Hillary Clinton: Cantor's defeat will affect 2016
June 12th, 2014
12:59 PM ET
6 months ago

Hillary Clinton: Cantor's defeat will affect 2016

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton argued Thursday that the ripple effect of Eric Cantor's crushing primary defeat will extend to 2016.

"I think it shows the continuing conflict within the Republican Party over its direction," said the potential presidential candidate. "That will be a challenge. It may not affect necessarily the outcome of the elections in November–we'll see–but it will certainly have long-term implications for 2016 and maybe beyond."

The former secretary of state's comments came at a discussion in New York City hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, where she talked about her new memoir, "Hard Choices." It was the fourth public event she's made since launching her bustling book tour on Tuesday.

Cantor, the House Majority Leader, was bested Tuesday's GOP primary by Dave Brat, a little-known candidate with grassroots support, in a shocking defeat in Virginia's 7th Congressional District. Some analysts were quick to say that Cantor's position on immigration–in which he tried to push for some reform but also tried to appease the conservative base–was the defining factor for his loss.

But Clinton pointed to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who easily won his primary Tuesday against a bunch of more conservative challengers. Graham was a co-sponsor of the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate last year. Clinton, a former of senator from New York, said the contrast between the two races was "telling."

"What Graham said was when you're for something, you need to be all in and not try to be half in, half out," she said. "But I don't know that we really can draw conclusions yet, other than it's going to be an interesting leadership struggle within the Republican Party."

Her answer was the most political moment in the discussion, which covered a wide variety of international issues she dealt with at the State Department during her four-year tenure.

And while they discussed serious matters, Clinton took the opportunity to pepper the conversation with humor. At one point, the moderator, CFR President Richard Haass, began asking a question with: "You dealt with some fairly strong personalities…"

"I like to think that the same is true," Clinton jumped in, pointing to herself before letting out a loud laugh.

Talking about the importance of getting to know foreign leaders, she said there were "obvious exceptions" of people with whom it was "very difficult to build relationships."

"I'm talking about you, Vladimir," she said to laughs, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton and Putin have engaged in some recent sparring through the media.

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

While she writes about it in her book, Clinton also elaborated Thursday on her position against the Cuban embargo, saying she urged the Obama administration to lift it.

"The embargo is Castro's best friend. It provides Castro an excuse for everything," she said.

She argued the embargo is frequently raised as an issue with other countries in Latin America, who blame the U.S. for restricting Cuba's economy. But Clinton said she wants to "change the psychology of this issue."

"We've been in a corner for too long, we need to get out of the corner," she said, adding that the U.S. needs to improve its relations with the Western Hemisphere for strategic purposes.

"If we do that, we will be much better positioned to deal with all else that goes on in the world. It will be difficult to get it to the point I would like to see it unless we clear away the accusations against the United States over the embargo."

She was also asked about how the State Department managed any problems caused by WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing website that's leaked troves of state secrets and classified diplomatic cables since 2010.

Clinton said the leaks put at risk certain diplomats, personnel and other individuals who were working with the State Department. She said former U.S. Ambassador to Libya Gene Cretz was pulled from the country because of security threats he received.

"We had to hustle hard to get it back in the box as much as we could to protect people, to move people where necessary," she said. "And then I went on an apology tour, starting with multitudes of phone calls and some personal meetings with leaders who were particularly aggrieved by what had been reported."

"We also found out that a lot of our diplomats are really good writers–very colorful writers," she added, as the audience laughed.

One of the cables from Cretz, for example, referred to then-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as "mercurial and eccentric," and described a "voluptuous" blonde Ukrainian as his nurse and companion.

CNN's Rachel Streitfeld, Brianna Keilar and Dan Merica contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2016 • Cuba • Eric Cantor • Hillary Clinton • Vladimir Putin
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. 101 Wild Turkey

    Selling Hillary Clinton as the next president is like trying sell us a Sony Walkman (the cassette tape type) in the age of mobile devices with streaming music.

    June 12, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. just asking

    Rudy NYC
    I suppose that Dave Brat meets your definition of a moderate, right?
    --–

    what has he said that indicates he is not a moderate? i heard the guy speak and he was quite well spoken. He is a college economics professor, not known for their wild and crazy sides for sure. and actual statements please, not some made up commentary from some whack job leftist web site.

    June 12, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    The GOP leadership is rudderless. They have no consistency, no cohesiveness, and no ability to reach the public. They are dead in the water.

    This country is in seriously deep trouble, with the Dem subversives holding all of the cards. America is on the brink.

    June 12, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Silence DoGood

    @101 Wild Turkey
    Selling Hillary Clinton as the next president is like trying sell us a Sony Walkman (the cassette tape type) in the age of mobile devices with streaming music.
    -----------
    But the Tea Party takin' it on back to their imaginary 1700's is a great idea!

