July 3rd, 2009
06:19 PM ET
9 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. Jon

    @ "Lee C"
    What has Secretary Clinton been doing??? She's set a record for distance traveled by SOS for the time since taking the post, criss-crossing the earth and making amends for the appalling policy choices of the previous 8 years. She has the respect of everyday people and top-level officials from Ireland to China. Get a life, and give a gifted person who has CHANGED the face of human and women's rights around the world the credit they deserve.

    July 3, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Viola

    People please get over it, Obama won so please stop with this incessant promotion of Obama vs. Clinton. You sound like a bunch of bitter scorned women who were left at the alter....or dumped by your hish school sweetheart.....you have the same tired old petty comments....get over it she obviously has...

    July 3, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Jaime

    @Jen B. If I were you, I would look up the definition of Marxist. You are the best of example of why education reform is needed. Ignorance is what will bring nation down.

    July 3, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. ttbala

    @ Jen B

    Would you please go and educate yourself first then come and make comments, you don't know the first thing about being marxist, otherwise you would keep your thoughts to yourself and not make yourself a laughingstock,

    Hillary get well soon we are praying for you.

    July 3, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Deborah

    CNN, stop this nonsense. She is temporarily sidelined by her injury, just as anyone would be – Republican, Democrat, man or woman. She is the most capable, shrewd, experienced, qualified person for the position and President Obama knows that better than anybody.

    July 3, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Del

    O God, stop with Hillary vs Obama nonsense, lets focus on America! People the elections over, move the heck on!

    July 3, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. ttbala

    @ Steve Lyons.

    You should be ashamed of yourself putting out comments like that, maybe you should go on life support and stay there before wishing that on anybody, before you make any comments about democrates, just think about the past 8 years of your republican partyis stupidity.

    July 3, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. thetruth

    hey jenb@4:05pm–I dare you to offer any solid proof that Obama is a Marxist,...better yet, I dare you to even define the term, and you better not look it up either. Tell me exactly how his policies are proof of marxism..?

    The fact that Ms Clinton's role is scaled back is only proof of how big a job that everybody in the top tiers of the admin has. Look at all the times that Holbrooke, Mitchell & even SOS Clinton herself has traveled back & forth to all corners of the globe. With news breaking & situations changing everyday, you need a strong flexible accessable team that can respond anywhere at a moments notice. Just look at all the recent political changes in recent history: Cuba willing to talk, Iran–pre election–willing to negociate, DPRK fires missiles, Iraq war winding down, Afghanistan offensive about to start..., coup in Honduras...not to mention all the little hotspots around the globe. Do you honestly think SOS Clinton can be in all places at once. Obama was left a messed up situation with practically every gvnmt in the world..you need strong people in all corners ready to carry out the U.S. objectives. I think Clinton is doing just fine. If she does resign, it won't be because she doesn't have enough work to do–or isn't in the spotlight.

    July 3, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    @ Cassandra Washing ton:

    You are really living up to your name – the bringer of trouble. You seem to be a very unhappy woman and I feel sorry for you. Can't you at least try to be a bit more positive?

    July 3, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. rachel

    Just because the news chooses not to cover her unless they can make it to some kind of scandal doesn't mean she isn't doing anything. She had been to meetings and welcomed a few foreign leaders since her surgery. You wil have to investigate online yourself and see everything she has been up to, the news only loves Obama and scandels.

    July 3, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. phoenix86

    Guess Hillary can't appease and surrender fast enough for O-Blame-a.

    July 3, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Joe in Austin

    elbowed aside is a prejorative the press made up. yes, sidelined, like any loyal player not at 100% . hopefully will have an opportunity to return.

    July 3, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Anya

    barry screws up Iran and can't decide what to do - and what does CNN do? Same old same old. Attack Hillary Clinton. You are pathetic. And what exactly is barry doing while the UK embassy staffers are locked up? Having a sleepover with 20 little girls.

    I know you won't post this but I feel better. Happy 4th.

    July 3, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. The Dude

    Wake up! Obama put her in a box with her selection to Sec of State...she could not say no and this was textbook Chicago politics. She will leave (like Colin) and will be around again to take a shot at the WH. Obamo is a friggin joke...

    How do you like your change now?

    July 3, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. phoenix86


    I see the truth still hurts you. Best grow up a little and stop waiting for the fool you elected to take care of you. News flash for you, He lied and he won't.

    July 3, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Neutralizer

    Lets be honest here, Hillary as Secretary of State is totally put on the sidelines, she's a flower vase in Obama administration must be put in check. The appointment of Hillary as SOS is to stop her ambition to run for 2012 as President, Obama KNEW Hillary can beat her. Only reason Obama became President, coz Hillary campaigned FOR HIM. If hillary and Bill Clinton did NOT campaign for Obambi, McCain is OUR President today. But idiot population voted for American Idol, they want hope and change; their hope now becomes HOPELESS, their change become NO MORE CHANGE in their pocket. They are flat broke, jobless, homeless and ON WELFARE. They have Obambi and the DEMOCRAPS to thank for!

    July 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Realistic Democrat

    I never thought I would say this about Clinton, but she is wanting to take a stronger stance against Iran and North Korea than Obama (who I did vote for by the way). Even the European Union said Obama was being weak in foreign matters and they don't stand for anything anymore. That says a lot and raises my concerns about Obama considerably...

    So, yes... She is going to be elbowed aside and more of a "YES, Mr. Obama" man or woman will take her place.

    Hilliary in 2012!!!

    July 3, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. Pierce

    here is to an early and speedy recover, Hillary.

    And Joe Biden, you do not have 1/10 the brilliance, skill or votes that Hillary has.
    So shut up and just go back to being the warm bucket of spit that you have signed up to be.

    July 3, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Obama!!!

    why does the media like to start rumors and issues that are not there??

    July 3, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. Orlando

    This is news? Clinton appears to have a very busy schedule. Biden was selected for his foreign affairs expertise, it would be natural for him to spend some time in Iraq. Not everything is a scandal

    July 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. Joe

    CNN is getting to be as bad as Fox News, and that's pretty bad. How about just reporting the news instead of inventing it?

    July 3, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Julio


    I am here to reveal that Governor Palin is being investigated for something out of ordinary. She was caught doing something that when revealed, will be a deception for most of her supporters. If she keeps her job the scandal will affect the Republican more deeper. Since, she will be forced out of office.

    So, for the sake of the party she is stepping down. But the investigation will go forward. In three months the media will have a huge story to sell.

    Can't you read her face during the announcement?
    Can't you see the deception on her speech?
    Why you think she doesn't attack President Obama or the Democrats during the announcement?

    She is done folks.

    Wait and see.

    July 3, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. minnie

    Casandra, Obama should not have picked people not capable. Course it takes one to know one.

    July 3, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    You elbow a Clinton, you will finda boot in your a*s

    July 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. lou

    She was probably drunk and fell to the concrete. I'm just glad she wasn't president when it happened, it would be covered like Michael Jackson.

    July 3, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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