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Wag the Blog: Hillary's Experience



The president-elect and his nominee for secretary of State. Photo by Jim Young of Reuters

At a press conference on Monday during which President-elect Barack Obama unveiled the members of his national security team -- including his choice for secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton -- Peter Baker of the New York Times asked Obama this question:

"You talked about the importance just now of having different voices and robust debate within your administration. But, again, going back to the campaign, you were asked and talked about the qualifications of the -- your now -- your nominee for secretary of State, and you belittled her travels around the world, equating it to having teas with foreign leaders; and your new White House counsel said that her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I'm wondering whether you could talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring."

Obama dodged -- somewhat artfully -- by casting the question as the media trying to have "fun" by bringing up old quotes from the campaign. "I believe that there's no more effective advocate than Hillary Clinton for that well-rounded view of how we advance American interests," Obama added.

While it is in Obama's interest to gloss over the differences he and Clinton had during the primary season, Baker's question is a good one as we begin to consider how her past experiences as first lady and a senator from New York will impact her tenure as secretary of State.

Polling suggests most Americans believe Clinton was a good choice; a recent Gallup survey showed nearly seven in ten of those polled approved of the choice of Clinton as the Obama Administration's top diplomat while just 25 percent disapproved.

For today's Wag the Blog question, we want to hear Fixistas' opinions on whether the 82 foreign countries Clinton visited during her time as first lady were legitimate training for her new job or whether on these trips she was "never asked to do the heavy lifting" as newly named U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice put it during the campaign.

Put another way: Does Clinton's past experiences in foreign policy as first lady and as a senator from New York prepare her for her new job or not? Why?

The best/most thoughtful responses will be featured in a post of their own. The comments section is open for business.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 4, 2008; 6:24 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog , White House  
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Next: Barack Obama and the Cult of Competency

Comments

What is wrong with you people, so hateful, so mistrusting. We are at war, our economy is in the toliet, healthcare prices are on the rise. The People of these good United States have elected Obama because they think he is the person to lead at this time. He is picking excellant people for his cabinet. The media still is obsessed with Hillary Clinton. Maybe just maybe they are afraid they might have to have one news annoucer and not 6; or for sports, only one sports announcer and not 6-8 all in their silk shirts and fancy shoes and ties, or their season tickets on the side. May be just maybe they are afraid of Obama and Hillary and Joe Biden, because their HIGH ON THE HOG days are OVER.

Posted by: STANTONCAROL | December 7, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Please Hillary Screw up!! CHEER!!!!
Please BiLL Screw up!Whoopie!
1. Hillary ran a poor campaign against Obama, she should have dropped out long before she created so much debt. OBAMA has already given her the Secretary of State job now she is asking him/donors for more handouts. The Clinton's are so self serving, no one told her to run that long.... campaign against Obama.
As one of his donors, was shocked at the email from him asking to help her.(what nerv)
She had really be thankful that Obama has been nice enough to help her.

I really hope she screws up, Obama will see her true colors and will have to finally get rid of her.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | December 5, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

1.Yes Hillary is not eperinced.
2.Yes she voted on the War in Iraq (dumb move)
3.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | December 5, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

I was an Obama supporter who wished (and wishes) no ill on the Clintons; but I've long thought that if anything were to happen to Hillary, Bill would continue to be a vibrant, irreplaceable voice in our foreign policy dialogue. If something were to happen to Bill, on the other hand, I think Hillary's input would be seriously and negatively affected. It's often and rightly said that Hillary is "highly intelligent," but Bill is the creative and innovative Clinton. Years ago, I lived in military communities as an Air Force officer's wife. It was an interesting opportunity to observe generals and their wives during wartime. These wives were formidable, sophisticated, ambitious, and they often spoke on behalf of their husbands; but you wouldn't have wanted them crafting policy in the Pentagon. Same thing. Using a British analogy, this allows Hillary to play the sitting queen and ceremonial representative; Bill will be the prime minister, operating in the background but ensuring his credit registers with a cacophony of leaks. Do not doubt it.

Posted by: Niverville | December 5, 2008 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Excuse me, but I don't think Hillary Clinton has any experience other than perhaps dodging sniper fire in Bosnia. She is a Party Hack, nothing more, and looking for more power since the Senate didn't provide a pedestal for her.

Posted by: w4npx2 | December 5, 2008 12:58 AM | Report abuse

"Her experience traveling is irrelevant to this job. The foreign poicy world is a sub culture that does not welcome outsiders very well."

