Interview
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 15, 2010


QUESTION: What’s the constant here? What’s the thread? We’re writing a 3,500 word profile, which will begin – won’t begin to scrape the surface. So help me. What’s the thread that runs through this astonishing public life – these different variations?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I really love my country, I very much believe in America’s role and responsibility in the world, and I am devoted to public service. I think that it is one of the debts we owe as Americans to being able to take advantage of this extraordinary gift we’re given through no action of our own. I was born, as I say, in my memoir some years back, in the middle of the country to a middle class family in middle America, and I had all the blessings that came with that status. And before I ever lifted a finger, I was given an extraordinary opportunity.

And I have a background in my religious faith which is extremely connected to that in terms of the obligations that we owe each other and the responsibilities that each of us should assume toward our fellow human beings. And so for me, it’s all of a piece. And I am really fortunate that I’ve had this extraordinary experience over many years, preceding even my husband’s term in office and all that that provided me. So I am a really lucky person.

QUESTION: And is it – was it really that Methodist ethic of service, that live every day, that meant – was a reason that you said yes to this bad of a job?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That and my sense of duty to my country. I am – I have said before I was shocked to be asked, and I was extremely resistant to saying yes because I had an obligation to the people of New York, who had been extraordinarily supportive of me. And I wanted to go back to being in the Senate. And I knew that with President Obama being in the White House, we would take on a lot of the issues that I’d worked on for many years. But at the end of the day, I’m pretty old fashioned and if the President asks you to do something, you’d better have a really good reason why you can’t. And I also thought, well, suppose I had won and I were asking him to be in my cabinet to help me pursue the vision that I had set out, I would have wanted him to say yes. So it was personal and it was this sense of responsibility.

QUESTION: Did all your thoughts of what it would have been like to be in the Oval Office – did all those disappear the day that you gave your speech in the National Building Museum?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I worked as hard as I could in that campaign, and I was thrilled at the experience of being able to run for president and to travel the country and to make my case. But in every election, there are those who win and those who don’t. And I’d been around a long time and I have seen a lot of people, including my husband, win and lose. And the people I admired most were the people who took it in stride, who made it clear that this process was bigger than you, any of us, and therefore, it was time to move on.

And I was fortunate because I had known the President before, I had campaigned for him when he ran for the Senate, and had helped raise money for him and had served with him, of course. And I had so much in common with him on his political agenda. So it wasn’t as though I was asked to support someone who was antithetical to what I believed in. It was a very easy transition politically. Personally, I was exhausted and it took a while to be able to catch up on my sleep. But I felt very committed to going out and campaigning for him, which I did. And then I thought, okay, we’ll get across the finish line, we’ll have a Democratic president again, and I can go back to my life in a way that I hadn’t for the previous year and a half or so. And so now I’m on a new adventure, which I find extremely challenging and exciting, gratifying, and frustrating. I mean, it’s an incredible job at this moment in history.

QUESTION: Well, just on the election just a bit more, why do you think you didn’t win? I mean, none of this is --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I’m not going to go back there. That’s something that I’ll let people speculate on, and maybe when I’m out of this responsibility I’ll have time to sort it out and think it through, but I’m not someone who dwells on the past. I really – I have supporters who spend more time thinking about that than I have thought about in the now nearly two years since my campaign ended. So.

QUESTION: And just – but were there any lessons learned, I mean in terms of the way your campaign was organized? I mean some people in this building have said there were lessons learned in terms of trying to be more inclusive in the way that you run your office here.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, no. I had always run inclusive and successful organizations, when I chaired the organizations of the Legal Services Corporation and when I was in the White House with my husband and when I ran my Senate campaign and ran my Senate office. But you can’t win every time. And so I just think you just get up and dust yourself off and go on. And I’m an incredibly future-oriented person because I think that’s where life is played out and that’s what you can imagine happening next. And so I think about what I’m doing today and what I’ll do tomorrow.

QUESTION: And just in this, how would – what are you trying to do? I mean, if you had to talk to someone – and obviously, you gave a very extensive speech at the CFR --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, I did.

QUESTION: But if you had to talk to someone who was not a CFR-style --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- person but a person –

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- in a bar or a laundromat --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- what are you trying to do with this incredibly powerful position that you have right now? What is your goal at State?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, my goal is to elevate diplomacy and development to being two out of the three pillars of foreign policy, and to do that in a way that enhances global security, peace, and prosperity with the United States assuming and exercising responsibility in a way that draws people to us to find common ground in solving common challenges. We have an enormous opportunity and a great responsibility, and we inherited an enormously complex, difficult set of problems.

