Hillary Clinton's record at State under fire, again
April 22nd, 2014
07:40 PM ET
7 months ago

Hillary Clinton's record at State under fire, again

(CNN) – The back-and-forth between Republicans and defenders of Hillary Clinton’s record as America’s top diplomat is flaring anew.

On Tuesday, a reporter asked agency spokeswoman Jen Psaki to "identify one tangible achievement" from a key project executed under Clinton's leadership - the first audit of the State Department.

That review was aimed at identifying how the agency could become more efficient, accountable and effective at carrying out diplomacy and delivering aid worldwide.

"I am certain that those who were here at the time, who worked hard on that effort, could point out one," Psaki responded.

That answer drew a sharp response from the Republican National Committee, which said it was another illustration of what the GOP regards as Clinton’s lackluster record from her tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to early 2013.

“It speaks volumes that the State Department is having trouble naming the accomplishments from Secretary Clinton’s tenure," RNC spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement.

"Americans are quite familiar with Hillary Clinton’s role regarding Benghazi and the failed Russia Reset initiative, but they’re still scratching their heads on what exactly she accomplished as the secretary of state,” Wilcox said.

Later, the State Department provided a list of seven changes resulting from the 2010 audit. They included the reorganization and creation of undersecretary positions and the establishment of three bureaus aimed at countering terrorism, promoting American energy interests and helping civilian leaders of the agency prevent conflict and violence.

“Hard Choices,” Clinton's book about her years at the State Department, goes on sale June 10, providing her with a chance to tout what she sees as her successes.

In the meantime, Republicans continue to try to fill the political vacuum with repeated criticism of her diplomatic record, which polls show is a positive with voters ahead of a potential 2016 White House bid.

While Clinton stays relatively mum on the subject, the defense of her record at the State Department is left to her allies and Correct the Record, a spinoff of Democratic super PAC American Bridge. It was founded to deflect Republican attacks that might endanger a Clinton candidacy before she's even decided whether to run.

The group points to a list of 11 achievements on its website. It credits her with restoring America's leadership and standing in the world, building and maintaining a coalition to enact unprecedented sanctions against Iran, her role in a nuclear missile reduction treaty with Russia and her support for the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"And, yes, you can also find information on her implementation of (audit)-inspired reforms, including the integration of women into the secretary of state policy framework and ensuring our economic, energy, and environmental goals serve U.S. national security interests," senior adviser Burns Strider told CNN.

But without major achievements to point to, like progress on Mideast peace, and U.S.-Russian relations at a post-Cold War low despite her attempt to reset them, arguments for her accomplishments are modest.

Even Clinton herself has struggled to clearly articulate concrete examples of her success.

"I really see my role as secretary, and, in fact, leadership in general in a democracy, as a relay race," Clinton told an audience at a recent event in New York when she was asked about her triumphs in that job. "You run the best race you can run, you hand off the baton."

CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • State Department
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. MTATL67

    Benghazi, Benghazi If that is all the Republicans can come up with. Their defeat in 2016 will be down right humiliating.

    April 22, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. Kimo

    Hil's record makes Elizabeth Warren look like the nation's first woman Pres...

    April 22, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. jerry

    clinton had a chance to earn her way to the white house and she blew it. She is a corrupted politician, nothing more. The country needs a leader not this mess.

    April 22, 2014 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  4. Michael

    Republicans criticizing H. Clinton is not news. Once again, CNN trying its best to act "fair and balanced". Why does it use Fox News as a model for news reporting? And this news story is amateurish at best seeing as how the reporter didn't identify who it was that asked the question about Hillary Clinton. For all we know the reporter who asked the question was from The Drudge Report, a publication with a clear axe to grind.

    April 22, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  5. longtooth

    Wow, the republicans are really terrified, aren't they? Whatever will they do if Hillary doesn't run?

    April 22, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. Donny

    Oh Wah. The righties are gonna lose if she runs. I can't wait to vote for her.

    April 22, 2014 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  7. Name. willard

    Keep out clinton hillary 2016 cause she make trouble at benzhinza

    April 22, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. Blue

    The GOP will not give up on destruction. They choose not to believe anything good about anyone of the opposite party. Just ignore them and maybe they will just go away.

    April 22, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  9. THR

    Well, what difference does it make at this point?

    April 22, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. Smitty

    Ben Ghazi and the reset button, enough said. Just like Obumbles not one achievement.

    April 22, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. bert f.

    " ...her support for the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden."
    So let me get this straight, her sitting in the operations room at the White House the night of the raid stands as one of her accomplishments. I was sitting at home on my lazy-boy when it happened. Can I count it as one of MY accomplishments too?

    April 22, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  12. jdalco

    What record? what did she do of note other than let four Americans die in Libya??? She was useless as a Secretary of State..

    April 22, 2014 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  13. meki60

    Hillary is a junk bond promoter.

    April 22, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  14. Gary Mallinger

    I will support either Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren for President, But I would never vote for Hillary Clinton. Never liked her since White Water. And seeing how she performed as Secretary of State. No Way!

    April 22, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  15. TM

    What do they mean Again, the right wing nuts never stop crying Benghazi. Thousands have died in Embassy attacks and they said nothing.

    April 22, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  16. robert constant

    Republican slash and burn politics as usual !

    April 22, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  17. 1776usa2016

    LOL !!

    Without progress on Middle East peace. !!!

    Who are you kidding?

    Nobody has been able to make any progress on Middle East peace.

    Mrs. Clinton would have had to walk on water to make any progress on that.

    .

    April 22, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  18. edlf2014

    She received credit as being a great if not the greatest Secretary of State. But about all she did was continuous travel from one country to another and then again. State Department duties were conducted by others in the Dept. She would return to Washington to plan her next overseas visit/s. So far as Benghazi goes, she probably did not know where Benghazi was, and had no interest in what happened there.

    April 22, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. john

    What did Colin Powell accomplish? Lying to the United Nations on behalf of the Republicans?? What did Condoleza Rice accomplish? Nothing. Any reasonably intelligent person will see through their feeble effort to vilify Hillary.

    April 22, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  20. Steve

    The Republicans are still scared of Hillary.

    April 22, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  21. Gurgyl

    -–Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi–enough, let me ask what did Candi Rice achieve? These are state secretary portfolios. It is not presidential. She did just fine. Yes, on Hillary16.
    PS: GOP idiotic turmoil turns on any way as a way of life. We know GOP is defunct.

    April 22, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  22. rl

    The republicon/TBers must really, really be afraid of Hillary Clinton.

    April 22, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. Not Too Hard To Understand

    And the right continues to exhibit its fear of Mrs, Clinton. That is, President Hillary Clinton.

    April 22, 2014 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  24. tim

    Considered Hillary when she last ran but now that I have seen her run, I think I would select someone else to carry the baton who will not drop it during her leg of the race. After seeing how she performed, the shape she was in toward the end of her run, I wonder if she is physically able to handle the presidency. I worry about her health.

    April 22, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  25. Trevor I

    Repubs can keep going for the top but Hillary Clinton aint moving!

    April 22, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
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