Dude, if you are the Secretary of State for the United States, then you are going to get the good treatment.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 4, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Condoleezza Rice has spent her entire professional life involved in foreign affairs for Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Oil corporations before becoming Secretary of State and is an expert in Russian affairs.

Professor Wright of BSU (I take it that stands for 'Bullsh*t University, since he is a 'professor.' However, he cites the major points that show her disqualifications as Sect. of State. First Reagan and Bush I misadministrations were farcical, delusional glorious times for the trashing of the U.S. Government by the rightwing nuts. Second, her so called 'expertise is purely based on a 'christian' so-called academic basis, which by its religious nature disqualifies her for any serious office, i.e. see Bush II misadministration records and Bush quotes. And third, her only affairs I have heard anything about have been with American football players! (I think that maybe qualifies her for the bedroom, but certainly not for public office.

As for Hillary Clinton to become Sect. of State, she is as highly qualified by dint of a) intelligence as any good Sect. of State we've had, b) has been privy to long and thoughtful conversations with President Bill Clinton on many of his decisions during his eight years as the only intelligent president since Harry Truman, and c) she is a quick learner, works well with intelligent people, and has the courage to oppose those things she does not agree with -- she opposed even her husband on NAFTA, although the did not carry enough weight with him to prevent the worst blunder of his presidency in compromising with the republican thugs to put that obscene piece of legislation in place.
She will do very well working with a clearly intelligent and stable President Barack Obama.

Posted by: donald_mcmunn | December 4, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

According to Wikipedia:

Usually, creating foreign policy is the job of the head of government. In the United States, the head of state (the President) also functions as the head of government.

It is President-elect Obama who will be deciding America's foreign policy. He will make his decsions after deliberative consultation with his official foreign policy advisors - Vice-President elect Biden, Hilary Clinton, Gen Jones, and Susan Rice; as well as some of his unofficial advisors - Brent Scrowcroft.

In the end, Hilary's role will be to perform such duties as President Obama requires. She will be the President's personal messenger to and negotiator with foreign governments. In doing so she will need to conduct her activities tactfully in order to bring about good relationships, while at the same time she must know when to use a heavy hand.

The most important qualification for the position is does she have the communication skills to be the President's messenger and negotiator? Yes, she does. 18 million people liked what they heard on her campaign trail. She's a skilled lawyer and politician which are helpful traits to have in negotiating deals with foreign countries. Hilary is very articulate and will do a great job as Secretary of State.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | December 4, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

LOL regardless of what anyone has to say bottom line is Obama picks and there is zip you can do about it.
PI$$ & MOAN CLUB is active on many blogs.
They like to see their name in print.

Posted by: katerinaDeligiannis | December 4, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

the whole thing reminds me of the newly elected President of France naming D. Straus Khan as walkin candidate for head of IMF -
Straus Khan was Sarkozy's only serious rival for the 2112 elections

Posted by: clarkasc | December 4, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Now You Ask! After all the blather in the MSM about how this uber UMC housewife was more experienced than Obama during the primaries there are still Clintonistas talking about how brilliant this person who flunked the DC bar and who manged to achieve 0 heath care reform in 8 Y is.
GMAB

Posted by: miriamac2001 | December 4, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

During a 30 year Army career I pulled duty in more than 25 countries on every continent except Antarctica. I had a Top Secret clearance with various bells and whistles. I served with NATO and the UN. I served as DOD representative on numerous interdepartmental committees with DOS counterparts. I've commanded organizations with over 350 employees and worked closely with our embassies in many of the countries where I worked. But I freely and humbly admit I will never be qualified to be SECSTATE because I have no formal diplomatic training, or the wealth of appropriate diplomatic experience that folks in DOS have spent their lives accumulating. In our system, political patronage (or matronage) seems to always trump qualification. How can anyone be the nation's top diplomat without the requisite skills and experience? (Rhetorical question).

Posted by: rocketman2 | December 4, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Her experience traveling is irrelevant to this job. The foreign poicy world is a sub culture that does not welcome outsiders very well. She has never been a part of that group as oppose to John Kerry, Joe Biden or the man who would make a real Team of Rivals John McCain.

Posted by: myhojda | December 4, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

"The best/most thoughtful responses will be featured in a post of their own."

Good luck on that one. I've just read all the posts thus far and I think you've got your work cut out for you finding any worth a "post of their own."