And we are working through them, but we’re also trying to seize the opportunities to make a mark in areas that might not have been as obvious, with one example being the President’s Nuclear Security Summit, which highlighted a problem that experts knew about and talked about, but wasn’t the stuff of kitchen table conversations. And it’s now been elevated to a concern that we hope will lead to action that will diminish the threat of nuclear terrorism.

Women’s rights is another area where I feel passionately it is in not just the American national security interest but the world’s, that women be given the opportunities and the tools to make the most out of their own lives – again, an issue that has been around a long time but not linked to security the way that I have made the case because I believe it should be made. And many other concerns that fall into that kind of approach.

QUESTION: What would you say is the proudest accomplishment in the 15 months or so that you’ve had so far at State?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The effective and collaborative approach that this Administration has taken toward identifying and solving problems and determining ways forward in managing others, because nearly every Secretary of State has either told me or I have read about the difficulties that he or she had with the White House or with the State – or with the Defense Department or with USAID or with somebody somewhere – and we have worked very hard in this leadership team in the Obama Administration to eliminate as much of that as is humanly possible – obviously, it’s going to come with the territory to a certain extent – so that we could use the energy that would otherwise be spent fighting bureaucratic wars and defending jurisdictional perks in coming to terms with the complexity of these really difficult challenges.

I sometimes think people had the luxury of getting diverted into arguments. Henry Kissinger told me this is the first time I’ve ever seen the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State actually working together. Well, I don’t think we – I mean, first of all, I really like working with Bob Gates and I have a lot of confidence in him and we’ve spent time together even beyond the Situation Room. But we don’t have the luxury to do that. It may be of interest to historians in the past, where who said what to whom about what. But to us, oh my gosh, we just have to spend all the energy we can focusing in on trying to get straight what we’re doing in all of these very difficult and dangerous situations.

QUESTION: It seems to me that one of the things – and I think you said this in CFR but what you just said, this kind of what the U.S.’s standing is part of its power in the world. To what extent is the almost permanent campaign that sometimes you’re seen on the town halls, the kind of person-to-person interaction, part of trying to address that, particularly – one of the other things that you said at the CFR, which is that you listed a number of countries as rising and established powers --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: -- that were really important. To what extent is that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That is now part of diplomacy. It has been probably for a number of years. But we’re not just sitting in meetings with other government officials. We are making a case for American values, for a view of the future that is inclusive and positive and forward-leaning, where we think democracy and freedom and free markets and equality are not just goals but imperatives. And what I have found in going all over the world, doing these kinds of townterviews, which Philippe coined the phrase for, or other activities that might generally be called public diplomacy is that people now have a voice and an opinion and a vote, in many instances, on the direction that their own societies take that needs to be respected.

Even in authoritarian regimes, there are pockets of activists and young people particularly who are now connected to the world, who are watching their own leaders, and who know the difference. You can’t keep people cut off except maybe still in North Korea. But otherwise, there’s just information everywhere that most people now can access. I mean, look at the number of people with cell phones growing by leaps and bounds.

And so when I go to speak in a country, I’m sending a message about what the United States cares about. Sometimes it’s just implicit by my being there, sometimes it’s explicit, and usually it’s both. And I want to model a different kind of leadership that is open and willing to listen, but to stand our ground if necessary. So it’s been really a positive experience, and we’ve actually been able to see some change in public opinion in places that were pretty negative about the United States 15 months ago. Because of course, the President has great communication skills, and even if he doesn’t go to a country, he’s clearly globally visible.

But I’ve not only done it, but I’ve urged the people here in the State Department and USAID to do the same. We now have a case to make and it’s not just a case that is made to the president or the prime minister or the foreign minister or an ambassador.

QUESTION: So to a certain extent, you’re kind of a saleswoman-in-chief for the U.S.?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that is part of the job, is like – if you’re making a case for American values and for American leadership, you have to make it where people now get information where the debate’s carried out. It’s the virtual Hyde Park Corner, if you will.

QUESTION: Do you ever – when you came in, were you ever reminded of the old Irish joke, “How do I get to Dublin,” and the answer is “I wouldn’t start from here?”

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible) January 2009?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there’s a lot of truth to that. I mean, really, it was pretty daunting. I’ve worked hard all my life and I like hard work. I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder than I did this past year, in part because it was so intellectually challenging just to get our arms around all of these issues, the organizational problems, the political problems, the substantive problems.

