March 9th, 2009
09:50 PM ET
6 years ago

Gere: Clinton 'misspoke in the moment'

Actor Richard Gere discussed Tibet on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer Monday.
Actor Richard Gere discussed Tibet on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer Monday.

(CNN) – Actor Richard Gere told Wolf Blitzer in an interview on Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “misspoke in the moment” when she said that human rights “can’t interfere with the global economic crisis.”

While on a diplomatic trip to Asia in February, Clinton said that the global economic crisis, climate change and security take precedent over human rights issues when dealing with China. Gere said that Clinton has always been on the “forefront of human rights.”

“Let’s assume she said more than that because she’s more complicated than that,” Gere said. “For me, these are all the same issue. If you want to make it about human rights, that’s perfectly valid. From my point of view, human rights are very important. To an American, human rights are desperately important and you have to say the words.”

Gere is the chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, which has focused on fighting for human rights and democratic freedom in Tibet. He attended a reception with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Monday afternoon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dalai Lama’s exile from Tibet.


Filed under: Extra • Hillary Clinton • Popular Posts • The Situation Room
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. J

    I bet if Condoleezza Rice had said the same thing, Gere would be up in arms about it. The least you can do when you support someone is to hold them accountable when they betray your trust. Sellouts in Hollywood don't feel that way, though, as long as they get their swanky parties and multimillion dollar lifestyles, all while telling Americans who are struggling to feed their families that they're not doing enough to help the environment or the poor or the Palestinians.

    We're going to have to butter-up to the Chinese now, what with them owning $700 billion of our debt. Human rights will be thrown on the backburner so current politicians can brazenly try to write their names into the history books while bankrupting the nation in the process.

    March 9, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Bob

    The world is saved! Another dumb actor joins the hollywood administration, and he is a perfect fit – clueless unless he has a script in front of him.

    March 9, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. uoregonman

    Why is this front page of CNN?? Some actor is telling us what the Secretary of State of the United States meant to say?? That she mis-spoke?? She definitely mean what she said, and that is why there is no correction on her end. Whether he likes it or not, the Obama administration (her employer, BTW) is putting the economic collapse in front of human rights.

    March 9, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. yodelin' zeke

    Come on Richard! Hillary is a big girl and doesn't need you to fight her battles for her. Part of leadership is defending your own statements and actions. Let her dig herself out of her own hole.

    March 9, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Bipartisan

    I know the partisans will have alot of B.S. from both sides of the aisle on this one. But as an independent supporter of Obama in my opinion Clinton is the sec. of state not Richard Gere. She doesn't need him putting words in her mouth.

    March 9, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  6. Little too late????

    OH PuLLLLEASE!!! Another case of public figures interpreting what someone says...

    Far from an Officer and a Gentleman...ALL sold-out politican. Gere for Senate!!!! Maybe the next Speaker of the House!! He could be the first American-practicing- Buddist somewhere....

    March 9, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. prof X

    hhhhmmmmm, did she? I think that she will basically say whatever it is at the moment to make herself look as credible as possible, like the "sniper fire" in the form of a 6 year old girl giving her flowers on the tarmac in Bosnia. Nope, I really don't think she "misspoke"

    March 9, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  8. Texas Teacher

    I agree, Gere... I would be stunned if Clinton actually meant that statement. I agree that it goes against all she believes in! Hence, she misspoke... like all human beings do at times!

    March 9, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. Kunga Tsering

    Nothing should precede human rights. Cherishing and guarding ones basic human rights from those who believe otherwise should never be, under any circumstances, put off even under these tiring times of global economic meltdown.

    During these tiring times if we stand steadfast, our hearts will endure for generations.

    Kunga, Sunnyside, New York.

    March 9, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  10. Flipper

    It's always funny to see many Hollywood actors fall all over themselves defending someone with a (D) by their name, yet they have no qualms going ballistic when a conservative/Republican says something far-less controversial.

    March 9, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. Mark

    It's great that so many people are willing to jump to the defense of the Obama entourage. I'm sorry Richard, she didn't misspeak, she said what she meant and you're just going to have accept that Hollywood really doesn't run Washington.

    March 9, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  12. U.S. Common Sense

    It's nice to know that Gere knows what Clinton is thinking. I wish I had that power.

    March 9, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. Tommy Kimes

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for Richard Gere. Not only is he knowledgeable on this subject, but he also "has the ear" of many influential people. I am sure he knows the real story about this controversy.

    March 9, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. Chipster

    Clinton is right. Human rights can't interfere with the global economic crisis – and the global economic crisis cannot interfere with human rights. The two issues are closely related, aren't they? Human rights violations are facilitated by the imbalance of power. The foundation for the imbalance of power is almost always economic disparity. Sometimes I believe the 24 hour news cycle and political power struggles have created an atmosphere of oversensitivity and a ridiculous parsing of every word in every sentence. It actually gets tiresome.

    March 9, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  15. mike

    It's truly amazing how the liberal media, and it's members (actors like Richard Gere) will make excuses and "give the benefit of the doubt" to their liberal forerunners in the "misspoken" words and phrases, but when it comes to conservative speakers...what they said is what they meant.

    March 9, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  16. Billy (Jackson, MS)

    Thank goodness we have Richard Gere to clarify Clinton's statement ... since Im sure he was consulted and has the inside track on her thoughts.

    I wonder the reaction if Bush, or any Republican, made the same exact comment.

    March 9, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  17. SC mother

    People matter more than "things."

    March 9, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  18. Scott

    Well, I guess it wouldn't be the first time she misspoke.

    I like Hilary though, and I find it hard to believe that she would make such a simple remark.

    What is the point of a booming economy where most people don't have rights? I'm sure Hillary thinks the same.

    March 9, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  19. Alicia

    Potato..Potatoe; Tomato..Tomatoe.

    This is the same woman who felt it was her duty to stay in the campaign in the event now President Obama was killed, like Bobby Kennedy. Shameless.

    I do think she is bright and will work her butt off in this job. Love Richard Gere, not only great actor but extremely intelligent man!

    March 9, 2009 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  20. DB

    As american's we should not forget our values because our wallets are thinner or hurting. Values are what defines as and China should not encouraged that human-rights abuse are ok during tough times.

    March 9, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  21. Ricky

    What she said speaks for itself. What if Bush had said that? Gere would be beside himself.

    March 9, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  22. sciguy

    Come on Richard, Maybe she misspoke and maybe she didn't. When President Bush, who I'm not a big fan of either, misspoke people like you and those in the press raked him over the coals. Grow a pair and admit that people in this administration "can do no wrong" in your eyes.

    March 9, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. Sara from Arizona

    Clinton always "Misspeaks."

    March 9, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  24. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    She didn't misspeak. If the world goes into a depression, people will have hunger and fear and survival to think about. Human rights won't be at the top of many wish lists. When people have the basics covered, then they will think about things like human rights.
    Gere has had a long acting career so he is no doubt well off and it does show.
    I"m not dismissing human rights but people will put survival at the forefront.

    March 9, 2009 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  25. 4 Hillary

    Hillary has and always will be for Human Rights and has spoken out on these issues in many, many instances over a period of many, many years. It is clear that the economic crisis is taking precedent and the fact that China has lent so much money to the U.S. plays a big part in our recovery. Furthermore, Hillary went to China to be sure that they continue to purchase U.S. treasury bonds as this is critical. Putting Human Rights "on hold" does not mean, at all, that she is forsaking them – it simply means it will take place in a later discussion. You cannot be, on the one hand, asking for money – then turn around and tell those that are giving it to you that you demand they change their way of doing things.

    March 9, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
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