Putin on Clinton: 'It's better not to argue with women'
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the arrival ceremony for the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok, Russia, September 8, 2012
June 4th, 2014
03:38 PM ET
7 months ago

Putin on Clinton: 'It's better not to argue with women'

Updated 4:38 p.m ET, 6/5/2014

Washington (CNN) - Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as someone who has "never been too graceful in her statements," according to the Kremlin transcript of an interview that aired on French TV and radio Wednesday.

After being asked about Clinton's recent tough rhetoric on Russia's foreign policy, Putin said, "It's better not to argue with women." He later characterized Clinton's comments as a sign of weakness, which is maybe "not the worst quality for a woman," he added.

Putin was responding to Clinton's criticism of Russian foreign policy in Eastern Europe, especially her comparison of Putin's Crimea annexation to Adolf Hitler's European aggression ahead of World War II.

"When people push boundaries too far, it's not because they are strong but because they are weak," Putin said in the interview with France's Europe1 and TF1.

Putin also criticized U.S. foreign policy as "aggressive" and suggested that "such extreme statements" suggest a lack of "valid arguments."

Putin and Clinton have met and negotiated a number of times, especially when the former senator and possible frontrunner for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2016 served as America's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013.

"We always met afterwards and had cordial conversations at various international events," Putin said, reflecting on their interactions.

Clinton first knocked Putin at a Long Beach, California private fundraiser in March, when she compared his actions to that of Hitler's in World War II.

At the time, Ukrainian officials and Western diplomats accused Russia of sending thousands of troops into the region – a claim Russia denied, while maintaining that it has the right to use military force there if necessary to protect ethnic Russians.

"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 30s," Clinton said, according to audio of the event released by the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Clinton went on to say that when Putin looks at Ukraine, "he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia."

Putin has justified his actions in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in March, as his efforts to protect native Russians. Hitler used a similar augment when he annexed neighboring Austria and Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland in 1938, one year before invading Poland, which sparked World War II.

Clinton recalibrated her comments at an event the next day, telling an audience at the University of California Los Angeles that she was "not making a comparison" and was merely offering "a little historic perspective."

Since then, though, Clinton has made tough talk on Putin a semi-regular occurrence, especially regarding Ukraine.

"I hope there is not another Cold War," Clinton said during the question and answer portion of a March appearance in Montreal. "Obviously, nobody wants to see that. I think that is primarily up to Putin."

She later added if Putin is allowed to get away with the annexation of Crimea - which it appears he has - "you will see a lot of other countries either directly facing Russian aggression or suborned with their political system so that they are so intimidated that in effect they are transformed into vassals, not sovereign democracies."

Update 4:13 p.m. ET, 6/5/2014: Correct the Record, the communications and rapid response arm of a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC, defended Clinton against Putin's comments on Thursday.

“If Putin thinks he can bully Hillary Clinton, he’s got another thing coming,” Adrienne Elrod the group's spokeswoman, said in a statement. “As the world saw over and over again in her time as Secretary of State, she is one tough leader. She has been blunt and tough with Russia, calling out Putin as a man who ‘doesn’t have a soul,’ and calling out Russia as ‘despicable’ for blocking action against the Assad regime in Syria."


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Russia • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Mrs Libnish

    That Putin...what a cad. Hahahahaha!

    June 4, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Former republican, now an independent

    Putin would naturally say any U.S. Secretary of State is weak. Hillary Clinton was the best Secretary of State we have had in many years and had a tough job considering she had to make amends with all of our allies that were angry with the U.S. after the Bush administration. Countries that used to be in our corner at all times were no longer there after 8 years of arrogance on behalf of Bush, Cheney and Company! The U.S. Cannot stand another administration such as we see brewing with the radical, militant, jihadist faction that has conquered the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton is more intelligent, has more experience, and is better able to deal with the rest of the world than all of the republican hopefuls on the scene today!

    June 4, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Martin Fox

    We hear alot about how Putin annexed Serbia but not how the US state department bankrolled the Ukrainian coup. Nor do we hear about the neo-nazis that were Victoria Nuland's preference to run the country.