And I – somebody asked me – they say, “Well, how could you say that? I mean, my gosh, you worked so hard on your campaign.” I said but once you get into a rhythm of a campaign, you know what you’re supposed to do. You may be in a different city four times a day, but you have a message you’re trying to deliver that is repetitive and aimed at your audience. But here, you might see – you might deal with 10 different countries’ problems, six different regional or global challenges all in the course of a day. And we had a lot on our plate and still do.

But I think if you fairly look at where we are with our relationship with Russia, with India, with China, with South Africa, which we just focused on yesterday with the foreign minister’s visit, our efforts to lead big initiatives on global food security and on global health, our attention to hotspots, our attempt to try to find more common vocabulary, from Indonesia to Morocco, on the threat posed by extremism, I think we’ve laid a good foundation. But I would be the first to tell you that you never can rest. It’s a constantly moving target.

QUESTION: Is there not also a sense – you identified rising powers in that CFR speech, but is there not also a sense that sometimes countries like Turkey and Brazil feel that pushing back at the U.S. --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely.

QUESTION: -- is part of a rite of passage?

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I totally get that. I would be surprised if that weren’t part of what is a necessary search for a definition of leadership that suits a country in its regional context, in its global aspirations. I don’t know why anybody would be surprised by that.

What I have found is that rather than reacting, if you really listen and you respond, you may not agree on everything, but you find areas of agreement and you continue to make arguments that will perhaps increasingly find resonance. Because the idea that you would stop talking because somebody disappointed you or opposed you on one issue makes no sense to me. And so we’ve had a really fruitful and full-throated consultation with a lot of countries.

QUESTION: Including Davutoglu today because he --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, absolutely, who I very much appreciate. He is an energetic, extremely intelligent man who wants to solve problems. Now, we see eye to eye on many of those problems. On others, he has a – he brings and is very articulate in expressing a cultural and historical reality, and we do the same.

But I find my interactions with him and with others to be a two-way street. It’s not just me sitting at the table saying, “Here’s what the United States wants.” It’s like “Okay, here’s what we think. What do you think? Well, why do you think that? Well, here’s what we would respond to that.” And that’s what I believe we should be doing today.

QUESTION: On that issue where he’s – you know, you saw a lot of us in the press yesterday, set out his reservations --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, yes.

QUESTION: -- and I’m sure he did to you --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: -- about the sanctions resolution. What about the arguments that they make that actually, a sanctions resolutions is not a strategy and that they saw no reason, after 10 years, the sanctions resolution got Iraq – failed to get Iraq to change its behavior – that Iran would change its behavior? Is it likely, do you think, even after a sanctions resolution, that Iran will reign in its nuclear program this year?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the argument that I’ve made with them – and we’ve gone back and forth on that – is that we’re facing an array of very difficult alternatives with Iran, because Iran has refused to abide by its own obligations, or to respond constructively to the offers the international community has made. And what we’ve seen over the last year are more and more countries coming to the same conclusion that the United States has reached, which is that an Iran with nuclear weapons is a highly dangerous and destabilizing presence in the region and beyond.

Now, we don’t share a border with Iran. We don’t have a thousand-year history with Iran. And therefore, I’m respectful of the perspective that Ahmet and others bring to this debate. But I have told him and I would repeat that we believe that the international community, standing unified against Iran at this time by adopting sanctions in the Security Council as soon as feasible sends a message to the Iranian leadership that would be hard for them to dismiss or ignore. They’re very good at playing all sides against the middle and they have been traveling around the world, making cases to many countries as to why they’re doing the right thing or why they’re misunderstood. And it is unfortunately not particularly persuasive.

But what we believe is that if the international community will unify and make this statement, maybe then we would get the Iranians’ attention in a way that would lead to the kind of good faith negotiations that President Obama called for 15 months ago.

What’s the alternative? The alternative is to permit them to continue pursuing nuclear weapons, either actual production or full capacity, which will trigger an arms race amongst their neighbors and put one of the most volatile regions in the world at risk and could even trigger a conflict. And I don’t believe that that’s a chance worth taking. So therefore, the alternative we’re proposing is a much better one to pursue right now.

Can I sit here and tell you exactly what will happen, assuming we are able to get the kind of sanctions that we’re looking for? No. But I can sit here and tell you that ignoring the threat posed by Iran will put the world in a more precarious position within six months to a year than we are right now. And I’m someone who believes in taking preventive measures, trying to work toward some better outcome amongst some really difficult and not very satisfying choices.

