August 9th, 2009
10:04 AM ET
5 years ago

SOTU: Rice won’t rule out troubleshooting role for Bill Clinton

Rice said it was 'ridiculous' to say Bill Clinton was acting in any official capacity during his trip to North Korea.
Rice said it was 'ridiculous' to say Bill Clinton was acting in any official capacity during his trip to North Korea.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that the Obama administration was pleased with the result of former President Bill Clinton’s private mission that resulted in the release of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee – and wouldn’t rule out bringing him back on board in a more official role in the future.

“Obviously this was not a negotiation. I want to be clear about this,” she told CNN’s John King on “State of the Union.”

“This was a humanitarian mission. But Bill Clinton has enormous skills, experience and talent, we’re very grateful for his willingness to take this private mission, and pleased with the results. I can’t predict what might transpire down the road but we obviously value what he can contribute.”

Clinton traveled to North Korea last week and spoke with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, securing the release of the two women.

Rice said it was “ridiculous” to say Clinton was acting in an official capacity or relaying any messages on the administration’s behalf. But she conceded that his visit provided the White House with some valuable insight into the state of the regime.

“Obviously he listened, and obviously we are still in the process of continuing our debriefing with President Clinton, and obviously he heard what Kim Jong-il had to say,” she said. “And what that contributes to our understanding of what’s going on in North Korea I’d rather not get into in this discussion, but obviously we look forward to a full analysis of the observations and analysis of what President Clinton brought back.”

Rice said Clinton’s mission, and the release of Ling and Lee, would not change the administration’s approach or policy toward the regime.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • State of the Union • Susan Rice
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. vic nashville , Tn

    Bill and Hillary are smart and good people

    I am happy Obama using them on right time ,right place

    Smart administration not like Bush

    August 9, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    This administration would be remiss not to use President Clinton's incredible talents in whatever way it could. That could only be a plus for our country.

    August 9, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. unshrub

    People talk about the egos of the Clintons, and how they acted during the election, BUT now that the dust has settled, they are doing whatever their country needs without any concern about their own ego. They are helping the President in any capacity he needs. They are the real patriots of this country. Not like Palin and Newt who lies, lies, lies to help her ego. republicans should be ashamed of her and Newt in how they are lying to help their chances to be elected President. Shame on them!

    August 9, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. Candace Fort Bragg, NC

    This was NOT a humanitarian mission. This was a deal under the table. Have mercy on the USA for this one! I also believe those girls should have served their time. They broke that countries law.

    August 9, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. 60's survivor

    Whatever it takes to stabilize the world – we need to be open to new ideas and positive approach to negotiation......thats what I voted for among many other reasons, not to mention Health Care Reform! Now. all the rhetoric about everything going too fast ... are just throwing up roadblocks--this has been looked at and thought about for a long long time.....those in positions to know including doctors and nurses know where the problems lie, those who have lost their insurance (through no fault of there own) know where the problems lie. Just like diplomacy – if we haven't learned from history we are doomed to repeat, repeat, repeat, with much of the same negative outcomes.

    August 9, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. chubby

    Come on, are people so stupid as to believe this bull. Bill Clinton goes to North Korea where negotiations have never worked but was there a couple of hours and returns with owl gores girls. It was a done deal before he left the states and the only question is what did obummer give them which we will probably know about.

    August 9, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Tom Dawson

    Why in the world would he ever need her? Madeline, maybe, but not Condie, the most do nothing Secretary of State ever......

    August 9, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. lovable liberal

    What did the Bushists ever get with all their bluster about North Korea? Nothing.

    August 9, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. 60's survivor

    Tom: this is not "Condi" Rice ;)

    August 9, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. Scott L

    Taxpayer $$$ are now in the pockets of Kim Jong-Il and he is laughing all the way to the bank...

    August 9, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. Scott L

    @Tom Dawson-

    You must be a typical liberal not even paying attention to details because this article is about SUSAN RICE not Condi Rice.

    Start paying attention to what you read you might actually realize how the wool is being pulled over your eyes by this administration.

    August 9, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. T"SAH from Virginia

    To CHUBBY – "obummer"; owl gore? Instead of CHUBBY what about FAT!!! Fat words coming out of a 'CHUBBY'S' mouth!! Of course it was a 'done deal' before he went... He said he would NOT go to North Korea unless it was a DONE DEAL... Stop talking off the top of your head and know your facts...

