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With N. Korea Trip, Bill Clinton's Role Evolves

Updated 10:05 a.m.
By Ben Pershing
Remember when Bill Clinton was seen as a potential liability for the Obama administration? In the weeks after President Obama was elected, the New York Times called the former president and his complex web of financial dealings "the most important stumbling block" Hillary Clinton had to overcome in order to be Secretary of State. Would he travel the world on speaking engagements to questionable groups? Hobnob with controversial donors? Would his outsize personality overshadow or interfere with his wife's work?

So far, the answer to all of those questions seems to be "no." If it's possible for one of the most famous men on the planet to fade into the background, Clinton has largely done so. Even during a recent spate of stories on how Hillary Clinton was working to figure out her role within the administration, Bill Clinton hardly got a mention. And that New York Times piece from last November did include this line: "Obama advisers also said that Mr. Clinton would bring enormous assets as a popular figure around the world who would effectively serve as an unpaid ambassador for Obama policies."

Those advisers were prophetic. At this moment, Clinton is on a delicate mission abroad, traveling to North Korea attempting to negotiate the release of two imprisoned American journalists. (How will conservatives react to footage of Clinton arriving at the airport in Pyongyang and "smiling as a young girl presented him with a large bouquet of flowers"?) Robert Gibbs said this morning the administration would have no comment on this "solely private mission" while it's underway. This story links nearly every recent Democratic occupant of the White House, as the two reporters are employed by Current TV, which is chaired by Al Gore. And during the Clinton administration, former president Jimmy Carter took his own, somewhat controversial diplomatic trip to North Korea.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  August 4, 2009; 8:22 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: POTUS Events: Happy Birthday, Mr. President
Next: White House Pushes Back Against Video Clip


To carlyt - this has nothing to do with "Americans crossing borders" like the m*ron hikers who got lost. These 2 journalists were exposing the vilest crime on earth:Sex trafficking of children. They didn't wander in while shopping for shoes. So if you want to talk about "the bigger issue" here, I'll tell you what it is: The ignorance & vulgarity & indifference of Americans like you. And benighse. And flintston. Things like all of you are a national embarassment. A serious story about a frightening crime against two reporters trying to stop an even more frightening crime. But you things can only make immature sex jokes. No wonder our country is such a disaster, we're overrun with overaged immature fratboy-like creatures who think nothing of making fun of anything just because they can.

Posted by: laheron | August 4, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse


Laura Ling (32) and Euna Lee (36) were asked:
1) Would you rather spend 12 years at hard labor in North Korea and fly home on your own?
2) Would you accept the pardon and fly home alone with Bill Clinton?

Ling and Lee were said to have asked: "What would Monica do?", then boarded the plane.

Posted by: benighse | August 4, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton never ceases to amaze, what an incredible President he was and look at how much of an impact he still has to this day doing good in peoples' lives. America was very lucky to have him as our President and still lucky to have him representing us to this day. Dubya is a stain on the American flag in comparison to Bill. Have faith people, it will take time, but we are slowly but surely recovering from the huge devastating mess Bush and the greedy self righteous self serving ignorant Republican party has done to our great nation.

Posted by: Hillary08 | August 4, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Billy's just looking for some leg in a new spot. I bet he's counting on getting some from one of these idiot babes if he gets them out.

Posted by: flintston | August 4, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Hope he succeeds but there is the bigger issue of Americans crossing borders. There is a related post at

Posted by: carlyt | August 4, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

if Bill pulls this will only verify the incompetence of obama and hillary....its another obama adminstration lie if they think Bill is acting soley on his own....obama needs a good squat to let in some light for the liberals inside his colon...somehow they still aren't seeing any light.

Posted by: JWx2 | August 4, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

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