    June 12, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. NameFrank Deery

    No, not Cantor, all but forgotten a day later as Iraq goes belly-up, but Obama, her former
    boss, is the "elephant" in the 2016 room.

    Bush got it right, almost decimating al Qaeda, and at less lives than the JFK/LBJ
    Vietnam fiasco. Obama, however, only sought votes-by scaling back. Now, he is
    "suddenly " concerned about Iraq, as she,
    Always the leftist grifter, parades herself before morning show idiots like Robin Williams or worse, who nod and genuflect to this enabler, while the nation worsens!

    Hillary is a like a Pelosi, Bill Clinton, and Reid dinosaur:
    Parading down the main st of Hope, Ak -the
    Tijuana of Dixie!

    June 12, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. sly

    He isn't President. Where is His birth certificate? Huh? President Obama is not really President.

    Birth Certificate in MY hands or I won't believe it.

    June 12, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    Rudy NYC
    I suppose that Dave Brat meets your definition of a moderate, right?
    ––

    what has he said that indicates he is not a moderate?
    =======================================================
    The recently deleted posts on his social media sites that advocated a range of extreme positions: i.e. secession. Anyone who hates the U.S. government, but still has the galling hypocrisy to wave an American flag and call themselves a patriot also qualifies as an extremist.

    June 12, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Ol' Yeller

    @just asking:
    Here is an excert of what he is written. My only comment right now, is that for someone with his level education, he sures stays away from any compound sentence structure... (and, he asks as many rhetorical questions as tom I and seems to think he is smarter than evereyone else, too)

    "Capitalism is here to stay, and we need a church model that corresponds to that reality. Read Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s diagnosis of the weak modern Christian democratic man was spot on. Jesus was a great man. Jesus said he was the Son of God. Jesus made things happen. Jesus had faith. Jesus actually made people better. Then came the Christians. What happened? What went wrong? We appear to be a bit passive. Hitler came along, and he did not meet with unified resistance. I have the sinking feeling that it could all happen again, quite easily. The church should rise up higher than Nietzsche could see and prove him wrong. We should love our neighbor so much that we actually believe in right and wrong, and do something about it. If we all did the right thing and had the guts to spread the word, we would not need the government to backstop every action we take.

    Mr. Brat also criticizes both ends of the political spectrum for inconsistencies. He blasts conservatives for the pursuit of individual liberty while pushing laws restricting abortion, gay marriage and gambling. He writes:

    Can Christians force others to follow their ethical teachings on social issues? Note that consistency is lacking on all sides of this issue. The political Right likes to champion individual rights and individual liberty, but it has also worked to enforce morality in relation to abortion, gambling, and homosexuality. The Left likes to think of itself as the bulwark of progressive liberal individualism, and yet it seeks to progressively coerce others to fund every social program under the sun via majority rule. Houston, we have a problem. Coercion is on the rise. What is the root word for liberalism? (Answer: Liberty)

    And then Mr. Brat implied there is no reason to entrust either conservatives or liberals with the government that he said “holds a monopoly on violence.” He writes:

    It does not mean that the State alone uses violence, but it does mean that when push comes to shove, the State will win in a battle of wills. If you refuse to pay your taxes, you will lose. You will go to jail, and if you fight, you will lose. The government holds a monopoly on violence. Any law that we vote for is ultimately backed by the full force of our government and military. Do we trust institutions of the government to ensure justice? Is that what history teaches us about the State? Or do we live in particularly lucky and fortunate times where the State can be trusted to do minimal justice? The State’s budget is currently about $3 trillion a year. Do you trust that power to the political Right? Do you trust it to the Left? If you answered “no” to either question, you may have a major problem in the future."

    Not very 'moderate' if you ask me.... crazed, paranoid, anxious, narcicistic all come to mind, but not moderate.

    June 12, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Slade

    Rudy,

    BTW, people have noticed the fact that some primaries have elected the lesser extremists out of a field of extremists, and that your side has been calling them moderates. Yeah, we've noticed that. I suppose that Dave Brat meets your definition of a moderate, right?
    _____
    And I suppose your idea of a moderate is Obama? Humorous to say the least. I am not in Dave Brats district but the points he outlined do not sound extreme to me. Of course he believes in GOD which is affront to all liberals these days. Our perspectives are very different. We evidently live in different parts of the country, probably have different beliefs and almost certainly do different things to make a living. We probably do not have much in common but that's okay and the beauty of our country.

    June 12, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Mike Hunt

    With the way things are going in the Mideast, Obama is going to have to decide very quickly if he is going to SUPPORT Assad in Syria because Assad at the moment is the only person who is effectively fighting Al-Qaeda affiliated forces. All at the same time Assad is slaughtering his own people with the help of the Iranians. And just think, a year ago we were trying to overthrow Assad.

    Some thing never change. The Mideast is just a series of making bad choices or worse choices. To quote former Ambassador Ryan Crocker "if you think the Mideast can't get any worse, just wait until tomorrow".

