July 3rd, 2009
06:19 PM ET
5 years ago

Hillary Clinton 'elbowed' aside?

The State Department told CNN that Hillary Clinton has not been sidelined by her broken elbow.
The State Department told CNN that Hillary Clinton has not been sidelined by her broken elbow.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Washington is a town where a sharp elbow is almost a job requirement. The ability to nudge political rivals off-balance and fight for bureaucratic turf can boost a career.

So it's easy to understand why the State Department on Thursday was quick to reject any suggestion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been sidelined by her broken elbow.

Clinton fell and broke her elbow in the State Department basement as she was walking toward her car June 17, bound for a meeting at the White House.

Are Clinton and her international policy responsibilities being usurped by Vice President Biden? "Nonsense," State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly told CNN.

Full dialogue between reporter and Kelly after the jump

Earlier Kelly told his afternoon briefing that Clinton was fully engaged, even if she is spending some of her work-day time at home recuperating and undergoing physical therapy.

And Kelly dismissed a question about whether President Obama's decision to allow Biden to oversee Iraq policy - and to work with the U.S. military and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq help the Iraqis reconcile their political differences - was chipping away at Clinton's role

"Well, I - as I've said earlier, I see the secretary as very engaged, very involved," Kelly said. "She sees the president weekly, talks to him often. She met with him yesterday. But in terms of Vice President Biden's role, I would have to refer you to his office."

Vice President Biden arrived in Iraq Thursday. And earlier in the week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Biden would "oversee" Iraq policy and work with both the U.S. military and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill in helping the Iraqis reconcile their political differences.

At the outset the State Department portrayed the accident as "a fairly simple, straightforward fracture."

On Thursday an official, in a background briefing, said Clinton "shattered" her elbow, suggesting a much more serious injury but providing no details.

On Wednesday, the State Department said Clinton was not going to the Moscow summit with President Obama. And that led to a round of reporter questions for Kelly.

"Kelly: Well, there were never any firm plans, necessarily, for her to go to Moscow. I think she called Foreign Minister [Sergei] Lavrov yesterday to tell him that she wasn't going to go and she looked forward to seeing him soon. But in terms of what's going to happen in the next few weeks, as I said, she does plan to go to this trip to Asia in a couple weeks, and we hope to have an announcement soon about that.

Question: You're still not – you're still not saying why that decision was made for her not to go.

Kelly: Well, I think – she broke her elbow and she is getting therapy … So quite naturally, she's focused on that, on healing.

Question: That makes sense.

Kelly: Yeah, thanks.

Question: Why won't you reveal more medical details?

Kelly: Didn't I just say that? Didn't I say that she needs to – she needs to pay attention to her elbow, she needs to – she needs to heal?

Question: Is there a possibility of an additional operation?

Kelly: I doubt it, but I just don't know.

Question: And can you give us any details about the physical therapy? Is it daily? Supervised? Does she go someplace and have it?

Kelly. I'm just not aware of it. "

After that Kelly seemed grateful when a journalist changed the subject to Afghanistan.

Kelly: I doubt it, but I just don't know.

Question: And can you give us any details about the physical therapy? Is it daily? Supervised? Does she go someplace and have it?

Kelly. I'm just not aware of it. "

After that Kelly seemed grateful when a journalist changed the subject to Afghanistan.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. John Foster Dulles

    Please! Certainly she's still in some pain and concerned about being 100% before she resumes a full schedule. Biden takes trips and goes to events at the President's request. The Secretary of State runs our foreign policy in concert with directives from the President. Take a civics class.

    July 3, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. worriedmom

    Smells fishy to me. Hillary appears to make more decisive decisions on our National Security than Obama. He probably got upset that she advised him to be more stern on Iran and it took him several days to do it and then never gave her any credit for it. I sure wish things had been different for Hillary. She once again is being put under the bus along with others by the Chosen One and his gang of Thugs.
    May God Have Mercy on Us!

    July 3, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. rachel

    People need to step off. The only time the press wants to cover something is when they want to create controversy. If Obama wants Biden to over see Iraq policy well that's his bad. Why don't they ask about Eric holder missing a trip to aspen for his chipped tooth

    CNN Post.