Posted by: cjenns | December 4, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The three front runners in the dem line-up for the POTUS were all junior one term senators from their respective states. None of them has any qualifications for anything beyond minor roles in local governments. But, given the IQ of the American voter it's not surprising people attribute qualities to the unaccomplished in government that in the business world would have had them dismissed, terminated, fired, removed from employ!

Posted by: vgailitis | December 4, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The simple answer in No, she is not qualified to be Secretary of State. The more complex answer is No, she is unqualified to be Secretary of State. The nuanced answer is No, she is not the right person to be Secretary of State. The right answer is that her "experience" in visiting foreign countries does not qualify her to be Secretary of State.

Posted by: natalkstlmo | December 4, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Chris, to quote you, let's 'put another way: Does President-elect Obama's past experiences in foreign policy as a Illinois state legislator and as a senator from Illinois prepare him for his new job or not? Why?

Posted by: mpwynn | December 4, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Rather than asking us readers to tell you if we think her experience qualifies her for Secretary of State, why doesn't the Washington Post write an article on the subject? I would think that would provide a much more thoroughly researched and level headed response to the question.

Posted by: cjenns | December 4, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

ladyesq1 writes, "Lets start with her being chosen by her professors during her undergrad years (around age 21) to INTERN under President Ford. THAT was her first experience in politics...THE WHITE HOUSE! Name me one other person who began White House experience at age 21. LOL...that's right...you can't do it!"

Um, Monica Lewinsky.

Posted by: cjenns | December 4, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

HIllary has no more business being Secretary of State than any other position. Her "experience" is all about the notoriety she gained as Bill Clinton's wife. The Secretary of State should be someone versed in foreign affairs and good decision making skills. Don't you think there are a few of those people in the State Department that have earned a chance for promotion? Why pick a well known over a well qualified?

Posted by: val24601 | December 4, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Overall, I greatly respect Secretary of State-elect Hillary Clinton and believe she will serve the nation well in that position. That said, it also appears that Article 1, Section 6, of the United States Constitution definitively prohibits her from being appointed to that post until the end of her current Senatorial term in 2012. Rather than argue with me about that, I urge all Bloggers to go and carefully study that portion of the Constitution for themselves (widely available on the Internet) and then reach their own conclusion. My purpose in blogging about this is not to try and preclude the appointment (I consider that to be a foregone conclusion despite what the Constitution says). Rather, the purpose is to encourage Bloggers to insist (as I do) that Article 1, Section 6, be revised by means of a Constitutional Amendment so that, legally speaking, this issue will not continue to bedevil us on into the indefinite future.

Posted by: dsarthur1 | December 4, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

ladyesq1: your list of Hillary accomplishments lacked any FOREIGN RELATIONS credentials. The Secretary of State is a FOREIGN RELATIONS position.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | December 4, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

This question is rather insulting in that Hillary has more experience in the U.S. Senate and on the world stage than does President-elect Obama. Are you asking if he is qualified to be president? We are all tied of Hillary Clinton as perpetual media punching bag.

Posted by: suethomas123 | December 4, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I do not what motivates you to ask this question. To me the bottom line is that only Barack Obama could nominate her to become SoS. However devilsih Hil could be in manipulating BHO to nominate her, the final OK is with Obama.
What I am reading here is a veiled criticism of Obama. Why not go straight at Obama and tell him that he should not hire HRC because BHO's statement was correct that says that HRC is ill equiped to become SoS.

Posted by: BLSMendukung | December 4, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I have believed all along that Hillary's qualifications for any of these roles she seems to think she's entitled to are quite overblown. It amazes me that people have gone along with this idea of her "experience." Yes, she is no doubt intelligent, but so are alot of other people. The Clinton ambition machine just know no bounds..and I have to give her Credit for creating this narrative of having done so much, and that it has been bought; hook, line and sinker, is the suprising aspect. I just hope it doesn't come back to haunt Barack Obama, and the rest of us, as she heads to the state dept. in another role for which she is underqualified.

Posted by: tishpearl | December 4, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

37thOStreetRules: Why do you even bother posting? Obama's birth certificate has been on public display for months, on his and other web sites, certified by the Registrar of Vital Records for the State of Hawaii. He was NOT born in Kenya, he was born in Hawaii, in 1961, after it was a state.

As for Hillary being Secretary of State, if you could actually READ and COMPREHEND the section of the Constitutio that you posted, you would see that the Constitutional restriction only applies to offices THAT ARE CREATED DURING THE CONGRESSPERSON'S TENURE. So no Senator can pass a law to create a new office and then take that office. But there is nothing to prevent a Senator from accepting a long-established office, like Secretary of State, as long as they resign from Congress before taking the new job.

Your obvious lack of intelligence tells me that your other posts are bogus, too.

Posted by: chredon | December 4, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

You journalists are such aholes. Do you realize that?! You ask loaded questions, knowing people are going to demean Hillary (without even really knowing her biography at all).

PEOPLE, BEFORE YOU CRITICIZE HER...READ HER AUTOBIOGRAPHY or a biography by someone other than a right-wing looney! This woman is more qualified than any to be Secretary of State....IN FACT, she's 100x more qualified than Barack Obama to be PRESIDENT! Lets start with her being chosen by her professors during her undergrad years (around age 21) to INTERN under President Ford. THAT was her first experience in politics...THE WHITE HOUSE! Name me one other person who began White House experience at age 21. LOL...that's right...you can't do it! And her travels around the world DO qualify her (in addition to her many other experiences and qualifications) to be Secretary of State. Anyone who says otherwise, knows NOTHING about Hillary Clinton and, instead, ignorantly speculates because its "fun" to trash her. GET A LIFE... (AND READ HER BIO)!

Posted by: ladyesq1 | December 4, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

While I concede that she has extensive and exhaustive travel experience from her days as first lady, that travel was little more than window dressing, and though that has a place in foreign policy, it is deeply tangential to substance.

She had no security clearance in the White House, so was never in on any decisions, she met world leaders, or more importantly their spouses, a decade ago, and while some may still be in power, most are not.

She sits on no relevant committee in the Senate, has little legislative experience in foreign policy, did not read the intelligence briefing before she voted to invade Iraq, fabricated a ridiculous lie about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia and negotiating peace in Ireland and showed in the last two years how utterly incompetant she is at managing a campaign and would be at running an executive office. She would certainly bring in some if not many of her underlings to work at Foggy Bottom to boot.

Posted by: jeffgrand1 | December 4, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

No, Hillary Clinton's past experience as a first lady and senator do not prepare for the role of nation's top diplomat. However, consider the fallacy of that statement. The top diplomat for the United States is the President. The person that the president chooses to represent him (or one of these days her) has to be a well-rounded politician, a respected diplomat and a person that can both take and give orders with aplomb. As much as I find the choice distasteful, I believe that Hillary Clinton is amply capable of fulfilling the role of Secretary of State.

Posted by: lindaj4 | December 4, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I believe there are other backgrounds that could better prepare somebody for Secretary of State, but there is one thing she brings to the job no former ambassador/career diplomat could bring: political weight. If it is hard to say no to the US Secretary of State it is even harder to say no to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That said, the Secretary of State is in charge of the State Department. It is difficult to manage a large bureaucracy much less a large bureaucracy scattered all over the face of the globe. There is little in Senator Clinton's background, from her days in the White House to her run for the presidential nomination, to suggest she has the managerial capabilities to effectively run the State Department. Her apparent lack of managerial competence concerns me more than her experience as a diplomat. Not that I fear the State Department will collapse under her tenure, but the damage of the Bush years is all about mismanagement.

Posted by: caribis | December 4, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Warren Christopher was Deputy Secretary of State before becoming Secretary.

Madeleine Albright was a foreign policy specialist who was appointed to the UN before becoming Secretary of State.

Colin Powell (retired General) was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before becoming Secretary of State. A position that requires deep knowledge of foreign affairs.

Condoleezza Rice has spent her entire professional life involved in foreign affairs for Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Oil corporations before becoming Secretary of State and is an expert in Russian affairs.

Hillary Clinton, from a foreign policy perspective, is unqualified. Will she become Barrack Obama's Michael Brown?

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | December 4, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

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Pesky document that Constitution isn't it?


Read this


No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.


It appears Hillary can not be Secretary of State.


So NOT ONLY IS OBAMA DISQUALIFIED BECAUSE HE WAS BORN IN KEYNA, HILLARY CAN NOT BE SECRETARY OF STATE.

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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 4, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I think that DaveCullen1 put it very well.

I think that Clinton will make a fine Secretary of State, and I don't think that Obama's view of her abilities has changed, either.

