July 16th, 2009
06:55 PM ET
9 years ago

Clinton again rips into vetting process

 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday tore into the Obama administration's 'vetting' process

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday tore into the Obama administration's 'vetting' process

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Behind the scenes they're tearing out their hair.

Nominees for top positions in the Obama administration say they are put on seemingly endless hold for months during the "vetting" process, forced to provide minute details of their financial, personal and professional lives going back years. Many have to hire lawyers and accountants – paid for with their own money – to compile the information. Some nominees have simply given up in frustration.

Now, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says it's affecting U.S. diplomatic relations.

"It's hard to explain in my position to our foreign counterparts that we don't have positions filled that would be the natural interlocutors or their counterparts in other countries," she said Thursday.

It's the third time this week the secretary has lambasted the process. Monday, she called it "frustrating beyond words," telling staff at the U.S. Agency for International Development who still don't have a new administrator, the process is a "nightmare."

Wednesday, in a major foreign policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton was at it again: "I mean, we are trying to get our political leaders in place to work with our very dedicated Foreign Service and Civil Service employees, but we're still not there yet. And I had no idea when I was in the Senate asking a million questions of every nominee – how really shortsighted that was."

Thursday, at a press availability, the Secretary told CNN, "Most (foreign) governments, after they are elected, are up and going in a relatively short period of time. We are now six months into our new administration and it's not only here but across the government where they don't have critical positions filled. I think it's pretty obvious that the process has gotten much more complicated, cumbersome and lengthy and that is something that I hear from everyone. And it is a matter that we're going to have to address."

Clinton added that it's not just the Obama administration and it's not happening just at the State Department or USAID. The situation has been getting worse with every administration. But some political observers say President Obama's new ethics rules make it even more challenging to get through the process.

In spite of the frustration, at the USAID town hall Clinton managed to find some ironic humor in the predicament: "… here's one of the questions you get asked: first of all, you have to remember everywhere you've lived since you were 18. And, beyond a certain age you can't even remember when you were 18!"

Filed under: Extra • Hillary Clinton • Obama administration
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Burly

    HIllary is going to quit as Secretary of State. She is frustrated and hand-cuffed by this administration. She is being pushed so far into the background that she is being rendered ineffective. She'll announce by end of summer.

    July 16, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Maybe if they'd done a better job vetting his first few nominations (who turned out to be tax cheats), they wouldn't have to be so extreme now.

    July 16, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  3. bimmer

    Good for her. No point saying "yes" all the time to this buffoon.

    July 16, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. Susie

    Hillary – it IS the OBAMA (LACK OF) ADMINISTRATION. He simply doesn't DO anything. He's too busy date nighting, Flying around the world with his family, playing baseball, and eating Burgers., WHEN will he WORK??? Maybe someday SOON he'll visit that White House OFFICE which he drooled for and START THE JOB!!!!

    July 16, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. John in Florida

    Seems the Obama Administration can't do anything proper. Just case in point SOS Clinton, was the better choice in 2008, and hopefully she will be an option in 2012. So we might rid the nation of this waste of a term Obama is proving to be.

    July 16, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  6. Not good

    200+ years of process and fighting between the repubs and dems has created a process that is not getting done its intended task

    we need to scale back the processes and the government

    July 16, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. kishen c.rao

    It is the system that is lacking the morale...not the obama administration. or else, what, simple, judge of supreme court position, take for instance, how wastage of time and money they are investing...despite she is well qualified....Lobbyists, from NRA this and that, whether it is obama or some other administration it is the same...you need to understand...it is the system flaw...not particularly one administration...ok...it is the system...fault...you are right..some times it is frustration....system needs to be changed...like lot of other things....I think, pres. Obama needs to stop hiring any further and concentrate on Economy...Health care and energy independence...and immigration...nation is in dire danger..with all these gripes...