    July 3, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. rachel

    PS she gave a breifing on wednesday on Iraq also, people would know that if the media could get their heads out of Obama's butt for a few days and report on other politicans but no you have to be envolved in a scandel to get any kind of press.

    July 3, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Tom

    I find it very interesting that Hillary, as Sec. of State, has said VERY little about the Iran elections and NK's missile launches. I guess she taking her directives from the president.

    July 3, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Matt

    Bones break, give her one.

    July 3, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. david

    can't see how a broken, fractured, elbow would keep anyone down from doing a white collar job such as sot. realize hillary is up there in age and that there might be some complications but not returning to her position as sot full time, something wrong here. could be she is just a wuss but kind of doubt it.

    July 3, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. Karen - Missouri

    How about give it a rest news media? Hillary needs some recuperating time so why are you reading too much into this? Not news...let Obama, Biden and Hillary do their work...I think they know more than the media.

    July 3, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. Toni Amato

    Hillary get well soon...We need you out there. All the men in office are behaving like a bunch of teenagers in heat or making sure they go out on lavish dates. As usual little boys were given the job a woman rightfully earned.

    July 3, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Ann C. Hansen

    Ditto to John Foster Dulles.

    July 3, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Lee C.

    I am glad to see that other people have noticed the "Do Nothing" policy of Sec Hillary Clinton. What does she do each day? There are problems all over the world, yet we hear nothing from Hillary. President Obama has talken over most of her job. Now you see Joe Biden filling in. Hillary is showing her true lazy personality, and I thank God she didn't become President. President Obama made a big mistake selecting her. I think she should resign.

    July 3, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Maureen Tarpey

    Give Hillary a break. I shattered my elbow a few years ago and it is a major surgery w/ many months of P.T. Elbows are tricky. She will be fine, but those of you who have broken an elbow know it is no piece of cake. The focus neeeds to be on her recovery before she is back in the game...and she will be.

    July 3, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Robert Colorado

    Hillary get well. Take your time to heal. When you heal, you can come out "swinging" again. Let the boy's handle it for a while.

    July 3, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. HEE- HAW

    Maybe Bill boned her to much............

    July 3, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Klaus

    Whoops, I thought I'd come for a news site, not random gossip meant to sate the appetites of CNN's rapid McVeigh-esque commenters.

    July 3, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Hilarion T. Benedicto Valle Verde, Pasig

    hey, give her slack. no need to start intrigue just to make "news".

    July 3, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Zero.

    Sandy "I love Obama" Crowly. Her bias is so obvous...

    July 3, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. Jen B

    Obama brought Hillary C in as he was scared of her in 2012 – that won't work as she will be gone by end of next yr as she will be fed up.
    However, the American people will be sick of Obama by 2011 and I predict matters will reach a boiling point by end of 2010. He's a Marxist and his Prof in Univ of Illinois who he worked with in Illinois said "Barak was the most Marxist thinking person he ever met".
    Obama truly belong in another Country.
    Jen B
    WI

    July 3, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. aware

    Hillary has more sense than all the rest of the Dems including BO. Too bad BO is such a naive, narcissistic ego-maniac.

    As an independent, I would have voted for Hillary.

    But I predict that 2012 will bring authentic change! :)

    July 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Cassandra Washington

    I think Obama sent Biden to Iraq to get him out of the country while Obama is on his trip to Russia and his visit with the Dope Pope ... Biden can't be trusted to keep his trap shut.

    July 3, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. Steve Lyons

    The best thing for the US right now would be for a number of additional democrats to fall ill and remain on life support for the duration of their terms unable to vote. GOD do we ned gridlock again.

    July 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Barb

    Run out of stories about Michael Jackson?? This is just so-o-o lame to even put in print. Summer interns writing for CNN? Give us a break!

    July 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. Stay Active

    Spreading rumors CNN? The last time I saw the Madam Secretary she looked like she needed time to recoup. She hit the ground running when she became our Secretary of State. VP Biden just wanted to visit our troups and get a little settleing done in the local government.

    July 3, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. Wayne

    Okay how many people (working people) ever been injured and had to recooperate before returning to work? Where is the story here?

    July 3, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Wayne

    Ever here of HIPPA Laws. Hillary is not going anywhere? She is injured folks, just injured, no reason to start major issue.

    July 3, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
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