Oct. 14, 2009 — -- The following is an edited transcript of ABC News' Cynthia McFadden's interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Moscow, Oct. 14, 2009
CYNTHIA McFADDEN: Well, Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for sitting down and talking to us.
HILLARY CLINTON: I'm happy to.
CM: So is the job what you thought it was going to be?
Clinton: You know, I wasn't sure that I had any preconceptions because I never thought I would do the (laughs) job, so I … I had never thought about it. It's an incredibly demanding job, but it's also really rewarding. You get to go and try to deal with very difficult problems that represent our country, it's, uh … um, a great, you know, a great honor. And so, it's … it's unlike anything I've ever done, but I'm finding it to be endlessly interesting and challenging.
CM: So in these nine months has there been one particular, painful, heart-wrenching moment that you look back at and say, oh that … that was a real tough one?
Clinton: Oh, yeah. Going to Goma. You know, going to Eastern Congo and meeting with women who had been so horribly abused and attacked and – not just their body but their souls. It was just heart-wrenching. But there's also a lot of real positive energy that comes from working with my colleagues and knowing that we're trying to make a difference.
CM: What … what issues dominate your schedule?
Clinton: Oh, the … the headline issues. Um, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iran, the Middle East, obviously our relationships with China and Russia, where we are speaking with you today. Um, you know, it's hard to answer that question, Cynthia, because every day is filled with so many, uh … subjects of either immediate or long term interest. I try to think about what we have to do right now, the crisis. Uh, what we have to do that are immediately demanding but not yet in the headlines. And then the long term trends, like climate change and the rest. They're going to have a big impact on our world.
CM: You're also responsible for food policy I know.
Clinton: That's right. You know, people are starving, um … food riots are causing political instability as we've seen in the last, uh … several years. So we're going to get back to trying to help people feed themselves, which I think is a lot better than, you know, just coming in, as we should, with humanitarian aid, let's try to help, you know, particularly, you know, the poor farmers of the world, 70 percent of whom are women, uh … make a better living for themselves and their children.
CM: You said earlier this week that you were going to retire at some point.
CM: That you were not going to run for President.
Clinton: I did say that.
CM: It's making enormous waves throughout the country back home.
Clinton: You think so? Oh, well, I mean, really, I feel like I, uh … I've had the most amazing life in my public service and for the last, um … seventeen years, after since my husband started running for President, I have been, you know, in the spotlight, working hard, and this job is, uh … incredibly, uh … all encompassing. So I think looking forward to maybe taking some time off. You don't think that's a good idea? (Laughs).
CM: It's just a little bit soon, somehow, having trying to keep up with you for the last few days. You don't seem … you don't seem tired. You don't seem daunted. You don't seem as if you were anywhere close to stopping.
Clinton: Well, I'm certainly not in this in this job. I feel like every day, every minute I have to make the most of. And I'm thrilled to be part of this administration, because I think we are making a difference. But that doesn't mean that I'm not looking forward at some point to maybe slowing down a little bit. Uh, having, uh … some time to, you know, just collect myself.
CM: Well, never is a long time. So I want to ask you again. You're never going to run for President again?
Clinton: I have absolutely no interest in running for President again. None. None. I mean, I know that's hard for some people to believe, but, you know, I just … I just don't, I feel like that was a great experience, uh … you know, I gave it all I had, I'm giving this job all I have. I try to live in the present, so it just seems, you know, that, uh … that's not in my future.
CM: So let me ask you about some other persistent rumors.
Clinton: (Laughs). Sure. (Laughs).
CM: We'll get to foreign policy in a minute. That you are frustrated at state, that you're going to step down and go back and run again for your seat for New York.
Clinton: No. I am neither frustrated nor planning anything other than being the best Secretary of State I could be.
CM: Governor of New York?
Clinton: No. (Laughs). No. I … I love the fact that, um, there's so much, uh … curiously about what I might do, but I'm so focused on what I am doing, I … I really can't, uh … imagine why anybody would have time to think about something in the future.