Dr. Tantillo, who blogs from a branding perspective, did a post ( http://blog.marketingdoctor.tv/2008/05/14/marketing-101joint-ticket-makes-little-branding-sense.aspx ) back in May against the notion of a joint Obama-Clinton ticket:

"Because of the length of this primary fight, brand identity and loyalty to brand have become central. What this means is that a kind of brand mutual exclusivity has set in. The Obama brand stands for something that the Hillary brand does not. And vice versa!"

At this point, though, the landscape has changed--Obama is president-elect, Clinton did much to help him get there, and we are at a stage of bringing people together to get things done rather than quibbling over qualifications. I think that Clinton will do a fine job of SOS--and a better job for working under Obama as President. And also that Clinton as SOS will help Obama in foreign affairs. Name recognition goes a Long way. In this case, the Obama-Clinton brand, overseas, could be very powerful.

Posted by: elo8 | December 4, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Bill Clinton must be given the duties of foreign affairs.

Posted by: leapin | December 4, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

all we need to know about Rodham Clinton are that she was so desperate to be POTUS she was willing to cast the African American church as a breeding ground for Black Liberation Theology (McCain wouldn't even go there). She stoked the 4 wheeler belt with racial dog whistles (hard working white people) . This is not a diplomat. HRC is a hard butted politico... more like a Nixon than a Ford. That IS her experience. Traveling around the world for a politico is a form of experience, but it is presumptive power, more so like how do your sychophants maintain the hero worship.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | December 4, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but her capability stems not from actual experience making decisions, but from who she is and what she represents to the international community (sounds like Obama?)

The reason many countries are excited about Obama's presidency, whether they know much about the policies he will pursue, is that he is a change from the almost universally loathed Bush. Being of the opposition party makes him appealing and could grease the axles for effective diplomacy.

Hillary Clinton helps to back up that blind enthusiasm, whose selection harkens to a time before Bush when the world thought better of the US.

As for actual experience negotiating treaties and other deals, she did have about the closest access to the decision-making process of Bill Clinton when he was president and is smart enough to learn lessons from his successes and failures.

Posted by: sfcpoll | December 4, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Secretary of State is probably the most important position in the Cabinet from administration to administration (barring specific events like Treasury will face in this administration). While I have immense respect for Hillary Clinton, her intelligence and her body of work in the domestic arena (she may have been a good pick, as is Daschle, for HHS) I do not think that she was a qualified, experienced pick for Secretary of State.

First of all, let me say that she could be very good at the job, which is to say that she has aptitude, but that is something that should be honed in a position like U.N. Ambassador, Undersecretary of State or the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. Mrs. Clinton is a moderately accomplished Senator who has transcended her freshman status due largely to her name and considerable abilities, however, she is a freshman Senator. Secretary of State is our top diplomat, responsible, not only for relations with other countries, but considerable intelligence and subversive measures.

I see this position largely akin to being a good high-level business development professional. A good business development professional must have several previously existing relationships, experience in cultivating those relationships and turning them into sales, leadership ability in order to work with lower level professionals and the knowledge and judgement to strategize and make proper decisions in order to determine development priorities.

Unfortuantely for Mrs. Clinton, relationships (even if she does have true relationships with 82 current world leaders) alone does not make for a qualified Secretary of State. She must have the experience and ability in cultivating these relationships, the ability to lead other diplomats and ambassadors, and the experience to make proper strategic decisions.

I have many more than 82 business cards in my rolodex and have met many people (many of them while attending with a high level business development professional), but I am certainly not qualified to take over as the Vice President of BD or my company, just as Mrs. Clinton is not ready to take over that same position for my country.

Posted by: andygoldman | December 4, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess we're going to find out! Let's face it, as a former First Lady, Hillary Clinton is literally a one-of-a-kind case that we can't generalize about. I look forward to seeing how she does. If she does fine, this issue will be moot. If she messes up, that will be blamed on lack of experience, when there could actually be many causes (temperament, bad luck, etc.). I'm betting on the "does fine" scenario.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | December 4, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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AT this point, without Obama giving us any further information - AND REFUSING TO RELEASE HIS ACTUAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE WHICH HE COULD WITH ONLY A WAIVER SIGNED TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE IN HAWAII - SUSPICIOUS HAVE RUN WILD.


Obama - why did he let this get so far?


If Obama was actually born in Hawaii, I think we would have seen the evidence already - that proves that this story just might have legs.


Obama's grandmother is on tape stating that Obama was born in KEYNA.