    Bill Clinton's role in AMERICA would NEVER die!! He was a great president and it still shows TODAY! Let's see BUSH do a 'good Samaritan' deed – like traveling to Louisiana and attempt to help the Katrina victims... LOSER!

    On top of it all, why would President Obama GIVE N Korea "anything" just to release two girls???? Jeez, talk with some sense!!

    August 9, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Daniel Schlafer

    Regardless of what some Americans think of Bill Clinton because of errors in his personal life , the man is a national treasure on the diplomatic front and should assist the Obama administration with world hotspots like North Korea , Iran , and Palestine . Who really knows what the motives of North Korea were in releasing the two journalists , but they sure appreciated the appearance of President Clinton in their country and the ladies are home with their families .

    August 9, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. Brad, California

    Ego-driven President Clinton loves the spotlight and just can't seem to go away.

    Clinton made the first mistake by thinking that American money would buy off North Korea and Bush made the next mistake by continuing to pay out to a starving country that somehow finds the way to afford a huge standing army and nuclear weapon advancement. Bush's biggest mistake was not acting when North Korea tested heir first nuclear weapon.

    If Bush would have had what it took to nuke North Korea back then, he could have put his whole "axis of evil" on notice and Iran would not be following the same path now. But our government and financial institutions are too worried about angering the country that keeps us financially afloat – China.

    The American people should be the biggest and most important lobby in our country. Will we ever have a government that places the needs of Americans first?

    August 9, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. Fitz

    @Scott L
    Please save all the dribble. No one will forget how we ended up in this huge mess as long as there is TV, internet and word of mouth. Republicans and right wing morons such as yourself will scream and holler and that's what your paid to do. Continue, doesn't matter much anyway because this Administration isn't campaigning anymore, they are in charge and when the smoke clears people will see that "This" administration did more for the American people than oh god McCain or Palin would have .

    August 9, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. rachel

    People need to stop hating on Bubba, he is the man. Hillary and Bill will always be a force and its best to use them and their connections.

    August 9, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Its OK to lie as long as we win

    Bill Clinton is doing a great job,now lets send him to find the rightwing bagman for the Corporate Fascists,Henry Paulson.Maybe he can find all the money he took before he left the country.

    August 9, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  18. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Why can't we all be happy that the two journalists are safely back home? What the hell is the matter with us that we have to see evil in everything?

    August 9, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  19. K

    Let's see how long this stays on here CNN:

    Yes, let's send this guy over to every country who makes fun of his polyester-wearing fat ass wife! We sure wouldn't want her doing the job she's getting paid to do, especially when they call her names and she has to send the real politicians in!!! I wonder which girl he groped on the flight back home?

    August 9, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. Kevin in Ohio

    She is right...it was not a negotiation. It was just one more trip on Obama's apology tour.

    August 9, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. William

    "Brad, California August 9th, 2009 11:16 am ET

    Ego-driven President Clinton loves the spotlight and just can't seem to go away.

    Clinton made the first mistake by thinking that American money would buy off North Korea and Bush made the next mistake by continuing to pay out to a starving country that somehow finds the way to afford a huge standing army and nuclear weapon advancement. Bush's biggest mistake was not acting when North Korea tested heir first nuclear weapon.

    If Bush would have had what it took to nuke North Korea back then, he could have put his whole "axis of evil" on notice and Iran would not be following the same path now. But our government and financial institutions are too worried about angering the country that keeps us financially afloat – China.

    The American people should be the biggest and most important lobby in our country. Will we ever have a government that places the needs of Americans first?"

    Brad, you are an idiot. It's a good thing we don't have crazy thinking people like you in government, if we did, it would be a "Mad Max" world by now. If anyone needed to be euthanized, it is you, and anyone who thinks like you. You are a Facist.

    August 9, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. joshua

    lol Kevin in Ohio, I like never agree with crap you say, but that apology tour thing was funny. lol

    August 9, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Some of you must start out your day drinking booze and doing drugs while playing war games on your xbox.hahaha

    August 9, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. Cindy

    How un-American are people? Is there not a time when we can put the partisan bickering aside and just come together when something good happens? If people don't stop the bickering and come together when good things happen, then what do we have as a nation?
    ---
    We need to work together as a country to solve our problems, not tow a party line at any cost. It's really starting to get on my nerves that people don't have the goodness in them to be happy when something good happens, even if it came to be by a guy you dont like.
    You desearve the world you get. Think about that people.

    August 9, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. Keith in Austin

    Simple: Willie likes Asian chicks!

    August 9, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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