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

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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. Norcalmojo

    Did people really think the questions would just go away? She was a train wreck.

    She completely miscalculated the Arab Spring. North Africa and half of the Middle East is either in chaos or outright civil war.

    Then there's the reset button....

    April 22, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  2. Astyanax

    "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."

    So to make the department more efficient she created three more bureaus and job positions??

    April 22, 2014 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  3. Neutral Observer

    Not only are there no victories under Hillary's tenure as sec of state, there are multiple failures: Before Hillary: Egypt a strong ally, Libya a quiet but secular non entity, Syria – not the greatest but still a secular country that wasn't murdering Christians; after Hillary, all these countries have changed and are now raving theocracies. Because of our raving and inaction, Russia and China have gained and we might now be in store for another cold war.

    April 22, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  4. Amazed2

    Please Lord stop these self serving, greed filled, rich oriented, anti-Christian GOPers before they destroy our country for good....

    April 22, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  5. tim

    Just a side thought...don't want another Clinton and certainly not another Bush. I think this country needs some fresh blood with less baggage than what a Bush or Clinton will bring. Divisions between groups have grown so deep during Obama that I see no benefit or ability for a Clinton or a Bush to reduce them if not harden them and divide even more. We need to move on and hopefully give us at least a couple months of not being sure of a new president to give our mouths and opinions a rest before we start at each others throats again. The irony is both parties believe they can 'win'. I do not know what winning means based upon what the winning of either party has done for us as a nation. It feels to me, no matter which side wins, we all keep losing in more ways than we gain. We certainly do not enjoy one another or have much in common with one another that we celebrate. All I see is our kids carrying on the same old arguments we have not been able to resolve simply because we think one side can win and everything will then be right. Kind of a childish mentality.

    April 22, 2014 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. Leroy

    Looking forward to Hillary's inauguration on January 20, 2017!

    April 22, 2014 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. Uthor

    Of course. The Republicans are worried sick that they don't have anyone to match her for 2016. So of course they're starting to try to denigrate her as early as possible. She should take it as a badge of honor that the people in the GOP are quaking in their shoes. It's really amusing to watch.

    April 22, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  8. The other guy

    Well, to start with, excluding President Clinton: The Senator from New York sounds a lot more impressive than the Senator from Arkansas. (With all due respect to the great state of Arkansas). How the heck did that happen?
    Well, I guess: "what does it matter at this point, anyway?". ; D

    April 22, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  9. Andy

    What record, she accomplished NOTHING

    April 22, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Keep attacking her you Cretins. This will only cause us to mobilize stronger than before. get a clue!

    April 22, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  11. joe

    Hillary stands proud knowing that she managed the murder of four Americans in Benghazi. Voting for Hillary for president is a vote for someone that will sell out America.

    April 22, 2014 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. Jerry Archuleta USN Ret.

    The GOPers and teaparty are after Hillary before any nomination for the Democrated party for President. They are trying to stir up a hornets nest against her or anybody else running for the Dems. The GOP and Teaparty have nobody that will come close.

    April 22, 2014 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  13. MysticYat

    Of course her record is under attack. The neo-cons have to start their smear campaign just in case she actually decides to run in 2016.

    April 22, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  14. Raul

    How about helping open up Myanmar in its transition to democracy?
    How about helping put in tough sanctions against Iran that have put us on a diplomatic course for the first time in 30 years?
    How about helping Turkey and Armenia overcome their animosity and have relations again?
    How about being one to tell President Obama to go ahead with the attack on Bin Laden's compound?
    How about simply representing the country in so many nations in a positive light?

    Don't act like a Secretary of State can just do things out of nowhere. Foreign policy is so entrenched, with decades of policy in place and thousands of officials who drag their feet on any policy they have personal interest in. She did a great job. We stayed out of any new major wars, ended or curtailed other wars already under way, and put in place several important economic pacts with countries to help American business, the effects of which are not measurable in short-term numbers. Certain things didn't get accomplished, some things slid back, but to say she doesn't have any accomplishments is stupid and a lie.

    April 22, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  15. nuclear mike

    She was never really in the "state department game", she was always an outsider non-professional diplomat...just the wife of an Governor who became President...

    April 22, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  16. desiderada

    The only accomplishment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State that interests me is that she has avoided the senseless and unnecessary spilling of America's sons and daughter's blood in foreign wars we cannot win. Only Republicans would insist that diplomacy has no value unless is it accompanied by the rattling of sabers and the bleating, chest pounding yells of Tarzan.

    April 22, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. Monomachos

    I think her greatest accomplishment was visiting more countries (118) than any previous Secretary of State. Our relations with the Cook Islands have never been better. However, when she was asked what her greatest accomplishment was, she couldn't think of an answer. I can't argue with that.

    April 22, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  18. Guest

    We have NO justice for Benghazi.

    April 22, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. Ron

    This is all the GOP does. They have no platform of their own and all they can do is investigate stories that are closed, done, over investigated. If it isn't what they want it to be they investigate again!!!!! Einstein was right, "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a sign of insanity.

    April 22, 2014 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  20. will

    Accomplishment? How about the fact that the US has not GOTTEN IN ANOTHER WAR!

    April 22, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  21. haddock

    Hillary was a good Sec State and might make a good SCOTUS Justice. I think Elizeth Warren would be a better President. but Hillary is impressive.

    April 22, 2014 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. Charliej

    Who cares what any Republican thinks about Mrs Clinton? The Republicans know that they have no candidate to compete with any Democrat. So all they can do is their usual crap. Try to belittle their opponent, and hope that enough fools believe them. I think that they have alienated enough people that they have no chance of winning the White House for the foreseeable future. That is a really happy thought.

    April 22, 2014 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  23. davecu

    "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,”

    This question really ISN'T a partisan question. What DID she accomplish.
    If she runs, we can ask her.

    April 22, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  24. Mark

    America does not need this liberal troll

    April 22, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  25. Mark

    "They included the reorganization and creation of undersecretary positions and the establishment of three bureaus aimed at countering terrorism"

    Or, she basically created more bureaucracy. Yippeeee!

    April 22, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
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