOP leader, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

According to this article,  the biggest Kentucky-based cheerleader behind a Judd run is John Yarmuth.   Whom did Judd support back in 2008 and where did Yarmuth stand?  You have to wonder.  According to Wikipedia, Judd supported Obama.   What of Yarmuth?

Yarmuth Announces Obama Kentucky Leadership

May 7th, 2008

… Yarmuth said he doesn’t think Obama should concede Kentucky (even though he’ll likely lose the state) to Clinton but he thinks Clinton should drop out of the race on May 21.

Yep! He was one of those.  He was calling for her to withdraw in the face of a likely win.  Here is how much Obama cared about the Kentucky race.  From the same article.

Oh, and Obama’s camp says he won’t be in Kentucky this Friday due to scheduling conflicts.

So, as I said a few weeks ago, Democrats, Let Hillary Clinton Nap And Get Focused On 2014 (She Will Be When She Gets Some Sleep).   I took some flak for that one,  but there had already been indications that aside from the book she is writing she had plans to campaign in 2014.   Now we are beginning to get an idea of where and for whom.   We know a Clinton-backed candidate can knock it out of the park and unseat McConnell in Kentucky.


You can make this about 2016 if you want to, certainly there are cases to be made.  But if you look at the facts, just the facts, it is about getting a major obstructionist out of the Senate.  As to who might next be in front of the Clinton bats,  I suggest Ted Cruz and  Harry Reid.

Clinton, Feinstein and standing up to bullies

Posted by Mary C. Curtis on March 20, 2013 at 8:35 am

If you said Hillary Rodham Clinton owes the start of her independent political career to Rick Lazio, even Lazio might agree. The tipping point for the 2000 race for the U.S. Senate from New York between a former first lady and a U.S. Congressman? When Lazio, the Republican nominee, crossed over to Clinton’s side of the stage in a pre-election debate and demanded she sign a piece of paper. Few remember what was on that page, a pledge against using soft money in the campaign. They do remember the moment. Women – and to be fair, a lot of men – cringed, recalling similar encounters they might have had with a guy who stepped over the line. The rest is history, and it belongs to Clinton.

I thought of that image watching the back-and-forth between Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the gun legislation debate last week. Cruz’s question on the constitutionality of a ban on assault weapons, using the example of limits on the First Amendment, had merit. But it was the tone of condescension in Cruz’s voice and the smirk on his face that stuck.

“I’m not a sixth grader, Senator. I’ve been on this committee for 20 years,” Feinstein said. She has history, not only in the Senate but on the front lines of gun violence. Though her presence on the scene when San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were murdered in 1978 doesn’t automatically give her the upper hand in a disagreement on gun rights, it does earn her some respect. Cruz missed that. And while his Senate seat looks to be safe in Texas, his national ambitions definitely took a hit. Who wants a president who reminds them of that dude who treated you like an idiot?

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Dianne intends to fight on for an assault weapons ban. Harry Reid may collapse rather than do battle, but not Dianne. He should be replaced. She should be majority leader. Fight on, Dianne. Let’s see if the Clintons know a good primary opponent for Reid in Nevada as well as a replacement for Cruz.

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Emily’s List has initiated a campaign to thank our Hillary for her Human Rights Campaign video endorsing marriage equality.  Perhaps you would like to sign.  See below.

You can sign Emily’s List‘s thank you note to Hillary here.

On Monday, Hillary Clinton announced her support for marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples everywhere. As a former first lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, Hillary’s voice is a powerful one, and we thank her for her courage and leadership in standing behind same sex couples and their families.

Join us in saying “thank you” to Hillary Clinton for making her voice heard: Sign our letter today!

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For her marriage equality video,  the Human Rights Campaign has posted a thank you note to Hillary.  Click here to sign.


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