September 20th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama shares Bill Clinton's assessment of North Korea's leader


WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton got more from his visit to North Korea than the release of two American journalists. Clinton, whose wife is Secretary of State, was able to bring valuable information back to the White House about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, President Obama tells CNN.

"I think President Clinton's assessment was that [Kim's] - he's pretty healthy and in control," President Obama said in an interview that airs Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, "And that's important to know, because we don't have a lot of interaction with the North Koreans. And, you know, President Clinton had a chance to see him close up and have conversations with him.

"I won't go into any more details than that. But there's no doubt that this is somebody who, you know, I think for a while people thought was slipping away. He's reasserted himself. It does appear that he's concerned about - he was more concerned about succession when he was - succession when he was sick, maybe less so now that he's well."

Obama also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that his administration's approach to the largely-isolated Asian nation "is a success story so far."

"[W]e have been able to hold together a coalition that includes the Chinese and the Russians to really apply some of the toughest sanctions we've seen, and it's having an impact," the president said.

The president added that he hoped to see progress toward more responsible behavior from North Korea's leaders.

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soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Willy Brown

    Two communist agree

    September 20, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Debra R

    Rrrright! You allowed that insane dictator to insult our SOS then add ed to the wound by sending her hick of a husband who humiliated her with an intern to talk in her place. Way to show KIM we mean business.

    Why did we need to rescue two idiots that broke the law? Only because they are employed by Al Gore the walking animaton. Now No. Korea thinks we owe THEM....

    BTW it is FORMER President Clinton. In case you hadn't noticed YOU are the president now.

    September 20, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. victim of republican greed

    Are sanctions as tough as having "W" call him a member of the Axes of Evil?

    September 20, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Gifty

    Good for him

    September 20, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. phoenix86

    Clinton came back from N. Korea and told Obama, "here's a guy you can surrender to".

    September 20, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Vyker

    Um ...okay.

    Bill Clinton negotiated a nuclear arms deal with North Korea during the 1990's. Nice feather in his cap.

    Then during President Bush's term...we found out the North Koreans were lied to Bill CLinton. They said sorry and showed video of them disarming their own nuclear reactor.

    Now...present day. North Korea has detonated two nukes underground, tested long range rockets (3 stage) twice...all during Obama's reign.

    Let me think....I sure Bill can tell if the North koreans are lying this time....and Obama's vast foriegn policy experience also compliments Bills....yep...no more trouble from North Korea.

    September 20, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    More Obama and Clinto BULL.

    September 20, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  8. Stu

    The real question is why more than 60 yrs after we "illegally" entered a war, are we still spending untold billions to defend S. Korea? So many like to whine about Bush's "illegal" war in Iraq, yet forget the past. Arm S. Korea to the teeth which any and all weapons, and get out. If the North attacks, the South would have every conceivable means to fight back and win.

    September 20, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Kim

    Wow the nutcases are out early today.

    September 20, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Dan, WA

    Barack, the messiah, has no idea how to handle it so he can just say that he wants to share somebody else's opinion. Nothing of his own. Most inexperienced leader in the international world today.

    September 20, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  11. Keith in Austin

    Let's apologize for all of America's past actions and bow to Kim for his forgiveness!

    September 20, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Linda

    OMG, now we know why he always has a Teleprompter. The guy cannot speak. And worse, apparently he has masive problems with that "truthiness" thing.

    September 20, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. Dale

    If McCain was prez, we would have invaded them by now. The only happy Republican is an at-war Republican.

    September 20, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Cora

    Does this man ever have an opinion of his own.?
    He is a weak President and the rest of the world knows it.

    September 20, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Terry, TX

    Well I am sure the black racist communist community organizer CZAR Van Jones agrees with Obama and Clinton.

    All Clinton did was go get Al Gores two idiot reporters....who didn't happen to see the river between China and N Korea (ha!)...and personally carried Obama's message...."oh yeah..what ever you want for the ladies". Give me a break. N Korea is eating Obama's lunch...what do you expect from a 2 yr radical socialist senator with no governing experience.

    September 20, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. lou

    Oh Man,you nut jobs will have something negative to say about anything this man does. You Actually HATE the fact that our great country has been brought back from the brink of ruins,.You Hate the fact that we are not in a depression. You actually want our great country to suffer rather than see this man get any credit or approval. You are all pathetic,ignorant,flag waving PIGS and you DISGUST me!!!.

    September 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. newton

    How is it that some americans just can't accept that what they say or do isn't the law. The world has changed, deal with it.

    September 20, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. rachel

    Well looks like even though Mrs Obama questioned whether Obama really wants Bill and Hillary down the hall from him it seems he really needs their help.

    September 20, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. Debra R

    i'd rather be called a pathetic, ignorant, flag waving PIG,
    than BE a cowardy sniveling, kowtowing to dictaors, ANTI-American....like lou

    September 20, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Bill Clinton went to North Korea for one reason and one reason only.......PUBLICITY!! It's like a drug to him. The rest of us got absolutely nothing from Clinton's junket.....other than more to worry about now when we travel abroad.

    September 20, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. clay

    You people have some ridiculous things to say! If mcain was president and we did invade n. Korea like said further up on the page that would just put us further in the hole! That's really wat we need now isn't it

    September 20, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Keith in Austin

    "Well it all depends on what the meaning of the word is, is. Clinton and Obama...... Dos Liars!

    September 20, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |