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
8 years 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.

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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. patNY

    How is she weak for stating the truth – Putin reeks of Hitler like ambition to reconquer the former Soviet Union.

    June 4, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Jean

    You think Obama looks weak in Putin's eyes, and his shadow, just wait to see how he pummels HRC if she were to be our president . . . things just get scarier and scarier with the dems.

    June 4, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Jean

    HRC said this: if Putin is allowed to get away with the annexation of Crimea "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." Really?? Is she serious?? What's with the IF in there, her boss isn't doing diddly about Putin. Her reset did diddly for relations with Russia – what planet is she on?

    June 4, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "when she compared his actions to that of Hitler's in World War II."

    Not really. She compared his words to words Hitler had used...she didn't compare the men themselves. She explained that people in Europe were expressing heightened concern because Putin had made statements that quite clearly echoed the kinds of statements Hitler had made. The facts supported the comparison...Hitler said "A, B, C" and Putin said something extremely and somewhat hauntingly similar to "A, B, C." That's not "calling him Hitler" and it's not even really drawing an analogy...the similarities in the statements (not the men) were undeniable.

    June 4, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Putin looks east to bolster ties with North Korea .

    Putin looks more and more like he want to be on Dancing with the STARS .

    June 4, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. "Breath and Release"

    Putin says that she has "never been graceful in her statements". Perhaps that's because she can see what type of person he is.

    June 4, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Vence

    Putin is right in this one!

    June 4, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Not So Fast

    Putin said, "It's better not to argue with women."
    ----------
    I think he just said Hillary Clinton is irrelevant. Similar to his view and treatment of Obama.

    June 4, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. centerextremist

    "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. – Dear POTUS, that is right out of Art Of War. Perhaps you should try reading it someday.

    June 4, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Ol' Yeller

    @Jean

    HRC said this: if Putin is allowed to get away with the annexation of Crimea "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." Really?? Is she serious?? What's with the IF in there, her boss isn't doing diddly about Putin. Her reset did diddly for relations with Russia – what planet is she on?

    I give up... what planet is she on?
    However, since your feet seem firmly planted on Earth (though your thoughts seem to come from the right wing bubble), please enlighten us on what the great president bush did when putin invaded Georgia? Did he 'look into his soul and see the purity of his actions' or some such nonsense?
    I'm guessing had bush made his move against Russia, it would have manifested itsefl in a full blown invasion of (oh, I don't know, say....) Sweden. bush either sucked at geography really bad, wasn't too good at the whol;e 'soul seeing' thing, or he was just downright ignorant. Given the posts of some of his party representatives on here, I'm going with the latter.

    June 4, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    Yeah, CNN. Putin: The next wannabee President of the United States getting his "mugs" worth of U.S.A. airing for GOPerville to wag its tail over in admiration.

    June 4, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Tommy G

    I think Putin is already putting together his country shopping list should Hillary Clinton get elected. He already saw how she totally botched the 3am Benghazi phone call. Take note former USSR subjects. You hve a two year window to build that military.

    June 4, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "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.
    -----------------------
    That is a rather curious statement coming from a guy who is the process of pushing the boundaries of his own borders.

    June 4, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. sonny chapman

    Why did Putin TAKE Crimea ? Cause he WANTED it !!

    June 4, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. joe

    I don't trust either of them...

    June 4, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. John

    If he won't argue with women, that must mean that he will agree with everything she says!!! another reason to vote for her.

    June 4, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. sonny chapman

    But George W. Bush looked into Putin's eyes & saw his soul & told us Putin was a good guy. Damn, if we could only have that type of Foreign Policy Leader again.

    June 4, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. Tony D

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

    June 4, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Chris-E...al

    I Bet they are secret admirers in real life they do have much in common .

    June 4, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Gurgyl

    She is tough. Yes, on Hillary16.

    June 4, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. fedup

    another paid advertisement for the DNC brought to you by the MSM.

    are not candidates to pay for their own advertising?

    June 4, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. jakartaman

    Well his wisdom on women puts him leagues ahead of Obama

    June 4, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Silence DoGood

    @Jean
    HRC said this: if Putin is allowed to get away with the annexation of Crimea "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." Really?? Is she serious?? What's with the IF in there, her boss isn't doing diddly about Putin. Her reset did diddly for relations with Russia – what planet is she on?
    -----------
    If by "diddly" you mean use diplomacy and not get drawn into another conflict and not waste US lives and money and US debt like Bush did then yes.
    Happy Diddly.

    June 4, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Uncle Rufus

    HIllary, like Obozo, is nothing more than a big joke to Putin (and many other world leaders).

    June 4, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Vlad Puteen

    MMmmmmmm.... Hillary Clinton.... Obama V2.0.... my mouth waters at the thought.

    June 4, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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