CM: You know, people also are endlessly fascinated with how you came to this position.
CM: And I know you talked about it in general terms, we wondered if you might talk to us a little more specifically. I mean, I was on the campaign trail with you when you were campaigning for President Elect, then, Obama. Uh, well, not President Elect, Candidate Obama. Uh, when did you get the first indication that he might be interested in having you serve the administration?
Clinton: Well, I got no indication until after the election. And I didn't believe the indications that people were trying to (Laughs) tell me about, um … you know, I … I ran hard to get the nomination. I wasn't successful. You know, I'm one of these people like, okay, you wake up in the morning, you make the most out of the day you've got, I wanted to make sure that, uh … uh … Senator Obama because President Obama, so I went to work for him. And worked as hard as I could in the general election. And was thrilled at the idea that I was going back to the Senate to represent New York.
Clinton: I love New York. I mean, I'm … I'm like the adopted child. I just love New York. And so I felt like this was, you know, the best place I could serve and there was a lot to be done and we were going to have a democratic President and a Democratic Congress and that's what I would be doing. And it was, um … you know, about, I don't know, five, six days after the election, um … and my husband and I were out for walk actually in a sort of preserve near where we live in New York. And he had his cell phone in his pocket, I didn't have anything on me. And all of the sudden it started ringing in the middle of this big, uh … nature preserve. And, uh … instead of turning it off, he answered it, and it was President Elect Obama, uh … wanting to talk to him about some people he was considering for, uh … positions. And he said, you know, and I'd like to, you know, also talk to Hillary at some point. Fine, you know, we know a lot of people. So obviously somebody's calling to say, check with this person or what do you think about that person?
CM: So you didn't, at that point, think it meant talk to talk to… talk to you?
Clinton: No. No. I didn't. And then they began these little, you know, tidbits in the paper and, uh … my press, uh … people began to say to me, oh, I think … I said, that is absurd and ridiculous. I mean, these rumors, it's like I'm going to quit and run for Governor. I … I've been so used to this kind of talk all my life, so forget it. Then, uh … when I did talk to the press, and he said he wanted me to come to Chicago, because he wanted to talk to me. And …
CM: So tell me about that phone call. He calls and he says; Hillary …
Clinton: Well, he … he called and … and, uh … he said, uh … you know, I … I really would like to talk to you about some things. And, uh … I'd like you to come to Chicago to … to meet with me. Even then I honestly did not believe it was about me. I did not. I mean, maybe I was in denial, but I did not believe it. And I wasn't really, in any way, at that moment interested in it being about me either.
So it was kind of a … a double, you know, denial. But when I went there and met with him and he began to talk to me, my … my first reaction was, you know, really, there are other people and I … I am happy to be back in the Senate. And the campaign was, you know, enormously exhausting. (Laughs). I think, you know, there's a lot of other ways I could help you. But he's a very persistent, um … and persuasive man. And I did begin to look at it seriously then, and um … I talked to a lot of people.
CM: Now, did he say State Department right away?
Clinton: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. He said, I want you to, uh … be my Secretary of State. And I said, oh, no you don't. (Laughs).
CM: No, did you really say that?
Clinton: I really did. (Laughs). I said, oh, please, there are so many other people who could do this, and do it really well and … and, yeah, I … I had this kind of image in my head, I'd be back in the Senate, I'd get to spend time in my house, I'd visit my friends in the city and upstate, and go back and work on healthcare and all the things that were going to happen.
So I was very taken back and … and somewhat resistant, um … to the idea, because it just seemed so unexpected. I couldn't grasp it.
But, you know, we kept talking, I talked obviously to a lot of other people. Um, and I finally began thinking, look, if I had won, and I had called him and said, look, we have a lot of work to do. We … we, obviously as democrats and … and given how we saw the world, we believed that we had a lot of, you know, make up work to do and try to, you know, get things back in order. Um, and so if I had called him I would have wanted him to say yes. And, you know, I'm pretty old fashioned and it's just who I am. So, at the end of the day, when your President asks you to serve, you say yes if you can.
