Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 2, 2009

(As Aired)

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I talked to Senator McCain immediately following the President’s speech. As you were in the Senate, he remains a crucial vote on these matters. His problem with it continues to be this notion of any sort of date certain announcing it in advance for a drawdown, a pullout of American forces. It seemed the Obama Administration backed away from that a bit in questioning on the Hill today. What’s the state of the President’s use of the year 2011 in the speech last night?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Brian, I think that if you re-read what the President said last night, he very clearly said that he wants to see the transfer of authority begin in July 2011. It needs to be done in a responsible way that is conditions-based. He has said to us, he has said to others, that we’re not talking about falling off a cliff and beginning to bring troops home, but we think that this properly resourced mission now, the combination of transferring security authority to the Afghans in certain parts of the country, the additional forces from NATO ISAF – all of that will enable us to make the goal of 2011 a real target for us to aim at.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from our conversation earlier tonight.

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PRN: 2009/1210