Transcript: Sebelius, Specter and Hatch

Let's switch to the other Clinton in the news this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who went to Africa to do some important work and got a lot of media attention, as is the wont of the superficial media -- and I include myself in that group -- to focus on gaffes.

But, Anne, as somebody who has covered Hillary Clinton, as somebody who is writing a book about women and politics, what was that eruption in the Congo when she thought -- was so offended somebody would ask her about her husband's view on whether or not the Chinese should loan the Congo some money? Whether or not there was a mistranslation, why would she get so upset about that?

KORNBLUT: Well, and, in fact, I think we've reported out that there was no mistranslation, that she was asked about her husband. The reporters who were there said it was very hot. She was very tired, so maybe her demeanor is not the one she would have wanted, but that the underling sentiment, that she's the secretary of state, is one that she intended to convey, especially in a region of the world that is so male-dominated.

But these incidents are kind of bigger than that. It's sort of the perfect encapsulation of the burden of being Hillary Clinton, that you are seen in relation to your husband wherever you go, not just by the media, but by the world, and asked questions about him.

And it reminded me a lot of the campaign, when she was seen in relation to him and having to respond and trying to be her own person. But it also raises the question of what kind of secretary of state she's going to be and if she's going to be able to harness the celebrity, which, of course, is the reason we're all talking about it, you know, to a larger purpose.

Some people, when this whole incident happened, said to me, "You know, she looks kind of like a first lady on this trip. She's out there. She's been gone 11 days, 7 countries. She's away from the center of action here."

So I suspect we may see some shorter trips from her, ones where she's not going to get as tired when she's on the road. But at the end of the day, I think her -- again, the underlining sentiment, is one that certainly the White House and she defend, that she had the right to say that.

TAPPER: Donna, school me. What should we -- what should we have been covering on -- on the news?

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, we're using the wrong metric to judge her performance. This is a very serious secretary of state who, I believe, did a lot of good in Africa, not only in renewing old ties, but also broadening our reach in certain countries that the United States clearly needs to engage, Angola, for example, with their vast commodities.

But more important -- and I know how she might have come across to some people, that she was not diplomatic -- but, you know, she was in the Congo, in the east Congo, where women are basically being raped, there's genital mutilization, there's a lot of gender violence. And, you know, if she showed a little bit of emotion, so be it.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, also, I mean, this was like President Obama's speech in Ghana. She said this was a tough-love message for Africa, and in some ways that was the overriding point of this trip, and I think continuing a policy tone that he set.

I would say, though, this is what -- what you saw -- the focus on the gaffe is the downside of the upside of her -- of her -- of her position as secretary of state. She is a global celebrity.

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