Hillary Clinton on Mandela: 'The loss of a giant among us'
December 6th, 2013
04:06 PM ET
9 months ago

Hillary Clinton on Mandela: 'The loss of a giant among us'

(CNN) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who first met Nelson Mandela in 1992, said Friday the anti-apartheid icon's death marks "the loss of a giant among us."

Clinton made her remarks at an award reception commemorating the late Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.

As a former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, Clinton met with Mandela on a number of occasions over the past two decades.

"As I spent time with him starting in 1992 until just the last year and a half, I was always struck by the extraordinary depth of his self-knowledge, of his awareness about how hard it is to live a life of integrity and service," the potential 2016 presidential candidate said.

The last time she met with Mandela was in August 2012, when she visited him at his home in Qunu, South Africa, during her multi-nation trade and security tour through Africa.

Clinton was one of the few visitors who met with Mandela in his twilight years because of his failing health.

She also met with him 2009, her first year as the nation's chief diplomat, and in 2003, when she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, visited him around his 85th birthday.

During President Clinton's second term, Mandela came to Washington at least three times–in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

On Friday, Hillary Clinton talked about going to Mandela's inauguration in 1994 after he was elected the first black president in South Africa. She said she was struck by how Mandela invited a few of his prison guards to the event, in addition to foreign dignitaries from around the world.

"He made the point of thanking his jailers and pointing out that of all the distinguished VIPs there, he was most grateful that these men - with whom he had exchanged words of recognition and acknowledgment of the others' humanity during the course of that long imprisonment - could be there as well," she said.

It was an example, she said, of how Mandela was someone who "demonstrated unequivocally how each of us can choose how we will respond to those injustices and grievances, those sorrows and tragedies that inflict all of human kind."


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Nelson Mandela
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    He was 95. Great leader.

    December 6, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Malory

    Not just Limbaugh went after Chelsea. McCain did as well. I believe she was 10 at the time. At any rate I lost a very good friend during that time. He would insist on repeating Limbaugh's vile comments to me daily while at work. After repeatedly asking him to stop, I ended up walking away from our friendship. I didn't vote for Clinton, but I certainly didn't embrace Limbaugh either. Not then. Not now.

    In my mind, anyone who listens to that garbage isn't worth the trouble it takes to get beyond the filth.

    December 6, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    Two great Champions.

    December 6, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. anonymous

    The last time she met with Mandela was in August 2012, when she visited him at his home in Qunu, South Africa, during her multi-nation trade and security tour through Africa.
    --

    Too bad she didn't take a moment to stop by Libya and check out the death trap in Benghazi that would cost the lives of 4 Americans one short month later. I guess the photo op with Mandela was more important.

    December 6, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. don in albuquerque

    I knew they could not get through one day without shaking their tiny fists, stamping their little feet, and screaming at the heavens-Benghazzzzi!! Thanks for remaining totally clueless anonymous.

    December 6, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. just asking

    The last time she met with Mandela was in August 2012, when she visited him at his home in Qunu, South Africa, during her multi-nation trade and security tour through Africa.
    ---

    wow.... a 'security tour' of africa bypassing libya where our people had been begging for more security. and then they get killed. nice job there hillary. another bang up job. how does this woman sleep at night? i wonder if she hears the cries of those 4 dead americans in her sleep? she should.

    December 6, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  7. American Worker

    Giant?

    He was a beacon that the 'people' raised up.

    He was not a totalitarian or dictator that was able steamroll over the people.

    December 7, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |