Clinton defends Rice, pushes off 2016 speculation
December 6th, 2012
04:09 PM ET
1 year ago

Clinton defends Rice, pushes off 2016 speculation

(CNN) – On one of her last official foreign trips as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton emphasized her support of the embattled UN Ambassador Susan Rice and brushed off speculation about her and her husband former President Bill Clinton's future plans.

Republican criticism of Rice following the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead has complicated the possibility President Barack Obama might nominate her to replace Clinton as secretary of state. At issue are talking points Rice conveyed on the Sunday public affairs television shows following the attack which did not label the assault a deliberate act by terrorists. Critics have said she knowingly misled the public while Rice and the White House maintain she made clear the information provided was based on the best intelligence available at the time.

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Clinton praised Rice as a capable leader and insisted "she made very clear in her appearances that the information was subject to change as more facts were gathered and analyzed by the intelligence community" in a press conference after a speech at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Dublin Thursday.

"This decision about who succeeds me is totally up to the President, and of course, I will support whatever he decides," said Clinton, who announced she would be leaving her post in the administration in January.

"I've told [Obama] that I certainly do what I can to help to expedite a transition, but I'm not going to make any comment beyond that."

As for her and her husband's future political aspirations, Clinton demurred in response to continued speculation she might make a run for the White House in 2016 and rumors former President Bill Clinton might be in line as ambassador to Ireland.

"I'm frankly looking forward to returning to living a life that enjoys a lot of simple pleasures and gives me time for family and friends and other pursuits," she said.

"I cannot comment on what President Obama might do in the second term – obviously, it's his decision – but I would think that my husband will be here many times in the future doing the work that he's been doing without having to have the title of ambassador."

CNN National Security Supervising Producer Adam Levine contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Ireland
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Randy, San Francisco

    Hillary will shatter the glass ceiling in the 2016 presidential election.

    December 6, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. MTATL67

    If anyone has earned the oval office Secretary Clinton has. Seeing how she's gone from first lady of Arkansas to first lady of the United States, Senator from New York and then to Secretary of State. Accepting Secretary of State was the clincher for me. Why because it showed that even after a horrible mean primary. She put aside her personal feelings and answered the call to duty from the President. Who could have foreseen in doing so one of the best partnerships in politics would developed. For all her accomplishments and the failures that she clearly has learned from has earned my vote.

    December 6, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. Rick in OP

    Forget Rice, she is just a flunky for the Obama Administration. I want Clinton to explain why the State Department denied Ambassador Steven's repeated request for additional security in Libya. This lack of security cost Stevens and three other Americans their lives. We are owed an explanation!

    December 6, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. skokie

    "I'm frankly looking forward to returning to living a life that enjoys a lot of simple pleasures and gives me time for family and friends and other pursuits," she said.--- -- meaning I will be discussing a bid for the white house with my family and friends, rest for a year and a half then begin campaigning for 2016.

    December 6, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. pburkart

    If not Clinton in 2016...Then I see the following possible match-up in 2016:

    Rice vs Rice (Condelezza vs Susan)

    December 6, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Rice simply cannot be defended. She knew what she was doing, and did it anyway. That's the bottom line. Now she has to suffer the consequences of her actions.

    December 6, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Davidl

    Inspire the world. Go Hillary!.

    As Clinton once said, "Buy one get one free"

    December 6, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  8. freedom

    Hilary Clinton lied over flag draped caskets of our murdered Ambassador and servicemen from the Libya tragedy. She has much to explain, under oath, before she can be in a position to defend Rice, or even consider running for president. Her service in the Obama admin. has tainted her reputation, and will haunt her in her future political career. These individuals, including the president, are not above the law – they will be held accountable by the laws of the land and the American people.

    December 6, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. BigTBone

    Rick in OP- how do you know the state dept denied the request? Flimsy Graham tell you that?

    What if they said "There's a secret CIA hangout a block away if things get hot, call them"

    Or maybe it just came down to a staffing increase that required approval from General Pantsless?

    To think she or Obama purposely hung that station out to dry, you don't know them at all. They're actually public servants with integrity. I know that's unusual when you're used to republican warmongers who forgot 00-08 existed.

    December 6, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Hotdog

    There is no level of security that could have guaranteed a secured environment when a person is on embassy duty or is an ambassador in a foreign country. Unfortunately, Ambassador Stevens had a high risk duty assignment.

    December 6, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. ron tompkins

    Interesting comments from obvious republicans. while they scream, holler and pretend to be outraged over the deaths of 4 people they seem to forget the over 4000 who died in Iraq fighting a war that was based entirely on lies. so when do bush and the gang get held accountable for that lie? whiel it is extremely unfortunate that 4 people died it is even worse when people seek political gain from death, but the republicans aren't known for ethics or scruples.

    December 6, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. mcskadittle

    it is amazing how the republicans released all of the conspiracy crazies, i guess it is like pandora's box and we will stuck with them forever

    December 6, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. outside view

    Rick in OP

    Forget Rice, she is just a flunky for the Obama Administration. I want Clinton to explain why the State Department denied Ambassador Steven's repeated request for additional security in Libya. This lack of security cost Stevens and three other Americans their lives. We are owed an explanation!

    December 6, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  14. Chud

    So bubba is the president?

    December 6, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. outside view

    Rick in OP if you would care to check the facts i think that you would find out that the GOP VOTED against extra funds for all embassies across the board. So you might want to ask them. Hell I'm from Canada and even I know this

    December 6, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Franklin

    Hillary now looks old and used up. She no longer has a accurate perspective concerning relevant issues. It is time for her to call it a day.

    December 6, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  17. Facts don't Lie

    one thing is for certain, had it been Hillary that delivered these talking points the likes of McCain and the rest of the GOP conspiracy theorist would NOT have gone after her like they have Rice. Hillary has a bit more clout and plus they are to be honest a bit scared of her and Bill. The far right is a bunch of wimps..maybe Palin was right to say that although she came back and said she was sorry for doing so.

    December 6, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. Steve

    Ms Clinton...deserves to do what she wants to do. I hope she wants (evenutally) to come back and serve her country some more.

    December 6, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. clarke

    Seems like everyone wants answers to their questions, but when they don't like the answer they think people are not being honest. So why ask why? Seems like an oxymoron to me, IMHO

    December 6, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. Rica Fails Again

    This is the First time Susan Rice messed up regarding September 11th. I believe she was the person who let Osama get away to begin with. Our National Security cannot afford a third Susan Rice screwup! John Kerry would be much better suited for the job!!!

    December 6, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  21. marti

    Where was all that outrage when we got dragged through an unjustified war(Iraq). Thousands dead, thousands of soldiers missing limbs. Republican war machines have cost us greatly.
    Whatever Hillary decides to do is her decision. Good luck. Hillary.

    December 6, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. Namejasond

    Hillary has my vote! Go Hillary go!

    December 6, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  23. Tim

    So let me get this right.we have Clinton who left 4 men to die on a roof in a country that she helped liberate the people who killed them and she is defending Rice who she helped send out to lie about it and we have cnn that is reporting that this is a good thing.I cannot believe that we as americans are baffled when the rest of the world thinks we are dumb and full of crap.

    December 6, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |