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. maripil

    Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton is still nursing her broken elbow. People are always going to spin anything to create controversy. For goodness sakes, please give the lady time to heal, OKAY?????

    July 3, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  2. Capital Insider

    I am thinking I may have to agree with a lot of the posters. I think we need to re-evaluate our candidate in 2012. I have not been impressed with Obama, sure he is a great guy, but I am starting to think we are better off with Hillary. So who knows, maybe we'll see a Hillary 2012 ticket! That would be pretty awesome.

    July 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. stormerF

    Napo-mex is in Pakistan,see how easy Hillary is replaced. Why is Napo-mex in Pakistan,we need border security here not there,are we really paying for all these un-necessary trips?Is Napo-mex learning how to rid the country of Taliban?Obama will let them in if we give hm a chance.

    July 3, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. Mick

    Truth be told, Hillary Clinton is a better speaker for Obama on policies.

    Robert Gibbs is a great guy and all, ranks 7.5 out of 10 behind Snow and Perino as press secretary. But for Obama, Hillary Clinton or Ian Kelly just captures the news and the media attention much better.

    July 3, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  5. ROSCOT

    Completely expected by CAMP OBAMA....surprised her honeymoon got past the '08 election!!! Not all that bad a person though!

    July 3, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  6. yamjan

    Hillary in 2012

    July 3, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. Liberalview21

    Ofcourse Obama is forcing Hillary out. This is what Chicago politicans do. Make the competition join your side then kill them. Al Capone politics 101.
    Hillary is also from Ill. and know the rules. Just business as usual for this group. Did you really expect them to help this country? Obama and the clowns in Congress are trying to jam health care reform down our throats. Don't believe them. They are just trying to make them selves rich. Don't believe the "Chosen One", he dosen't tell the truth

    July 3, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  8. Observant

    I am for Hillary in 2012, should have stuck with her in the primaries. Under Clinton we at least all had jobs.....

    July 3, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. Randall Thomas

    It will take more than a broken elbow to stop Hilary Clinton.

    July 3, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  10. Hal

    The President is letting Biden go on trips so he doesn't have to listen to his stupid remarks! It would be nice if both of them go on a trip and don't come back for a long time! :)

    July 3, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. Excuse me?

    I was never a fan of HRC, but she's growing on me. I think she's perfect as SOS and I wish her a speedy recovery. There's a lot going on in the world, and I think she is a wonderful representative of our country. At least she knows that Africa is a continent and not a country like that "other woman"...you know...the QUITTER. I would vote for HRC in 2016 for POTUS.

    July 3, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  12. danel

    You people in the media love to create controversy. Hillary is doing a very good job. Nobody can do that better than Hillary. Joe Biden is in Iraq so what? When Cheney went to Yoguslavia no one makes a hoot about replacing Condi. Hillary is recuperating with her elbow and she deserve it.

    July 3, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  13. Mary Alfaro

    Hillary Clinton is a star -"no you can't take it away from her."

    July 3, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. Jerry in Florida

    Well, she trusted President NObama. Could it be possible that she did not realize The Chosen One lies trough his teeth. And, it's his way or no way at all! To think HE accused Senator McCain of having a bad temper. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. The love fest between NObama and the media, as well as some of the misguided voters that supported Him is starting to come undone. Hillary, you blew it and now you are starting to see/feel the consequences. NObama just can't be trusted.

    To think you helped give him “some” legitimacy! You should have accompanied him to Russia to ensure that he does not give away our country, and most of all, stops apologizing for America’s good deeds around the world.

    Stay Tuned!

    July 3, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. Mark

    At least Clinton know what's she's doing. Biden is clueless.

    July 3, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. Mark

    At least Clinton knows what's she's doing. Biden is clueless.

    July 3, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  17. Rose

    I truly believe that when Bill Clinton met with Obama, Clinton applied some pressure to be sure to give Hillary a high ranking position or he would refuse to campaign for him. The Clintons could both make it tough for Obama. As for Hillary, I believe she is a very good Sec. of State but it is obvious she has some doubts about Obama's decisions. Why is Janet Napalitano going to Pakistan, that should be Hillary's job. Obama needs to be careful and not step on the Clinton's toes.

    July 3, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  18. lou

    Hillary Clinton wants to be on the Supreme Court. Sotameyer is just a smoke screen to appease the Latinos. You watch, something will derail her nomination and Hillary will take it.

    July 3, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. walker

    How quick the Washington elite are to jump on an injury. Clinton, by far, is above and beyond anyone who may step in. Give the world a "real" break. It could be worse, she could be back in New York, where the legislature has hi-jacked the government and nothing is being done.

    July 3, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  20. Tony

    She is a 60yr old women who broke her elbow to the point that it needed operation. As a Orthopedic surgery resident, it will take her up 10-12 weeks to even be able to have function back in her elbow. Her elbow may never be the same as it was.
    Plus, we don't recommend people over 60yrs of age to fly at least 6-8 weeks post up due to lower vascular circulation and increase in pulmonary embolism. HRC is in great shape for her age, and has had great care, but still, there are some factors that cannot be changed.

    She is wise to take it easy and receive Physical Therapy, which is about 4-5 times a week.
    Everyone need to chill. She is not being pushed aside or sold down the river.

    July 3, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  21. Fredrik

    This article reminds me of when CNN a couple of months ago insinuated that there was a rift between Obama and Biden. CNN had no evidence of it, yet the story aired anyway. Of course, there is no rift.

    And here we have another story where CNN is insinuating something without an ounce of evidence. What happened to REAL journalism?

    CNN is going the way Washington Post, ie becoming a laughing stock.

    July 3, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  22. Kenyan Wonder Kid

    Maybe Hillary will tear up and have another "girls' moment" like she staged with such good effect during the election. We all need a good laugh...

    July 3, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Ivan

    CNN is sinking lower and lower with these non-news tittilating stories with no earthly value to anyone.
    This is NOT NEWS!

    July 3, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  24. Desmond

    Trust the "destroy at all cost" brigade to now try to stir trouble in a very successful government team, all other acts of treachery having failed!

    July 3, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  25. PUTZ VADIK

    well, SO WHAT???

    July 3, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
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