    June 12, 2014 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Lizzie

    In Nevada, as of Tuesday, the Democratic primary winner, who was “none of these candidates,” she has no comment on that one.

    June 12, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. just asking

    Rudy NYC
    just asking
    Rudy NYC
    I suppose that Dave Brat meets your definition of a moderate, right?
    ––
    what has he said that indicates he is not a moderate?
    =======================================================
    The recently deleted posts on his social media sites that advocated a range of extreme positions: i.e. secession. Anyone who hates the U.S. government, but still has the galling hypocrisy to wave an American flag and call themselves a patriot also qualifies as an extremist.
    --–

    sorry, very lame. nothing is ever truly deleted from the web. in other words you have nothing. just as i suspected. just more of the same old tired lies and claims.

    June 12, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. The Elephant in the Room

    With the modest of conpetence, the Democrats should be able to defeat the Republicans in all nationalized elections for the next 16 years given the GOP`s Teapublican problems. A mainstream white candidate in 2016 [who can blunt any residual racism in marginal voters] plus the legacy Clinton supporters and the Obama coalition [of young voters, female voters, asian/latino/black voters] should be unstoppable. Add in those that don`t fit in those catagories BUT who are TIRED of a "Do Nothing Congress" [which is only RE-ENFORCED with more Tea-party election victories in gerry mandered districts].

    I`m waiting for Rueban Naverette and Congressman Guiteirez to speak open truth to Latinos. vote democratic in `14., `16 and `18 to secure immigration reform through a Democratically controlled Congress.

    June 12, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Hasn't made one hill of beans difference to me. Still not voting for those who want to enslave me.

    June 12, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Silence DoGood

    @Slade
    "Of course he believes in GOD which is affront to all liberals these days. "
    --------
    Belief in GOD is not an affront to liberals. Most liberals I know including me believe in GOD. But using the name of GOD as a euphemism for radical conservative Christianity minority take over of the government sure as H@@@ is an affront to liberals and to the founding fathers as well. Freedom is not freedom if it is applied to one particular sect of one religion.

    June 12, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. KD Phoenix

    just asking
    Rudy NYC
    I suppose that Dave Brat meets your definition of a moderate, right?
    ––

    "what has he said that indicates he is not a moderate? i heard the guy speak and he was quite well spoken. He is a college economics professor, not known for their wild and crazy sides."

    =====================

    Gimme a break. Five minutes of searching around the internet will give you any number of references as to what kind of professor he is. Anyone who teaches Ayn Rand (you know... a FICTION author) principles to his students has more than just a few loose screws. After reading what he expected from his students, I'm sure glad I wasn't one of them.

    June 12, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    The recently deleted posts on his social media sites that advocated a range of extreme positions: i.e. secession. Anyone who hates the U.S. government, but still has the galling hypocrisy to wave an American flag and call themselves a patriot also qualifies as an extremist.
    ––

    sorry, very lame. nothing is ever truly deleted from the web. in other words you have nothing. just as i suspected. just more of the same old tired lies and claims.
    ==================================================
    True, nothing is truly deleted. But, nothing changes the fact the he deleted them from his sites. This guy has already shown his true colors. Not surprised by your persistent efforts to marginalize me. I encourage you to call me liar at each and every opportunity that you get. Doing so only makes you look small and weak. Besides, combating facts with name calling means you lose the argument.

    June 12, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    @just asking
    Rudy NYC
    just asking
    Rudy NYC
    I suppose that Dave Brat meets your definition of a moderate, right?
    ––
    what has he said that indicates he is not a moderate?
    =======================================================
    The recently deleted posts on his social media sites that advocated a range of extreme positions: i.e. secession. Anyone who hates the U.S. government, but still has the galling hypocrisy to wave an American flag and call themselves a patriot also qualifies as an extremist.
    ––

    sorry, very lame. nothing is ever truly deleted from the web. in other words you have nothing. just as i suspected. just more of the same old tired lies and claims.
    ----------–
    Well technology whiz, things do get deleted from the Internet – just not all traces. And it is easy to find lots of theocracy crazed notions from that guy. I won't do the 20 second Google search for you.

    June 12, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Peachy

    Dear Hillary: We already have an incompetent idiot in the white house, but thanks for playing.

    June 12, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. PJ

    The ONLY reason Lindsey Graham won the primary was because there were 6 other Republican challengers (which split the vote). If he only had 1 challenger, I strongly suspect he would have lost, too. Of course the main stream media won't mention that....instead this article becomes a total puff piece promoting Killary's foreign policy credentials (and of course ignoring Benghazi).

    June 12, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Linda

    Honestly. No birth certificate. The GOP starts the lies and its believed. Toss out the Kool aid. Don't you think by now all of the GOP requested copies of his birth certificate. They would have him out of the office by now if it were true. Great character flaw we are teaching our kids - lie to get your way. it's not just the birth certicate its just lie-after-lie-after-lie with the GOP.

    June 12, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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