Interview With Martha Raddatz of ABC

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
As Aired on Good Morning America
New Delhi, India
July 21, 2009

MS. SAWYER: So what now does the U.S. Government do? Well, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is traveling in India, and she spoke to our senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz in a GMA exclusive. Martha joins us now from New Delhi this morning. Martha.

MS. RADDATZ: Good morning, Diane. Secretary Clinton is facing a world of problems, but she is keeping very close track of the status of the captured soldier.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are attempting to do everything we can to locate him and free him. I mean, it’s just outrageous. It’s real sign of desperation and inappropriate criminal behavior on the part of these terrorist groups. So we are going to do everything we can to get him --

MS. RADDATZ: We spent all morning with Secretary Clinton in New Delhi, where she stressed her intense engagement as part of President Obama’s team.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I spent a lot of time at the White House, which was one of the surprises for the job --

MS. RADDATZ: Scoffing at recent reports that she has been marginalized.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I broke, my elbow, not my larynx. I could not be more satisfied with the amount of time that I’ve spent in the President’s --

MS. RADDATZ: One major problem the Secretary faces is North Korea, acknowledging that the Obama Administration has changed its approach in just the last month.

MS. RADDATZ: From the outside, it seems to me that after the latest missile launches, the rhetoric from the United States was dialed back, back a bit.

SECRETARY CLINTON: So we weren’t going to give the North Koreans the satisfaction they were looking for, which is to try to elevate them again to center stage.

MS. RADDATZ: That’s a new shift. I mean, from the beginning of the Obama Administration, when they first – testing and launches, the rhetoric seems almost exactly like the Bush Administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, what we’ve seen is this constant demand for attention. And maybe it’s the mother in me or the experience that I’ve had with small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention; don’t give it to them. They don’t deserve it. They are acting out in a way that sends a message that is not a message we’re interested in receiving.

MS. RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton says she doesn’t know whether North Korea will go ahead with the launch of a long-range missile soon, but surprisingly downplayed any threat from the North Korea nation.

SECRETARY CLINTON: They don’t pose a threat to us. We know that our allies, Japan and South Korea, are very concerned, but we share information. They watch what we watch and understand what’s really going on there.

MS. RADDATZ: Clinton has also changed her approach in trying to free the two young journalists held by North Korea for months now. In June, the Secretary told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:

SECRETARY CLINTON: We think that the charges against these young women are absolutely without merit or foundation.

MS. RADDATZ: But earlier this month, she said:

SECRETARY CLINTON: The two journalists and their families have expressed great remorse for this incident. And I think everyone is very sorry that it happened.

MS. RADDATZ: Is that an apology to North Korea?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s recognition of what the young women themselves have said. Our most important goal now is to make sure that these young women get home safely and get returned to their families.

MS. RADDATZ: And as for Iran, Secretary Clinton said time is running out for engagement.

SECRETARY CLINTON: There’s a series of choices that Iran clearly has to make, and we’re waiting to see whether they will.

MS. RADDATZ: Is there a red line in your mind when that time limit is up?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The President has spoken about the fall, the end of the year. It’s just clear that we’re not leaving it open forever. It’s not indefinite.

MS. RADDATZ: As for India, the Secretary denies that she has been rebuffed by the Indians on climate change. But listen to this quote from India’s environment minister: “Let me be clear, we are simply not in a position to take legally binding emission targets.”

Now that’s what Mrs. Clinton wanted. That sounds like a rebuff to me. Diane.

MS. SAWYER: All right, Martha; fascinating on so many different issues, including North Korea. But I want to ask about what she said about the White House and those reports she has been sidelined by the White House. Are we now going to see her moving to center stage on a lot more issues?

MS. RADDATZ: I think you will. And she’s very frustrated by those reports circulating last week. I mean, she did, after all, have a shattered elbow which kept her out of the spotlight and kept her away from overseas trips for a while, but I’m sure she’ll get back in there fighting.

MS. SAWYER: Okay, Martha, thanks so much. Martha Raddatz reporting from New Delhi.

PRN: 2009/T9-21