QUESTION: A more general question on this is: Have we come up against engagement? I mean, we’ve seen movement by Russia and China on big issues in the last few weeks. But on North Korea, on Iran we’ve seen --

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t. No, I honestly – that’s a wonderful question because it’s one of those binary questions, like engagement or no engagement. And to me, it’s a continuum. And I – what we’re doing in the UN is engagement. It’s not bilateral and it’s not in the P-5+1. It has moved into the Security Council and what we’re attempting to achieve is diplomatic engagement by setting forth a really strong statement of disapproval and a set of actions that we believe should be taken.

Similarly with North Korea, it was very important for us to keep the Six-Party framework alive because our two allies, South Korea and Japan, are extremely involved in trying to chart our policy toward North Korea. China has become increasingly convinced that a nuclear-armed North Korea on the Korean Peninsula is a threat in the region. And I am a strong proponent of strategic patience. It is – it doesn’t fit with the news cycle or the instantaneous communication that people engage in, and it sometimes is less than satisfying. But it is the way – it is the best way forward on a lot of this.

So I would make the strong argument that engagement has succeeded, but we’re still on that continuum. And it’s rare that you get to an endpoint, and it is hard. We’re so impatient, particularly countries like ours. We’re, “Well, show me the results, let’s get to the outcome.” Sometimes, the engagement itself is a sufficient result, and the fact that the engagement prevents deterioration or collapse or a return to violence – and that is worth pursuing. So it’s a much more nuanced understanding of engagement than “engage or else,” because what’s the “or else?” I mean, that’s a hard question to answer.

QUESTION: To what extent is strategic patience the outgrowth of the kind of Rodham family “Never give up”? I mean --

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Well, you never know what might happen, so you’ve got to be patient.

QUESTION: Can I ask you another thing about the Middle East --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: -- which has been a big issue? In his interview with Joe Klein in January, the President said, you know, maybe our – we let expectations get too high, maybe we underestimated the political problems on both sides. Did the U.S. make missteps on Israel-Palestine in its first year?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, here’s how I look at it. The United States has been for many years now a strong proponent of the parties reaching agreements. And we’ve had some benchmarks along the way, whether it was Egypt peace treaty, Jordan peace treaty, the Oslo process, which is an example of engagement that settled down an area, that saved people’s lives. The unilateral actions taken by Israel, the commitment to state-building undertaken now with the Palestinians – so this has not been a static situation, and it never will be because it’s just too volatile. There’s too much at stake for everyone.

And I think – I started to begin with the same premise. Despite our best efforts, despite our commitment, despite our investment of time and effort, we cannot dictate outcomes to either side. All we can do is to patiently, persistently make the case that it is in both of their interests. And that’s the speech I made at AIPAC, because I think that in periods where you’re not worried about getting on a bus or your child walking home from school on the Israeli side or where, in the West Bank, the economy is beginning to show some signs of growth and a better life for people, the security concerns of Israel which are the driving imperative in Israel and the legitimate aspirations of the people in the West Bank and Gaza have to somehow coincide in terms of their urgency and commitment.

And part of our job is just to keep making that case so that no matter who’s in a position of leadership – and I’ve known a significant number of the recent modern Israeli prime ministers and certainly have known a number of the major players on the Palestinian side – for each of them, reaching its final resolution is really hard.

This is not the only conflict where I confront that. I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time with the Armenians and the Turks and the Azeris in Azerbaijan. I talk a lot to the people in central Africa who are still trying to make sense out of all these marauding bands and how they put them to rest. I mean, but this is such a conflict of such immense significance to so many people that every little movement or failure to move carries with it great resonance.

And so I think we’ve been consistent. I mean, from the very first day, the President has said this is going to be a priority. Is it hard? It’s really hard. Is it something that we wish we could snap our fingers or wave the magic wand and make happen for both peoples? Yes. But that’s just not the way it is.

QUESTION: Wouldn’t you have expected a response (inaudible) from Netanyahu by now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’ve had a lot of conversations.

QUESTION: What do you make of the letters from AIPAC signed by the – I’m sorry, I shouldn’t say letters from AIPAC --

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.)

QUESTION: -- but letters from a large number of members of Congress saying that you should keep, you know – since Israel is such a close ally, you should keep disagreements private?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I respect my former colleagues and their opinions. And certainly, I have not been talking about what is or is not going on. And I think that’s useful advice because it is often more effective to work behind the scenes.