    July 16, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. annie for Palin

    Wake-up Hillary – obama doesn't want these positions filled! He'll just appoint more czars – you know people who don't have to be approved by congress or the American taxpayer. Makes it easier for him to destroy our country.

    July 16, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. Roger

    Hilliary you got beat. plain & simple you lost. I know you crave the limelight, you want attention but you lost. So get on board quit crying & start doing the job the American public expects.

    July 16, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. drummajor66

    Thanks Hillary. I know next to Palin you're the most hated woman in America. It's a shame cause you don't deserve it. Thanks for pushing back and letting everybody know you're not addicted to the kool-aid.

    July 16, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  11. demwit

    And to think that the media once tried to sell America on Obama's historical vetting process. Only morons believe what journalista say today. Congradulations CNN..

    July 16, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |

    This is true President material. All the others is also rand and the other is a product of ignorance.

    July 16, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  13. Ren from Baltimore


    Rather than trying to figure out how to "back-bench" Secretary Clinton, I suggest your people get on this problem and FIX IT.

    Let's not be Republicanesque obstructionists--there is much, much work to do!

    July 16, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  14. malclave

    The problem is exacerbated when the best the Demcorats have to offer are so unpatriotic (according to V.P. Biden) that they won't even pay their taxes.

    Of course, that's only logical... as liberals, they want EVERYONE ELSE to pay for their pet projects, they're not willing to pay themelves.

    July 16, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. I knew there was a reason I didn't vote for her...

    Would she have just filled the seats to fill them???

    Would she have had anyone vetted???

    I think she has envy problems yet undiscovered.

    July 16, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. Tatianna

    Why did Obama deny or refuse Americans to administer the same type of vetting process as a presidental candidate? On his first day in office, Obama signed Executive Order 13489. It says that only the AG and Council to the president are able to review presidential requests and determine if they can be made public or not. In other words, you arent going to see any records or documents that Obama doesnt want you to see. It shouldnt surprise anyone that Obamas first official act was to deny access to his records. During a speech, Obama said: I will never hide the truth because it is uncomfortable. For more than two years, Obama has employed teams of lawyers in a dozen states to hide the truth surrounding his birth,college, travel and medical records. We have a sitting president who has lived all his life without leaving any footprints-NONE! Narcissist-In-Chief Obama may be the most mysterious and secretive president in American history, inexperienced and arguably unqualified!

    July 16, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. Susan

    thats the job created by Obama........... more and more questions means more earnings for lawyers....... isn't it a job creation ?

    why don't we have referendum election every year to judge the president's performance? oh well, Obama is win that...because the only thing he is good at: Campaign.

    I am not falling in the trap this time and will vote a third party... at least I will have satisfaction that i did not vote a non-performer in.

    July 16, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. indy

    we didn't even vet the president , why vet these people? our president wouldn't pass a background check to be a state trooper what a joke!

    July 16, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  19. R

    as long as it's not exaggerated which i think it is. Especially when they vetted the Clintons

    July 16, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  20. Peter

    Sen Hillary! I'm looking for a job and I can start working tomorrow!!

    July 16, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  21. Ernie in LA

    Obama should have been vetted and grilled to the bone. He should have answered a lot more questions than he did. He has lied and it's just OK.

    July 16, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  22. bella

    Somehow I don't really think our "foreign counterparts", should become a part of this complaint. It seems to me there would be a very effective "vetting" process for ANY person who may be chosen to work for the State Department. I wonder if she spoke about this so called "problem" with her "Boss"?????

    July 16, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. Ernie in LA

    Watch out Hillary. You can't talk bad about your boss or his policies and still keep your job. I bet she wishes she was still a Senator.

    July 16, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  24. Scott, Tucson

    Hmm maybe she's getting ready now for the 2012 elections?

    July 16, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  25. Inexperience

    The Obama White House in incompetent. We are fortunate the White House does not have to vet the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the military. Gold help us.

    Watch for Hillary to leave State in a year and start to prepare for a White House run of her own challenging Obama for the Dem nomination

    July 16, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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