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. dbacchus

    Wow! Nice comments... Still a lot of crazy cat "ladies" out there. No education, no family, no life... Pathetic.

    July 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Roger in CA

    Good Lord, folks. The woman BROKE her elbow. She needs to undergo serious physical therapy. NOT EVERYTHING IS POLITICAL INTRIQUE. Get a life!

    July 3, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. Peggy

    I don't believe that the Secretary of State needs to be bogged down overseeing things in Iraq. After all her responsibility is the world, not just one country. Give her and the President a break.

    July 3, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. duddley been dun wrong

    bump her, dump her, throw her in the dumpster. hillary's finished!!!

    July 3, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Hillary will be more than elbowed aside. Could have predicted this. One way to neutralize your opponents is to have them work for you. Never could understand why Hillary would want to be SOS rather than US Senator. BHO can effectively end her political career, and probably will.

    July 3, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Michael, Pensacola, FL

    When you throw a lot of elbows, you sure need them to stay strong!

    July 3, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Hillary will resign shortly....

    It's been obvious for months that she has little or no power......

    Why? Because Obama is pushing her aside........

    Can anyone name one important thing she has done as Sec. of State?

    July 3, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  8. Zero.

    See now you bring up Powell again. All comments are closed but you never stop talking. Jack meahnt no more to Powell, than did Barack Obama. Tehy aree all Black... Powell building his own ego.

    Black CNN talking their same old crap. "Black in America"... How stupid.

    July 3, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. Hillary "Elbowed"

    Hillary took the job in good faith and looky here what Obama is now openly doing to her....we, the 18 million supporters of Hillary Clinton will remember this "Obama" come 2012...you are a one term Prez..!!

    July 3, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Don

    Secretary Clinton is doing a great job. She has opened more doors in the Mid East than the last administration did in eight years. She has only been in the job for six months, to expect major breakthroughs that quickly is not realistic. She is a real pro and will be a great Secretary of State.

    July 3, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. people still come to CNN blog?


    go to democracy dot com.

    go read global research.

    July 3, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. annie s

    This is a complete non story, with an attempt to make it a story by an sensationalist interviewer. Mrs. Clinton isn't physically up to the trip – so what? As the nation's top diplomat, she also doesn't have to be hands on in every arena – having Biden oversee Iraq doesn't' mean she is being sidelined.

    July 3, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. Rev. Wright

    She is a nice person, Get ready to be thrown under the bus....like me?

    July 3, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Andrew


    She has done a great job as Sec of State, if only our President would listen to her!!!!!!

    July 3, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. Hugo

    Remember Lyndon Johnson said, it is better to keep your enemies within the tent to "yellow rain" outward than to have them raining inward on your parade. The Clintons are done, the liberal left has spoken! Besides watching Joe Biden handle this should provide some pretty entertaining relief from the everyday Bozama show we are currently living.

    July 3, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Jasmine in Germany

    Everyone in the new administration has enough work. Clinton needs to have her injury heal properly or she may have problems with it for the rest of her life. She doesn't have to be on the road to work and I'm sure she's doing a fine job.

    July 3, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Leah

    Well said, Joe!! A blog should allow for room to discuss, learn and express an educated opinion.

    CNN's speculations, exaggerations and carefully cherrypicked quotes give rise to haetful, uniformed rantings by the same people day in and day out who I suspect are posting under a number of different names.

    July 3, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Aaron

    This entire dialogue is pretty silly.

    July 3, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. JJ

    Rev Wright u deserved it though Hillary would not

    July 3, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. Old White Man Now Independent Party Member

    I bet John King of CNN was hoping Hillary was being pushed aside so that his beloved Republican party could score points with women.

    John King, please move over to your real station Fraud News (aka Fox News).

    July 3, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. Dee

    Good grief! Aren't there enough real stories to go around. Biden is doing what VPs usually do..make trips and speeches. Hillary had a fairly serious injury for someone of her age (same as mine). It takes a bit to bounce back. She had done a good job and will continue to do so. Give it a chance. I am very sick of the 2012 election being run in 2009!

    July 3, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. Obama's Foreign Policy is B.S

    Hillary is better than this puppet show......Clinton/.2012

    July 3, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. Darth Vadik, CA

    Not to change the subject or anything, bu my Lakers traded Ariza for Artest. Now I HAVE to get closer seats at the Staples Center. Just in case the crazy man goes crazy and there is a fight.

    ...just a thought.

    Oh yes, Hillary Rulz...

    July 3, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. Jhak Schiddt

    We elected the wrong democrat. Hillary is by far the more able for the job.
    Hillary in '12.

    July 3, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    NObody elbows Hillary. Give the woman time to heal, for pete's sake. You'd give a man the time.

    Get off it CNN. You're just trying to stir up trouble.

    July 3, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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