OK so what are the odds that Obama will NOT be sworn in - and Joe Biden will be President in January - a reasonable person would have to say at this point the odds are 50 - 50.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 4, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

It was a dumb question. The logic is that Obama said she exaggerated her experience, so therefore he must think she's inexperienced. What? Experience is not a black/white thing.

Of course she is extremely experienced, but she got greedy in the spring and claimed even more than she was.

I opposed Hillary, strongly, in the spring, and thought she was clearly exaggerating her experience: 35 years? Come on. And she was making it sound like she had been Sec of State and/or President-Almost for eight years. That was a bit much.

She was trying to diminish Obama as a neophyte, running against him as a quasi former president, who had already occupied the White House.

That was an exaggeration, but one of those cases of unnecessary exaggeration. She had a staggering wealth of experience with foreign leaders, but she got a little greedy and tried to cast it as even more.

Of course her opponents were annoyed and rolled their eyes a bit and Obama finally called her on it, quite late in the game. (And she specifically exaggerated about gunfire in (was it Bosnia?) and negotiating the Norther Ireland treaty.)

So yes, she's still guilty of exaggeration in her campaign--big deal. Who in their right mind would actually argue that that meant she was unqualified?

How do you argue with 82 countries. A freaking tourist who had been to 82 countries would be impressive. (Seriously: picture yourself at a dinner party meeting someone who's been to 82 countries. What's your reaction?)

And clearly she wasn't a tourist there. Say that all she did was have tea with leaders of 82 countries. How many people on the planet can draw on a depth of knowledge like that? That's Charlie Rose territory.

And again--while she wasn't negotiating peace treaties, she was doing more than drinking tea. The woman is an intellectual. She's a sponge, in a good way, and a fast-learner, and she was in the inner circle, privy to all the secret stuff.

No, it's not the same as someone who's already been Sec of State, but a new Sec of State never starts out having been one already. What Hillary starts out with is amazing.

There is no contradiction here. The question was/is silly.

Posted by: DaveCullen1 | December 4, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The job of SOS is to take the positions of the President and bring them to the outside world on behalf of our President. While Hillary's job as First Lady was to bring a more social message while abroad. It is clear to most that if she calls, most would open the door, which is why she has done well as our Senator.

Anyone who thinks that Hillary did not know everything that was going on in the White House is a fool. While Bill did not send her to bring his message, she was in on his process. Remember he ran with the 'You're getting two for the price of one' line.

It's interesting that Hillary's negative numbers on her being picked are about the same as those who thought negatively about her before the election. Those 30% hardcore right wing GOP ditto heads would not approve of her even if she cured the economy, ended all wars and disease.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | December 4, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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Clearly this is a Weak Administration - you have all the Obamaniacs on here claiming that Obama is so smart, blah blah blah


However, read this postings....

The appointments so far have been silly - a group of inexperienced blowhart artists who would be rejected by any human resources department in all the major corporations in the country.

Hillary is not qualified, period.


Richardson's performance at the Department of Energy should BAR HIM from all federal government buildings.


Eric Holder did a horrible job at Justice during his years there - he DOES NOT deserve a promotion to head the Department of Justice - the primary motivation in his appointment appears NOT THAT HE IS THE BEST QUALIFIED PERSON TO BE ATTORNEY GENERAL BUT THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN.


Napolitano may have been a good Governor, of a state with border issues, however let's be serious: DOES SHE HAVE ANY EXPERTISE AT ALL IN SECURITY ISSUES ??? Homeland Security has become a fairly important post and it appears that Obama doesn't know what he is doing appointing someone with so little experience in the actual field of HOMELAND SECURITY.

Rahm Emanuel ? As Chief of Staff? Why doesn't Obama just offer it to Bill Clinton himself. This DOES NOT represent change, and is a little silly to throw back in the faces of all the people who supported Obama in the primaries because they did not want another Clinton administration.

Overall, ONE HAS TO STATE THAT OBAMA HAS SHOWN POOR JUDGEMENT OVERALL IN THESE SELECTIONS - HE DOES NOT EVEN DESERVE A "C" - MORE LIKE A GRADE OF A "D"

Again, thank you for reading the truth.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 4, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

THE PREMISE THAT HILLARY WAS CHOSEN FOR HER EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS IS ARGUABLY FAULTY.

