January 22nd, 2009
10:26 AM ET
7 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. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    Thank God!

    Finally, the adults are in charge again instead of the neo-Con amateurs that we have endured for the past 8 years. We haven't had real leadership or talent at the state department since Colin Powell was "fired" by George Bush.

    Again, thank God!

    January 22, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. freespeech101

    GO HILS!!!!!!!! DO YOUR THING!!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Bobby

    Checks made payable to the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, please.........

    January 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. First Lady

    She has the experience of a First Lady.

    January 22, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. suzy

    WE LOVE YOU HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 22, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. Obama Fan

    Onward and upward. Lets get this done!

    January 22, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. cjsks

    Yes she is... and we wish her the best in this important role.

    January 22, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. Rick

    Let the lies and corruption begin.

    January 22, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. George Anderson

    I believe that you can do the job. please get this great country back into peace.

    January 22, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. xjx

    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.... Where was this during the past 8 years?

    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 there.

    January 22, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. Allan

    Yes, Sally. This "person" who is now our Secretary of State is probably one of the most influential women in US history who has the respect of the world and is more then qualified to represent the US and repair the damage done over the last 8 years which will be no small task.

    Go listen to Limbaugh – I am sure he wants our Secretary of State to fail as well.

    Pathetic!!

    January 22, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Kentucky Democrat

    I am proud of this woman. She has the heart of gold and the brains that match. Hillary will be fantastic.

    January 22, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Mike

    Talk is cheap, let's see what kind of future in mortgaged to make things seem better. It will be really interesting to see how they react when a real crisis hits.

    January 22, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. George Anderson

    Surely, goodness and mercy should follow you. I believe in you. Same way I believed in your husband Bill and he didnt let this country down. You were my choice for presidency and if you ever reconsider that office again in four yrs, you will still get my vote. The Clintons Have never fail and thank you for your bravery and service to this great country.

    January 22, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. George Anderson

    I love you Hillary

    January 22, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Shawn

    I wish her good luck and I think she will the best SOS.

    January 22, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Andrew Steiner

    Yes, Sally... she is. Feel free to get on board with an intelligent team of professionals... or maybe you are happier being part of the problem, and not part of the solution? We should all be wishing her the best to succeed, and should be asking "how we can help". Instead... people like you are content to make little digs and snipes.

    January 22, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  18. Matt

    Yes, Sally... She is our Secretary of State.

    ...and rather than complain about any part of the Obama administration, why not embrace the change and be HOPEFUL rather than negative? America is in a slump right now – and things need to get better quickly. Now is not the time for sour grapes. Now is the time to be able to afford grapes, period.

    January 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. KJ

    Okay Secretary Clinton time to put up or shut up. We'll see what happens in the next 4 years as you serve in the position of SOS how many times you'll try to undermine the President and his policies.

    Come on America, it's time for the Clintons to move back to Arkansas...opps, I forgot, the great folks of Arkansas don't want them to come back.

    January 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. legal in nc

    Will Clinton's "more resources for the State Dept." come from the donors out of the middle east???

    Just wondering.

    January 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. Niky

    I hope she follows Obama's vision :|

    January 22, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Carol

    I like Hillary. I think that, someday, she will be the first woman president.

    But does she ever just talk in a normal tone of voice? She always sounds like she's making a campaign speech. I wonder what it's like to have dinner with her. Would she point at you while making firm (and loud) statements about the consistency of the mashed potatoes? Would she pound her fist on the table and insist that she is too full for dessert?

    Highly intelligent, hard-working, and capable woman. But, boy, she's a character! Good luck in your new position Hillary – I support you.

    January 22, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. DAVID MATOKE, DALLAS

    You are the one of the most qualified secretaries of state just like Collin Powell was. I thank you you for accepting to serve the American people. You are the modern times Iron Lady. I am so happy to see the old days of hypocracy gone. You dont owe the right wing an apology. Please be a fair player in the middle east.

    January 22, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. California Gold

    I have traveled throughout the middle east and both President and Mrs. Clinton are widely respected. Hugely popular and admired. If for no other reason than this I anticipate her to be an effective Secretary of State in middle east matters. I wish her all the best success.

    January 22, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. Kevin

    While not a fan of Secretary Clinton, I do wish her the best. I don't believe anyone can truly be ready to take on such a position and there clearly will be a learning curve but, in the mean time, we as a nation need to allow the new administration a chance. The election is over and we need to move forward, period.

    January 22, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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