QUESTION: What about – someone said of your CFR speech – they said it sounded more like the U.S. was a convener-in-chief rather than a superpower.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that’s a real misunderstanding both of our goals and what I said. But also, in today’s world, that is one of our roles. I mean, we are the only global power in the world today, and we accept that responsibility. But we also recognize that convincing people to go along with us requires different skills and a different way to exercise our power than it did 50 years ago or a hundred years ago. So we have soldiers fighting in two wars, which is hardly a convening, but it is necessary to be constantly bringing people together to look for political solutions in the midst of conflict. So I see that – I mean, we are many different – we play many different roles. We have many tools in out toolkit. So if you add that to a list of many other ways in which we project power, it belongs on the list.

QUESTION: And if you look at the way that you talk about power, one of the people – one of the people said it’s entirely right, she does work so well with other members of the Administration but that might mean that she has the opposite problem from Colin Powell. Colin Powell could never leave Washington. Some people say you travel too much, that it is a schedule that you can’t keep up any more, that it’s --

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s been very important. I mean, what has struck me – I mean, the President traveled more than he expected to last year. But given the bridges we had to build and some of the repair work we had to do, I don’t think we had a choice but to travel. And certainly, when I chose to go to Asia for my first trip, it was because there was a sense that the United States had abandoned Asia. And that was certainly not the case, but perception morphs into reality all too often. So I think it’s the right balance.

QUESTION: How sustainable is it? You said that you didn’t want to serve another term as Secretary of State, but you’re also someone who never gives up. You’re also someone who’s spoken about your commitment to public life on many, many occasions.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What role is there for you after this role?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, ask me when I get there because I have no idea, but that doesn’t worry me. I love my life and I love what I do, but at some point it will be time to move on. And this is an incredibly demanding job and I do so much that you see and so much that you don’t see, and it’s almost a 24/7 responsibility. And at some point, it may be time to think of slowing down a little bit.

QUESTION: Did you never think about giving up public life – I mean, after all the frustrations and indignities, for example, in the White House?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Never, never. No. I mean, you take all of that with a very large grain of salt. I have no – I have a very realistic sense of what high-stakes politics requires. And it took me a while to get there because it’s shocking when you are in the arena and you are amazed at the attitudes and the slings and arrows. But once you kind of figure it out, you can take it seriously for purposes of analysis and understanding, but you can’t take it personally.

QUESTION: Do you still – I mean, do you read the papers? You didn’t use to read the papers. Do you read the papers in terms of --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Now I’m reading about international affairs. (Laughter.) Yeah, so I do, actually. I don’t read much about me. I mean, I – that I find – I certainly don’t read coverage of me. I read what else is going on that I need to know about to do my job.

STAFF: It’s all glum.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, yeah, right. That’s what he tells me.

QUESTION: And I have to ask – our readers are interested – I know, of course, marriage is private, but no Secretary of State has been married to a former president before, certainly not a president held as a strategist of genius. What kind of – I know you can’t provide individual conversations, but what kind of advice does he give you? What kind of interaction is there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It is such a great advantage to me because he has been to all of these places. He knows many of the leaders. He has, as you say, a strategic brilliance about what matters. One of his favorite sayings that I remind myself all the time is a kind of baseball saying: Don’t major in the minors. Keep your eye on not just the headlines, but the trend lines.

And that’s very – it’s very helpful, because you can get really spun up around here. And you have to take a step back every day and say to yourself, “Okay, well, what’s going to be important tomorrow and next year and five and ten years from now.” And Bill has a keen understanding of that.

QUESTION: But you’re, of course, a renowned strategist yourself, and I couldn’t help noticing when I read your book that – how frustrated you were that healthcare never went to a vote --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- in ’94 --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: And that basically people gave up without that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: Did you let that thought of yours be shared when this Administration came through?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, absolutely. But there were so many people who were architects of the policy in the past 15 months who were there, starting with Rahm Emanuel. I mean, the times were different, the makeup of the Congress was different, the leadership was different, but – there were significant differences, but there were some lessons. And one of them was you have to get people on record on this. You can’t let them get off the hook, because you get the worst of both worlds that way.

QUESTION: And that was the case you made, because then – I remember there were a couple of days when people were talking perhaps more minimalist measures, for example, rather than going the full way.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that we got to the right strategy and it was executed very well. And we’re now finally on the path to remedying so many of the wrongs within our healthcare system, and I just am so happy about that because it’s going to make an enormous difference in people’s lives. I mean, this is a day-to-day worry for people that’s going to be alleviated.

QUESTION: What can you tell me about how you work with President Obama? I mean, I saw the picture – a picture on the White House blog of you getting ready to embrace him --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, yes. Yeah.