PERHAPS SHE WAS CHOSEN TO HELP OBAMA CO-OPT AND DISARM THOSE WHO MIGHT SUBVERT HIS PRESIDENCY:

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/obamas-co-opt-city-making-sense-hillary-secstate

PERSONAL TO JOHN MILLER, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FBI:

Why isn't the Civil Rights Division of D.O.J. investigating the nationwide vigilante network that is making a mockery of the rule of law?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/american-gestapo-state-supported-terrorism-targets-u-s-citizens

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 4, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

She's no Joe Biden, but certainly as qualified as Condoleeza Rice.

Posted by: soonerthought | December 4, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

There is a big difference between being prepared to be President and being a forceful advocate "for that well-rounded view of how we advance American interests". Whether HRC's foreign policy credentials make her qualified to provide the overall direction of US foreign policy is immaterial to her being an effective SoS. What matters is that she is smart, can learn, and, for BHO, will provide alternative views. As long as she doesn't go off the reservation too much, then she should be fine as SoS.

Looking back at the recent SoSs, how many would people want as POTUS? Gen. Powell and ...

Posted by: mnteng | December 4, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton's experience creates different opportunities for her tenure as SOS than if she were an academic, a la Rice & Albright. She brings a star power to the office that could prove useful in certain situations.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 4, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Chris, love you, love the fix, but this topic is already overdone by every pundit and his pundit brother. Enough on Hillary as SOS. If you really want my opinion since you asked...yes she is qualified.

Now please ask us to comment on Chris Matthews as a Democratic candidate for Senate in PA. Since you haven't asked ..yes he should run so he can be defeated and removed from the TV forever. Thank you.

Posted by: rdklingus | December 4, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"Of course she's qualified: senator, First Lady, a lifetime of experiences dealing with a host of issues, the most important sounding board and adviser to the only two-term Democratic president since FDR. If she's not qualified, then it raises questions about Obama's own qualifications to make these decisions--he picked her, didn't he?"

I'm not too thrilled with the pick, but I think she will be pretty good at the job. Not the most experience, but very smart. Also, I'm willing to grant Obama some deference. I'm sure she has been extensively vetted and questioned and Obama seems to like what he hears.

And if this is some political move to make his life easier in some other arena, that's fine with me as well. I don't think Hillary would be the best SOS, but I think she would be pretty good.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 4, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Of course she's qualified: senator, First Lady, a lifetime of experiences dealing with a host of issues, the most important sounding board and adviser to the only two-term Democratic president since FDR. If she's not qualified, then it raises questions about Obama's own qualifications to make these decisions--he picked her, didn't he? The real question is: are any of us on this blog actually qualified to quibble with her qualifications?

Posted by: floridaresident | December 4, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

though clinton's first lady years may not be the deepest of foreign policy experience, she is a known face around the world, one with whom people feel comfortable. what perhaps is more important, though, is what her participation in the obama administration can convey: people who've had bitter disagreements can (and should) work together on behalf of their nation toward common goals. that experience of knowing what it's like to come together with a former political opponent is invaluable. she is a powerful symbol to places like, say, zimbabwe, where former rivals are having difficulties putting differences behind them. it's a pipe dream, but maybe she can achieve where others have failed and get mugabe to stand down.

Posted by: plathman | December 4, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

1] She has more experience than I.

2] She does not have as much relevant experience as Ms. Rice, Gen. Powell, Ms. Albright, Jim Baker, and others during my lifetime. It could still work - see below.

3] Her significant relevant experience is her time on the SASC. Had she been merely a successful transaction lawyer in Little Rock and a First Lady with her own office in the West Wing I would not concede that she had much relevant experience.

4] She will have to delegate internal administration to someone who can do it.

5] She will have to take her lead from BHO on policy and from professional negotiators on tactics.

6] She should be able to work Congress for money to rebuild the tattered Foreign Service. She should be better than Ms. Rice at this.

After Reagan's disastrous first meeting with Gorby, Schulz and Powell took him to school. RR performed well in the second meeting. Similarly, if Gates, Jones, and Holbrooke take her to school before important negotiating sessions she is capable of performing well. If she finds a deputy who is a great manager, she will handle her internal function. If she does not allow any daylight between herself and the policies of BHO she will likely succeed.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 4, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Her experience as first lady was soft at best, but I think her time as senator makes her just as experienced as any other senator for the jobs, particularly with her committee assignments. The main issue I had with Clinton in the primaries was that she was overinflating her foreign policy credentials and degrading Obama's, which I considered on similar ground to hers (she only had four more years in a related, important job than he did). Therefore, I am fine with it as long as she is not trying to oversell her experience. She is competant and I think she will do a fine job, but because of her experience in the senate, not her time as a first lady. I mean would anyone have considered Nancy Reagan or Laura Bush's foreign policy experience as first lady? They did similar things abroad. Hillary had a much more substantive argument for her first lady experience on domestic policy, even if it did not go well.