'An Opponent One Day and Then a Colleague'
CM: Would you have called him?
Clinton: Absolutely. Absolutely. Oh, of course. I mean, you know … the most common question I'm asked as I travel around the world now is, how could you go to work with somebody you were opposed to?
Because politics in many developing democracies, uh … is still so personal. And people can't fathom how you could be an opponent one day and then a colleague the next day? So whether it's Indonesia, or, um … you know, Angola. I mean, it's just … or Liberia, I mean, just everywhere I go.
And I tried to … the first time I was asked, I tried to say, well, look, you know, that's what we do. You know, we close ranks and we work together. But at the seventh or eighth time it suddenly struck me, I said, it's because we both love our country. It's … it's what we believe in. And we, for me anyway, politics is not the end of itself, it's … it's a means to be able to help people improve their lives, to give them the tools that they need to try to prevent terrible problems from becoming, uh … you know, just an … an awful crisis. So, it … it's all worked out.
CM: Well, you're right, there are certain places around the world that you would have lost your head not being …
CM: ... Secretary of State.
CM: But you ran so fiercely. It did become very personal between the two of you, at least from where the rest of us were sitting. And … and I wondered did it take a while for this awkwardness of the campaign to … to wear itself out? Or … ?
Clinton: I think it took longer for the people who had supported each of us than it took for us. I think that, you know, we're both professionals. We both have a very, you know, a clear sense of who each of us is. And we saw the tremendous opportunities for this partnership.
00:21:51 And, you know, we went to work. Um, but I think for some people who were in the intensive cauldron of, uh … presidential politics, it was like; well, why would he do that? And why would she do this? And I think all of that is behind us. CM: So were there assurances you needed before you could accept?
Clinton: Well, sure, I mean obviously. You know, but I'll keep that between me and the President, because I don't like to, you know, talk about, uh … uh, those kinds of, um … confidences. But, of course.
CM: Are they being met?
Clinton: Absolutely. And then … and he has been, uh … you know, very supportive. Very forthcoming. Um, I feel that, you know, not only incredibly involved, but, um … relied upon. And, you know, as an advisor and as someone with this responsibility that I have for … to kind of help shape and execute foreign policy, um … uh, I'm … I'm very pleased by not just the relationship I have with the President. I already had very, you know, a good, close personal relationship with the Vice President, but with the rest of the team, you know, getting to know Bob Gates, and … and Jim Jones whom I've known, but know now in a different capacity and … and the teams that each of them has put together.
CM: There are a lot of [inaudible] breeders as you know.
CM: In Washington and the rest of the country. So … so one of the things people are very interested in, how much time do you actually spend with the President? A lot? A little?
Clinton: I am shocked at how much time I spend in the White House. I mean, you know, for people on the outside, the idea of going to the White House for a meeting must seem like the most important, serious, even glamorous kind of thing to do. But I've been there so much, it's … it's I see them, I say, oh, my gosh, I have to go to the White House again. (Laughs).
I spend so much time every week. I spend it in meetings with others in the White House. I spend it in meetings in the Situation Room, particularly given everything that's going on. And I spend it one on one with the President. So there's an enormous amount of interaction, which I find fascinating.
You and I were talking about this, um … here we are living in a world of computers and Blackberries and all the rest of it, but nothing substitutes for that personal, sitting down, listening to each other, looking at each other, you know, reading body languages as well as, you know, what the papers in front of you say.
So I … I could not be, um … more satisfied with our relationship and the way that this is all unfolding.
CM: So you talk to him four or five times a week?
Clinton: Oh, well, I mean, depending upon our travel schedule and the like, it … it could be, you know, once a week or ten times a week. I mean, it just depends on what's going on.