QUESTION: -- the day that --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. Because that was the first time I saw him that day and I was so happy. I mean, it really – I know how hard it was and how invested he was in getting it across the finish line, and it was thrilling. It was such a great accomplishment for us.

QUESTION: But how do you manage that? Because you’ve moved from a position where you had to be antagonists when you were in a primary campaign to a position where you have to be an utter loyalist in your current position.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s politics. I mean, I don’t see – I mean, there’s no contradiction to me at all. I worked every day with Republicans who said a lot of very terrible things about me – (laughter) – but, I mean, there’s a job to be done. But in this case, I’m really lucky because the President and I have a great relationship and we’re working really hard and well together, and I think making progress on some thorny issues. So it’s not – I mean, it just never comes up anymore. It seems like ancient history to me.

QUESTION: Do you ever expect – do you expect a woman president over the next decade or so?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’d love that. I mean, obviously, I would love that. And I want to be front and center when it happens.

QUESTION: Any chance it would be you?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no, I don’t think that’s in the cards. No, I think that there’s a whole generation of young women and not so young, but mature, seasoned women who are earning their stripes and recognizing how tough it is out there. I mean, it is not for the faint of heart to run for president, and I believe it is harder for women. It just is. And that’s just a fact, and you have to – you just have to be prepared for it and go out and do your best.

QUESTION: What is it that makes it harder for women? I mean, what --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there’s just so many built-in expectations. And I was listening to NPR this morning talking – I guess it might be going on now, your big debate.

QUESTION: It’s showing throughout the State Department.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I’m sitting here talking to you and you’re (inaudible) to talk to me. And they were saying, well, now the spouses of candidates are fair game. I mean – and I don’t know who the commentator was, but he said it’s really ridiculous. I mean, whether a woman’s running for office or she’s supporting her husband who’s running for office, and she gets criticized for wearing open-toed shoes or for the color of her coat. I mean, there’s just – there is just a lot of history that you bear if you are a woman who puts herself out in the political arena, and you just have to be ready for that.

QUESTION: What would you say – I mean, I just remember the – what you said in your autobiography about your Beijing speech, which was probably your most important policy statement, certainly, before you were elected to senator.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And you said a woman can’t show – a woman just can’t show too – is always going to be criticized if she shows too much feeling.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Is that still the case? I mean, is that still something?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it is. I think that there’s maybe a smidgeon of understanding where there was none before. But I think if you just ran through, in your own mind, women who’ve been in leadership positions and what they were criticized for compared to men, and stylistic differences and all the rest of it, it just goes with the territory and you can’t complain about it. You just have to do it and you have to be prepared to get up every day and make your case.

STAFF: Dan, I can’t hold them off any longer. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Can I just ask one last question --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Sure.

QUESTION: -- which is how is the engagement with the State Department? This is – you know, in a certain sense you could almost be seen as an undiplomat. You have these strengths of straight speaking, you have a global celebrity, you have – you are someone who really masters briefs on your own in many cases.

SECRETARY CLINTON: But we have a – it’s been extremely rewarding. I mean, I have worked hard to include so many of the professionals here in what I do to lift them up and give them the attention that their hard work deserves. When we finished the START treaty, I called Ellen Tauscher and – this longtime civil servant who’s been in that bureau for probably 30, 35 years. I said, “I’m taking you to the White House with me.” And Ellen wasn’t so surprised, because I mean, she’s been a congresswoman and chair of a subcommittee in the House. But this gentleman was incredibly surprised, when I took him to the Oval Office and I introduced him to the President. I feel so lucky that I’ve got this enormous range of talent to draw on. And I don’t know, how many people do we have? Sixty –

STAFF: Sixty-plus thousand.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Sixty-thousand-plus. And then the development experts over at USAID who are ready to drop anything and get to Haiti to start working after an earthquake. I mean, it’s an extraordinary group of people.

QUESTION: Is there anything that’s moved you in this job as your trip to Gujarat, for example, moved you as First Lady?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I mean, going to Goma, going to Haiti after the earthquake, just two examples of such terrible suffering and devastation, and trying to immediately take it in and figure out what we were going to do to be helpful. And I see that all over the world, just the extraordinary power of the human spirit under the most difficult circumstances. And I’m inspired by a lot of the leaders who I meet who are struggling against great odds, not just elected people but activists of all kinds. So I’m constantly moved by their example, their inspiration, and their determination.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you very much indeed.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good to see you.

QUESTION: Great to see you.

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PRN: 2010/790