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. Brenda

    In the words of a great man, "keep you friends close, your enemies closer". Obama did just that when he appointed Hillary as S.O.S.
    She is smarter, more humane, and definitely a tougher cookie than Obama. I supported McCain because there was no Hillary. She won't make it past 2010 because she needs a purpose. This position has be significantly reduced since the days of Rice and Powell. You can sense her sense of diminishment with this assignment.

    Broken elbows take months to heal and I imagine even the simplest tasks are tough to perform. Hillary, we love you and are rooting for you even if Obama is wasting your talents.

    July 3, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. MikeinFXBG

    Quite the metaphor "...broken elbow...elbowed aside..." the only, THE ONLY reason Obama offered Clinton the secretary job, was to keep her under his thumb and out of the way during his continual campaign to be re-elected. Wake up, morons.

    July 3, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. SD, Michigan

    Paranoid much, CNN? She broke her elbow and needs to recover, give it a rest.

    July 3, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. TRUTH

    Ms. Clinton is a great American i n the Obama administration. GO DEMS palin is history with the dying gop started by bush/cheney

    July 3, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  5. Reality Counts

    Stupid pun on an unfortunate accident. Get well soon!

    July 3, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. Texan

    President Obama and Hillary Clinton are not fighting like some fake Democrats want to believe. Clinton is doing a great job as Secretary of State and nobody is treating her as a doormat. Guess some think making baseless lies about Hillary and President Obama will help them divide Democratic Party but its not working.

    July 3, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. formerlyrainbow68

    Being elbowed out of the way couldn't have happened to a more deserving person. Hillary and Bill are pretty irrelevant now. I think Bill will be remembered for Monica Lewinsky, Monica Lewinsky, and Monica Lewinsky.

    July 3, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. BS Fan

    No other nes today? This one seems a snoozer.

    July 3, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. Stan

    Hillary is clearly being pushed aside... Too bad because she could be a great partner to the President – If true, she will not stay silent for long... Come on and put Hillary into the mix !!

    July 3, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. independent

    Hillary took the position as Sec of State because she was weak in foreing policy experience. Or, at least, that was the picture painted durring the campaign. I have no doubt that she discussed her role in the Obama administration before she threw her support behind Obama.
    She could be needing help because of her injury. She could actually be in over her head because she really didn't have any foreign experience. Or, there could be some behind the scenes politics going on.
    In any case, the Democrats have thier candidate for 2012, and it is not Clilnton. If the Democrats wnat to kepp power, they need to fix some of the country's problems. Maybe if they do, the media will stop this biased crap and treat them more favorably.

    July 3, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. chris

    joe biden i not smart enough to replace hillary clinton anywhere............
    it is sad to say when he was chosen as obamas running mate ,I presume he was the token old white guy .......

    July 3, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. Mick

    The Obama administation is letting Hillary Clinton have a go at it slowly role at Sec. of State. She's getting her OJT for the responsibilities and duties for the position.

    It's not a bad idea since her ideals, voice, and opinions on State, national, and world issues have so much value and the media will hinge on her every word.

    So, feeling her way around the intricacies of the State Dept Office and Job is a good thing.

    She will be more vocal and visible in the second year of the administration after she has gotten a handle on just how to present Obama vision for America and America's best interest to the media on the national and world stage- which is always looking for news- 24/7.

    July 3, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. Fred

    My Daddy always told me to say good things about people who break there elbow. She broke her elbow, Good.

    July 3, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  14. Diane

    This is the stupidest article I have ever seen-what does her injured elbow have to do with anything ..............

    July 3, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. Raul Dominguez

    This is such a non-issue! Of course, she needs to take it easy with her elbow. As a rehab specialist, I can tell you, she needs to focus on PT and not tell her elbow become a serious problem. Biden is simply on a PR trip as far as I can see. The State Department is her baby, and people need to chill out!

    July 3, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. Chris W

    All this tit for tat controversy has been started by one reporters loaded question which really makes no sense when you think about it. Hillary has been doing fine even though I used to despise the Clintons because of Bill's policies (I hate to say "I told you so" when looking at the market crash, he was as much to blame as the Bushes) She should not and will not resign and will get back to normal wen she's back to normal, what is so flipping confusing about this? Is this how she has to spend her 4th of July, reading all this gossip while still injured!

    July 3, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. Charlie in Maine

    I know you want readers but seriously?

    July 3, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  18. E. Elliott

    We are fortunate to have a Prsident that got two great Americans to serve and that either one could do the other's job shows how wise the man in chief is.

    July 3, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  19. critical observer

    To Charles Keyes:

    What exactly is a senior state producer? You call this garbage news?

    July 3, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  20. Lost in Texas Forever

    sorry but to me this looks like a story just to ressurect the PUMAs and so far it's doing just that. If Mrs. Clinton felt she was being treated unjust I'm sure she would be the FIRST to come out and say so..she's never been known to hold her tongue before. I pray she gets her elbow healed properly and she will do the job she was chosen to do. This is just trying to add to anti-Obama folks and those of you right wingers KNOW that you can't stand Hillary Clinton but still see a spot to make more hateful comments.

    July 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. Denna

    I understand that Mrs. Clinton needs intensive therapy on her elbow so that she can use it again. After having lived with someone who fractured his leg bone and required therapy, I don't find it hard to believe that she may need rehab. Why is everyone always no suspicious and negative? Geez! Give her and President Obama a break. I think she has been doing a fine job.

    July 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. txleadhead

    Hillary would blow Godzilla for a vote. I'm disabled + if she can't handle the job she can step aside + i'll jump right in. There are plenty of us who would be glad to make her paycheck. Put someone in office who has plenty of money + they have no incentive to do the job at hand. Put someone in who has to work for what they got + they'll do a better job or lose the check. She has no morals or she would have left Bill when he was sniffing that cigar.

    July 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. Margaret

    Folks, Hillary will be nearly as old as McCain in 2012. She's not going to be running for anything.

    If a good 3rd party candidate comes along, both parties will bail and support that candidate. The Republicans have their scandals and the Dems have Obama. Both are done.

    How's that stimulus check working for you?

    July 3, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. Denna

    I understand that Mrs. Clinton needs intensive therapy on her elbow so that she can use it again. After having lived with someone who fractured his leg bone and required therapy, I don't find it hard to believe that she may need rehab. Why is everyone always no suspicious and negative? Give her and President Obama a break. I think she has been doing a fine job. AND HAVE YOU REPORTERS EVER HEARD OF THE MEDICAL PRIVACY LAWS? HER MEDICAL RECOVERY IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS AT ALL. IF YOU ARE SO CURIOUS, WHY DON'T YOU RELEASE ALL OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS SO THAT THE PUBLIC CAN SEE WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE FIT TO REPORT THE NEWS.

    July 3, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  25. Lost in Texas Forever

    I'm sure this would be a far worse story if President Obama had sent her out with a broken elbow.....he would be doomed for doing something like that..so sometimes you can't ever do the right thing to those who are against you anyway.

    July 3, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7