CM: There has been a lot of talk about all of the other big dogs surrounding foreign policy. And, as you know, famously there was a column written saying; Hillary, take off your burka.
CM: Being obscure about each other, very powerful men, [inaudible] foreign policy from Richard Holbrook to … to George Mitchell and others. Is there any thought in your mind that you are, in fact, the President's chief foreign policy counsel?
Clinton: No. There … there really isn't any doubt in my mind. And, you know, I … I'm not going to put myself in anyone else's minds, but I really believe in teams and I really believe in recruiting the best people you can recruit. And giving them the authority that they need to do the job you've asked them to do. But at the end of the day I remain accountable, and I am deeply involved in, um … helping to, you know, chart the course and then try to execute what we've decided to do.
CM: So you met yesterday with the Russian president.
CM: Uh, Iran I know was on the agenda.
CM: Can you update us about the Russian feeling about Iran at this point?
Clinton: Well, I'm very um … uh, pleased by how supportive the Russians have been in what has become a United International effort. Uh, both in the existing framework, something called the P5 plus 1, which is Russia and China and … and, you know, Great Britain and France and Germany and … and us, and the EU, we're all trying to figure out how to, uh … put uh … uh … this issue of Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions, you know, on the very top, uh … of the agenda and I think we're succeeding. Uh, this goes back to the President's inauguration where he said, you know, I'll reach out my hand if you unclench your fist. Uh, we know that there are lots of problems between, um … us and the Iranians.
Um, but we also know that we remain committed to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power. So what have we done? In that meeting in Geneva on October 1st, three very important, um … steps were taken; one, open up your, uh … previously undisclosed site at Qom to inspection. Number two, ship out your low enriched uranium for reprocessing outside of Iran. Something Russia and the United States jointly presented, which I thought was quite significant.
And began to set a schedule for further meetings, because we are pursuing this diplomatic track. Everybody hopes this succeeds. You know, sanctions, which there's a lot talk about, are a result of the diplomatic track failing. So we are committed to the diplomatic track, but, you know, my view in life, and in, uh … foreign policy is you hope for the best and you plan for the worst. And so I'm thrilled that, uh … we got the kind of united front on the diplomatic track, but we're also going to continue to look at the potential sanctions if we're not successful.
CM: The foreign secretary here seemed to dismiss, to some extent, the idea of sanctions. Was that the same position you've heard from the President?
Clinton: Well, I think, to me they're not mutually inconsistent, but the President, and he repeated again to us yesterday, has said consistently is that, look, Russia does not prefer sanctions. You know? They … they have lots of doubts and concerns about sanctions. But sanctions may be inevitable. Whether they are or not is what we're trying to determine. So I … I don't see any inconsistency in that.
CM: But do you feel, and I guess this is what the American people are interested in knowing, that if sanctions become necessary, the U.S. will have Russia's support.
Clinton: I believe if sanctions become necessary, we will have, uh … support from Russia. Because, for example, even Minister [Sergei] Lavrov has said that if Iran were to renege on the inspections, or renege on the, uh … uh … agreement we've reached about shipping out the, uh … low enriched uranium called L.U., uh, what else would you do? You'd have to sanction.
So, I mean, we are … we take this step by step. And I think the other thing to know about the Russians, for example, and it's … it's true for some other countries as well, they believe diplomacy should always be in private, not in public. That you don't … you don't get what you need if you pressure people in public. You work it out behind the scenes. You know, our country is much more open. (Laughs). We conduct everything in public it seems like. So we have a slightly different approach, that we think both public and private combined are the best way to go.
'To Meet the Threat That We Saw'
CM: So let me ask you a question that you're probably going to tell me is in private, but I'm going to ask anyway, uh … Secretary Gates said that and he share a very similar world view when it comes to negotiations, that if you made the concession you'd want to make sure you'd get something back for it.
