Secretary Clinton's Interview With Ann Curry of the Today Show

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Zurich, Switzerland
October 10, 2009

QUESTION: The President is joining the ranks of Martin Luther King, of Mother Teresa, of Nelson Mandela. Does he deserve to be in those ranks? What has he done specifically for world peace?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the fact that the Nobel committee – and I can’t read their minds, none of us can – but the fact that they recognized that his attitude toward America’s role in the world, his willingness to challenge everyone, to kind of step up and take responsibility, really restores an image and appreciation of our country.

QUESTION: Will winning the Nobel Peace Prize, in your view, influence the President’s decision on whether or not to send more U.S. troops to war in Afghanistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Ann, I think that the President makes each decision on the merits. It’s not going to influence some of these tough decisions that he has to make. And I think he is very well aware of the multiple responsibilities he bears.

QUESTION: Well, given the top commander’s assessment that the situation is deteriorating in Afghanistan, and in the weeks the President has already taken, at least 10 U.S. troops have died, with all due respect to the Administration, what is taking so long?

SECRETARY CLINTON: First of all, every one of those deaths and all of the injuries of any of our men and women in uniform weighs heavily on all of us who are sitting around at the table in the Situation Room. And what is going on in this analysis is the kind of deep, stripped-down investigation of assumptions, because when we make this decision and we recommend to the President what we believe he should do, we’re going to be all in.

QUESTION: If the President decides not to send more troops to Afghanistan, morally can he still keep 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan given what we’re hearing from the commander, the top commander?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I want to not only guarantee you, but guarantee all of your listeners, that this process will result in a very well-thought-out approach and the number of troops will reflect how we are going to implement the strategy. I know there are many Americans who say get out of Afghanistan, bring them all home, and there are others who say put in hundreds of thousands of more. But I think neither extreme is really focused on the situation as we are.

QUESTION: At this very important moment in history, The Washington Post writes about you, quote, “She is largely invisible on the big issues that dominate the foreign policy agenda, including Afghanistan and Iran.” Why are you not more out in front on these very important issues of our time?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I honestly don’t have any reaction to something like that, which is so at variance with what I do every day.

QUESTION: What do you say to the people who are concerned that you have been marginalized, that you – that the highest ranking woman in the United States is having to fight against being marginalized?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Ann, I find it absurd.

QUESTION: So you’re not?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I find it beyond any realistic assessment of what I’m doing every day. Maybe there is some misunderstanding which needs to be clarified. I believe in delegating power. I’m not one of these people who feels that I’ve got to have my face in the front of the newspaper or on the TV in every moment of the day. Now, maybe that is a woman’s thing. Maybe I’m totally secure and feel absolutely no need to go running around in order for people to see what I’m doing. It’s just the way I am.

My goal is to be a very positive force to implement the kind of changes that the President and I believe are in the best interest of our country.

QUESTION: I can’t help but think nine months into this Administration, having campaigned so fiercely to be president yourself, that there can’t be moments for you where you wish you could make the decisions yourself.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have to tell you it never crosses my mind.


SECRETARY CLINTON: No, not at all. I am part of the team that makes the decisions.

QUESTION: Will you ever run for president again?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) No. No, I mean, this is a great job. It is a 24/7 job, and I’m looking forward to retirement at some point.

PRN: 2009/T13-X1