January 22nd, 2009
10:26 AM ET
3 months ago

Clinton arrives at State Department

 Clinton has arrived at the State Department.
Clinton has arrived at the State Department.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived at her new office in the State Department Thursday morning, promising a renewed emphasis on candor and "robust diplomacy" as the primary means for advancing American interests around the world.

Watch: Clinton speaks at the State Dept.

America's new chief diplomat walked through the front doors of the State Department lobby shortly after 9 a.m. ET to a thunderous round of applause from an overflow crowd of about 1,000 career diplomats and other department employees.

"I believe with all of my heart that this is a new era for America," Clinton told her colleagues. "President Obama set the tone with his inaugural address.... Robust diplomacy and effective development are the best long term tools for securing America's future."

In remarks that could be interpreted as a rebuke of the former Bush administration, Clinton also said that the Obama administration would not "tolerate the divisiveness and paralysis that has undermined our ability to get things done for America."

President Barack Obama is expected at the State Department later Thursday to speak to employees. Clinton also called for a new sense of candor and free exchange of ideas during her tenure. She urged the country's diplomatic corps to think "outside the proverbial box."

"There's nothing I welcome more than a good debate and the kind of dialogue that will make us better."

Clinton is scheduled to meet with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Jim Jones at the State Department Thursday afternoon. Clinton and Obama are then expected to address the department's permanent staff.

On Thursday she will visit the US Agency for International Development, which she praised "for the work they've done on behalf of development through some very difficult years."

During her confirmation hearing, Clinton pledged to secure more resources for the State Department and USAID, which has seen a lot of its development work fall to the Pentagon during the Bush administration.

Clinton is America's 67th secretary of state.

– CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Canuck

    oh brother.

    January 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Peggy the Unemployed

    Congratulations to Secretary of State Clinton. I supported her for President, but I think she will bring some real authority to the diplomatic corps.

    January 22, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  3. Ray Fisher

    Hillary should go to Iraq to set the stage for our troop withdraws first then head to Gaza and maybe Afghanistan to get the balls rolling. The world is on an Obama high at present which she should be taking advantage. No time like the present to improve America's image!!!

    January 22, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    She is one of our most respected dignataries; she has the power to affect change and good will around trhe world; she also had muster 18 millions votes of support from the American people. She is a force to recon with and I could not be more excited. as for Vitter and DeMint; even thought they realized that she and her husband did far more than it is required by law in making the foundation dealing to be transparent they want further congressional control. is not like we are talking about some rogue organization funding Hamas! this is an organization that has made real progress in the fight against AIDS and other deceases in Africa and the rest of the world. besides Vitter should be the one to throw the first stone when he got caught with a prostitute...

    Rise Madam Secretary Rise!

    January 22, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Crazy Cat Lady

    Yes, "sally", she is, and she'll do a fine job. I'm sure you haters and snipers will wail and gnash your teeth over it, but too bad for you.

    January 22, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. JC in SC

    Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hillary is awesome and will be able to, in an exceptionally exquisite and professional way, negotiate the US back into the friend category where we've not been for 6 years. I think Secretary Rice did a great job, but was dramatically hindered by the inefficient, self-serving agenda of the Bush/Cheney rule. Now, leaders and citizens of the countries of the world will listen with new ears. Hillary is the quintessential diplomat, and finally, we will re-emerge as the country in the world with our rightful status intact.

    January 22, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. Gene

    The big liberal lie is that our standing in the world has gone down since the last Democrat in the White House.
    What is the purpose of foreign Policy? TO KEEP THE COUNTRY SAFE.
    We haven't had another 9/11 because our enemies knew that Bush would take decisive ACTION...not talk about it.
    The rest of the world may not like us...most of them never will...but they respect us...at least until noon on January 20

    January 22, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. Mari

    SO....... tiring to read the cynical or vile comments of the far-right! They keep complaining and attacking. The vile cost you people the elections and you keep it up..... it will cost you 2012, too.

    Hillary will make a wonderful Secretary of State!

    HOPE WON...... HOPE TRUMPS HATE, LIES, FEAR & DIVISION!

    January 22, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. David in Houston

    Sally,

    According to the first five words of the article (which I am certain you thoroughly read, right?) prior to commenting...yes.

    Would you prefer a SOS whose fierce loyalty might be used to help guide our country into a war under false pretenses?

    Hmmm...

    Compared to the outgoing SOS, Clinton is a breath of fresh air.

    Good Riddance, Condi.

    Take your blind obedience elsewhere...

    January 22, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. tess

    candor, transparency, honesty – that woman wouldn't know the meaning of those words if she looked them up in the dictionary! as far as the words devisiveness and undermine she definitely knows what they mean, she is the personification of that – what a fake – i say again, o'bama watch your back!!!!

    January 22, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Ilene

    Sally, um, yes, she is really your Secretary of State. Unless you're living in a different country.

    January 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Jeremy

    Hillary is a very smart & well rounded individual. There are way too many people who do not give her the respect she has earned. Obama was very smart to bring her on board.

    January 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Tom in Wheaton, Illinois

    Yes, Sally, she is. You will be amazed what happens when the U.S. is no longer trying to cram Democracy and Christianity down the throats of the rest of the world. My grandmother always said, "show me someone who 'knows the truth', and I'll show you a liar"

    January 22, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. ANGIE

    GO SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON. DO YOUR THING. CONGRADULATIONS.

    January 22, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. dEMOBRAT

    yeah she is...deal with it.

    January 22, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. Be afraid

    Clinton also said that the Obama administration would not "tolerate the divisiveness and paralysis that has undermined our ability to get things done for America."

    WOW....
    Now that she is in power, they will not "tolerate" any divisiveness?

    What is she planning to do to those who oppose her? Gitmo's closing.

    Does this go for other countries as well? We may need a bigger military with her in charge.

    January 22, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. Robert

    You go Hillary! Thanks for your service to the United States of America! Your strengths and professionalism are here just in time!

    January 22, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. Mark

    Hillary will certainly be the mother of the world once again. She is infomational and the right person for the job-God blessed America and God Blessed the Clintons

    January 22, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. Gerry

    Congratulations, Madam Secretary, bring peace to the world.

    January 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. Edward Spivey, North Carolina

    It will be a relief to have a foreign policy which is guided by pragmatism rather than by ideology, by open negotiation rather than by demands, and by optimism rather than by threatening. Secretary Clinton should prove to be an outstanding leader in settling problems instead of exacerbating them.

    January 22, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  21. Delegate for Senator Clinton from California

    Dear Madame Secretary,

    Congratulations!!!

    We are so proud of you, we are the 18,000, 000 + supporters for you.

    God Bless you, your family and the United States of America.

    Robert Camacho

    January 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. pete

    I am so proud of her, she will make a great Secretary of State, the Clintons are respected and admired every where. Best of luck to her and Pres Obama, time to move forward.

    January 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  23. Don, NY

    Sally, yes she is. HRC is loved and respected around the world for her solid work ethic and good relations. She is the most qualified person in the country for the post and is frankly the most qualified politician in the US...even for the Presidency. This should do the trick, though.

    January 22, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  24. Boston Irish

    GO HILLARY. You are an excellent choice for this position and I know you will be great, as you are at everything you do.

    January 22, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. OKIE

    Hey Sally, sadly she is!

    January 22, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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