Well, the Americans have just stood down or scrubbed the plants for nuclear, for the defense system that was going to be in the Czech Republic in Poland, something that the … the Russians wanted. What did the U.S. get in exchange for that?
Clinton: Well, I think that it's really important to understand what we did, because what we did was to conduct a very in-depth review which led us to conclude that the prior planning in the prior administration was not what was needed to meet the threat that we see.
Now, we frankly don't see the threat of a nuclear war between the United States and Russia. We just don't see that. We didn't see it happen during the Cold War when, you know, literally it was on a hair trigger. We don't see that.
What we do see is a country like Iran having short and medium range missiles that are able to target and reach our allies, our troops in Europe, uh … the larger, you know, community, the Euro/Atlantic community. And there's a lot that we put in our system that was aimed at a threat that we don't really perceive and we don't think that Iran's long term, long range missiles are yet developed enough. So what we did was to reconfigure our approach to meet the threat that we saw. And I think that, you know, we didn't, uh … we weren't looking for any concessions, and we didn't do it for anybody else. We did it because we thought it was in our national security interest to do it.
CM: No doubt it did engender some good will, though.
Clinton: I think it was acknowledged as being more accessible because clearly, Cynthia, what we're trying to do here is persuade the Russians. And I think we're making progress on this, to join with us in missile defense. To be part of the kind of global architecture of protecting against either regimes with nuclear arms, missiles or in the most horrible of outcomes, terrorists groups like Al Qaeda with nuclear armed missiles. So we're going to everything we can to prevent that from happening, but I think it is highly sensible to also be focusing on defense.
I supported missile defense and its development when I was a Senator. Uh, that set me apart from some democrats because I … I really believe that we have the technological knowhow in our country, uh … to be able to create that kind of protective, uh … umbrella. But, you know, for me, this was doing what was smart.
CM: I want to get Afghanistan, but before, just … just one final question on Iran; is there any doubt in your mind that it is the desire of the Iranian government to create nuclear weapons?
Clinton: There's a … a small space for doubt, um … because there are some contrary indicators. Um, there is no doubt in my mind that they want nuclear energy and nuclear power, which they are entitled to, to be able to use it for peaceful purposes. The real problem is once you do that and you get what's called a breakout capacity, it's not long before you could do the other. So that's why this is so, uh … important to address right now.
CM: There was a published Associated Press report, citing an IAEA document, a confidential document, saying that the IAEA had evaluated the situation and it became absolutely crystal clear to them in the report that, indeed, Iran was heading in that direction.
Clinton: Well, they … we … we are doing this because we think they're heading there. But whether they want to get what's called the breakout capacity and stop knowing that they could then move forward, that's where the question comes. So I don't think there's any contradiction.
CM: The IAEA … uh, I got the initials, the initials are rough. The IAEA's assessment that Iran worked on developing a chamber inside of ballistic missile capable of housing a warhead payload quite … quote, "that is quite likely to be nuclear."
Clinton: Well, that's true. They have missile capacity. We know that. They don't yet have the weapon that would go into that chamber. And when I say I have a small space of doubt, my point is that if the Iranians, and I've said this many times, believe that being a nuclear weapons power gives them more, um … power, vis a vis their neighbors, I think that's a terrible miscalculation. Because I think they would start an arms race that would actually make their position less secure, not more secure. So that's what I … you know, I'm … I, you know, we're doing everything we can toward our goal of preventing that, but we're also, you know, looking, uh … at ways of influencing the decision making within, aside Iran.
CM: Moving on to Afghanistan, uh, President Karzai yesterday in an interview yesterday with an interview with my colleague, Diane Sawyer, said that the election in Afghanistan was, and I want to quote him specifically, quote "Good and fair and worthy of praise." Is that how you see the Afghanistan arms race?