Posted by: bradleyhirsh | December 4, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Clearly the 82 foreign countries Mrs. Clinton visited during her time as First Lady and the work she has done as an active member of the U.S. Senate has given her an insight into foreign policy that not many others in government can claim.

Her visits were not merely photo-ops but instead gave her the opportunity to engage world leaders (and their spouses) on a variety of tough issues with great global importance.

People seem to belittle her international work on women's rights issues but, as she has said forcefully many times in this country and in front of hostile audiences around the world, "women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights." Without her efforts around the globe, millions of women would be in far worse situations than they are today.

That alone is merely a small part of what she has done on behalf of the U.S. to further our nation's democratic and egalitarian views in an often antagonistic world.

I'm sure that as Secretary of State she will do a fine job promoting our nation's goals and beliefs while using her personal and professional contacts and clout to re-engage a wary world with the United States. She, along with President Obama, will once again show to the international community that the U.S. is a force for good and cooperation around the world... rather than a unilateral player with an overactive trigger finger.

Posted by: TheSpinZone | December 4, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I have no doubts about her diplomatic abilities, Senator Clinton has maintained herself at the top of politics for years, to do that you must be a good diplomat. Also yes, her foreign travels, even if they were teas with foreign leaders is helpful. Building relationships is key to success in diplomacy. I think one thing that Hillary's critics and fans can agree on is that she can cultivate relationships.

The question I wonder about is can she run a large complex department (as other commenters have said it is often the career diplomats who do the 'heavy lifting'). Here her experience is less, but my personal opinion is, 'yes she can'.

Posted by: dhg1 | December 4, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Under no circumstances is she qualified for this job. I think it's laughable how her people sold her "qualifications and experience" to the press when the campaign started. If she had all of the foreign policy and national security experience that she claims, then how come her people have never leaked a picture of her in the Oval Office sitting on the couch next to the generals? They leak everything else!

To AndyR3's point about Sec of State not doing anything: I disagree with that point. She's on the National Security Council. Her position is extremely important. Just look at the current situation in India. I would much rather have Sec. Rice working the phones than Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: Redsoxjam | December 4, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Condoleeza Rice a professor before she became National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State? There isn't a standard list of requirements here. And previous familiarity with your future colleagues in international diplomacy certainly isn't one of the prerequisites. The fact that Sen. Clinton was able to gracefully back out of the Democratic primary and get her supporters to back Obama was a diplomatic coup, and proof that she has the grace and deference necessary to work with our new President. Good luck to her.

Posted by: DC_Grrl | December 4, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

If a primary mission of the new Secretary of State is to restore global respect for the US, then Clinton is a very good choice. She is admired globally as well as recognized as a strong personality in her own right, someone who can hold her own among her global counterparts. She comes across as firm and fair.

She has travelled the world and met many world leaders as First Lady, Senator and as a spokesperson for international women's rights, all roles that will serve her well in her new post.

And judging from the reaction of world leaders, Obama has made the right choice in choosing Clinton...

Posted by: RickJ | December 4, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I find it funny that most people who criticize someone like Clinton's experience have never actually been outside of the US except for maybe a week in London, and that trip to Cancun last year.

As someone who has lived outside the US and traveled extensively around the world. Ambassadors mostly throw parties, entertain dignitaries, and do the political stuff. The real 'heavy lifting' is done by the career foreign service guys who work at the embassies. Clinton's job will be to be the closer for negotiations and to give speaches at things like the G8, which with her experience in the Senate she should do well.

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 4, 2008 7:57 AM | Report abuse

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Chris, you have more experience AND you could do a better job than Hillary at Secretary of State - that is the truth - however you were not considered for the position.


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Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 4, 2008 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Of course her experiences don't provide her with the qualifications necessary to be Secretary of State. Just as they don't qualify her to be president. However, I find it interesting that the media never asked this question of Clinton during the primaries, but rather waited until now.

Posted by: freedom41 | December 4, 2008 7:06 AM | Report abuse

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