    June 4, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Martin Fox

    Oops I meant "annexed Crimea". Serbia was an earlier US success story. Just asked the Christians there, if there are any left alive.

    June 4, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Aaaaah, Russian misogyny....add I to the list of reasons the GOPers/Teatrolls love the guy.

    June 4, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Vlad Puteen

    Those manly pants suits do not scare me one little bit. Like Obama's suits, I know her's are just as empty.

    June 4, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "When people push boundaries too far, it's not because they are strong but because they are weak," Putin said in the interview with France's Europe1 and TF1. "

    What, no acknowledgement of the irony/hypocrisy in him saying that in light of Ukraine?

    June 4, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. CryBabies

    I think he just "reset" Hillary's button. Lets see how she responds. The shoe has been tossed HC.

    June 4, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Those manly pants suits do not scare me one little bit. Like Obama's suits, I know her's are just as empty."

    LOL. And you do realize that Putin started this crap in Ukraine specifically because of Russia's waning power and the fact that it's really been reduced to a regional, not global, power? Putin's pantsuit is empty and he took advantage of a situation he knew nobody could really do much about in order to hide that fact. The reason he's using Ukraine to project a false image of strength is because he knows just how gutted Russia has become.

    June 4, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. CryBabies

    @ Sniffit...Fact or speculation on why we love Putin? I know you're BIG on facts.

    June 4, 2014 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. Ol' Yeller

    @Tony D
    "I do believe Putin just pushed the Hillary Reset Button!! He just LOVES taking on these weak Democrats."

    Yes, that is exactly what Osama Bin Laden thought when we elected President Obama.... Oh goody, now I will get away with another.... ('knock knock'- "DOWN...DOWN...DOWN!" – end of story).... weak Democrats.

    But that big strong cowboy bush and his posse (hee, hee- might have spelled it wrong and in the singular) couldn't even find Osama (because deep down, I believe they were really, really scared of him... that is the tone they set as leaders anyway.... Everyone be afraid of the big bad terrorists and elect us because we will invade other countries so as not to have to engage the actual enemy).
    Like every republicant I have ever met... wear a big cowboy hat or tote your gun around and talk tough, but when it came time for action... crickets; or they had a very important 'business meeting' to attend to and couldn't ride with the men that day.
    Pathetic chicken hawks.

    June 4, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. Tommy G

    Sniffit
    Aaaaah, Russian misogyny....add I to the list of reasons the GOPers/Teatrolls love the guy.
    ---

    Now, now now, Sniffy. just because Putin is making Obama and Hillary Clinton look like fools you don't have to take it out on others. Why do you think Putin treats them this way hmmmm???

    June 4, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. TehDuck

    Putin would do anything to get Hillary elected in 2016. He knows liberal policies are bankrupting us and making us wreak on the world stage.

    To the person calling Hillary Clinton the best SoS in a long time: wth are you talking about? She was on the job for what? 1 year? And did nothing what so ever. Just admit you like her because she's a woman and be done with it. That's not a reason to vote for someone that represents all Americans either BTW.

    June 4, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Mark Thomason

    "When people push boundaries too far, it's not because they are strong but because they are weak," Putin said in the interview with France's Europe1 and TF1.

    Putin also criticized U.S. foreign policy as "aggressive" and suggested that "such extreme statements" suggest a lack of "valid arguments."

    Well, he's right about that much. The rest, not so much. But that part ought to make us think.

    June 4, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Will

    Right after Obamas illegal support for AQ and overthrow of Libya what did Clinton say? "We came, we saw, he DIED!" Than laughed. She is to be out next POTUS?
    This not long after OBama said he was getting "pretty good with that killing thing." He won a Peace Prize!

    June 4, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Thomas

    The Smell of Nationalism !

    June 4, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Silence DoGood

    @Tommy G
    Sniffit
    Aaaaah, Russian misogyny....add I to the list of reasons the GOPers/Teatrolls love the guy.
    -

    Now, now now, Sniffy. just because Putin is making Obama and Hillary Clinton look like fools you don't have to take it out on others. Why do you think Putin treats them this way hmmmm???
    -----–
    If the radical right could combine Putin with a theocracy like Iran, they'd pretty much have their Utopia.

    June 4, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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