Clinton: I see it as a very mixed bag. On the one hand just holding an election in the midst of the conflict was an accomplishment. There is no doubt about that. I think that, uh … the Taliban's effort to intimidate and prevent people from voting, uh … did have a very unfortunate effect because it suppressed the turnout. I think there were irregularities, there's no doubt about that. Um, and the two organizations that have been empowered, one totally Afghan, the other international, to look at this, they're going to be coming out with their … their findings in a couple of days. So I think I'll wait and see what they decide to, uh … uh … tell us they've concluded.
CM: It is clear that the election has been compromised. What does that mean for you as foreign policy?
Clinton: Well, I think it means that, you know, we have to recognize the reality that we're dealing with. This is not, uh … surprising to me, that you would have such a difficult time holding an election and then there would be irregularities within that election. Um, I think that part of what we're attempting to do is to sort that out and a lot of people have spent an enormous amount of time and effort trying to really parse it. Uh, if they conclude that there has to be a second round, then there has to be a second round. I mean, that's … that's the rules in the Afghan Constitution in Laws.
CM: And does that mean that the decision that I know you're all, the administration, working towards about the U.S.'s rule, the announcement of what that's going to be deferred pending an election?
Clinton: I don't know about being deferred, but it makes, you know, the timing of it more challenging. That's obvious. Because the President, when he, uh … made his statements back in March that, uh … we were going to, uh … send more troops and … and, uh … integrate our strategy in the military civilian Afghanistan, Pakistan more clearly, he said we're going to, uh … wait and take stock of this after the election. Well, there is no (laughs) after the election yet. And I think everybody just needs to recognize that, uh … you know, we … we have to be, um … understanding of the challenges we face in making what is a very difficult decision.
CM: President Karzai also said, and I want to read this to you, to Diane Sawyer yesterday; "Al Qaeda was driven out of Afghanistan in 2001. They have no base in Afghanistan. The war against terrorism is not in Afghanistan villages. It is not in the Afghan countryside." If that's true, what are we doing there?
Clinton: Well, I … I think what President Karzai means, because I've had this conversation, um … you know, with him and with others, is there are many elements of the Taliban. There is no doubt about that. Um, the main, um … leadership of the Taliban that is allied with Al Qaeda is in Pakistan.
Now they send people across the border. They help to fund the, uh … uh … Taliban extremists who are, you know , more associated with Al Qaeda than indigenous. Um …
CM: But clearly the Taliban inside of Afghanistan have been at least hiding and helping.
Clinton: Oh, absolutely. But … but what I think he's trying to get at, which is also our analysis, there are people, quote "Taliban" who are hiding because they get paid to fight. They have no other way of making a living. You've got a very poor, uh … population in general.
They get paid more to be in the Taliban than they get paid to be, like say, a local police officer. So that's one element. There's an economic motivation. Another is that there are all kinds of, uh … uh, internal conflicts in Afghanistan between certain tribal groups or ethnic groups, uh … who find it opportunistic to ally with the Taliban.
They're very conservative. Uh, they share a lot of the same, you know, moral or social values. But they're not a direct threat to us. But then there are those who are targeting American soldiers, who are targeting, you know, United Nations or, uh … the Indian Embassy or all kinds of other, uh … targets.
So one … one of the reasons why I think this review, that uh … the President has directed is so important is we're trying to sort out who is the real enemy?
Our goal is to, uh … disrupt, dismantle, defeat Al Qaeda and its extremist allies. But not every Taliban is an extremist ally. So that's what we're trying to make, uh … clear both in our, um … understanding and in our actions.
'An Unfortunate Choice of Words'
CM: But from your perspective, to say that there is no basis of terrorism operating in Afghanistan today is clearly wrong.
Clinton: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. But I know what he's trying to say, it just didn't come across the way that I think it was meant.
CM: I know that you're not, unless you'd like to tell me what's your advice to the President …
CM: But somehow I think you're not going to. But let me ask you the question this way. We … we've all been receiving, uh … releases from the White House, the meetings at the … the pictures of the meetings.
Clinton: Right, right.
CM: In your heart of hearts, do you now know what, I mean, I'd love to ask you what … what … what goes on in that … what it feels like to sit in that room?
Clinton: Well, I'll tell you … it is a heavy responsibility. And I think you can look at the expressions on all of our faces and see the seriousness and, uh … in some of the instances even the somber, um … expressions.
And this is a very heavy, heavy responsibility. Uh, you know, I served on the Armed Services Committee. I've been in Afghanistan, uh … meeting with our young men and women. Uh, you know, every time there is a death or an injury, it's just such a tragedy. And so we … we bear that in mind all the time. Um, and we're trying to make what we think is the best decision for our country.
CM: So in your heart of hearts, at this moment in time, do you know what you think the right strategy for America is?
Clinton: I am still, um … you know, considering all the different, uh … aspects of making this decision. Um, and I will, you know, be prepared to offer the President my best advice when he asks for it.
CM: But if he asks tomorrow would you know what you were going to say?
Clinton: Um, probably.
CM: It's been reported that you and Secretary Gates are leaning very much in the same direction. Is that accurate?
Clinton: I'm not going to comment on where I'm leaning or where anyone else is leaning. I think I owe the President my best advice and, uh … I think I'll leave it at that.
CM: And it's also been said that you're a little more hawkish, a little bit more hawkish of his advisors. Is that a fair characterization?
Clinton: No, I don't think so. I think, uh a lot of those labels may be, uh … convenient for people to apply, but I rarely find them accurate. I think that every one of us struggles with the same, um … choices that we are trying to sort out and I don't think labeling is useful.
CM: So it's been reported that the choices are, and I'm sure there are many variations of the choices, hold troop levels where they are, increase by 40,000, increased by 80,000. Is that essentially the … the range of options?
Clinton: No. There are many options. And there are all kinds of approaches that are being, uh … presented and considered. And it is also not just about troops. It is about what we do, uh … to, uh … you know, work more effectively, with … uh, not just the government of Afghanistan, but the people of Afghanistan, what we do to, uh … to create a better, um, uh … situation in Pakistan. I mean, so it's much more complex than that.
CM: There are an awful lot of American people who say we can't win in Afghanistan, just pull out. What would you say to them?
Clinton: I understand why people say that and, um … you know, I could only, uh … repeat that, you know, the president is well aware of all the different, uh … opinions and options and he's going to do what he thinks is best for our country. CM: I wanted to talk to you about the status of women in the world, a subject I know you care about, but next time. Clinton: Next time.
CM: There you go. You … you spent a tremendous amount of time in your life dealing with very powerful men, one of whom you're married to.
Clinton: (Laughs). Yes, that's true! (Laughs).
CM: What was the famous blow up in Africa? A lot of people feel that there was a lot of sensitivities about feeling overshadowed by him. Is that what happened?
Clinton: No. No. No, it didn't, no that isn't all what happened. Uh, but you know, I … I have long since learned that, uh … you know, never complain, never explain, just keep going. Um, you know, I have … I have been blessed to, uh … be in the center of, um … making decisions for a country that I love and that I've devoted most of my life to serving. And so it's … it's hard to, uh … do what I've done without being around a lot of powerful men. So I'm … I'm very used to that and very much, uh … grateful for the chance to play a small part.
CM: So what did happen in Africa?
CM: What was that?
Clinton: Oh, it was a, um … it was an unfortunate choice of words by the young man who asked me the question. CM: Did it set off something in you? That did not please you.
Clinton: Well, you know, when you're on a trip to try to elevate women, and, um … you know, that … that … just didn't uh, hit me the right way. I really felt like, you know, we needed to make it clear.
CM: You've been asked several times about your reaction to the President winning the Nobel Peace Prize. And I wanted to ask you about your husband's reaction, because there's been so much written about his being frustrated and furious.
Clinton: Oh, ridiculous. You know, just ridiculous. Unbelievable. Look, I think it's great that our President has been recognized like this. And as the President said, he was very surprised and very humbled, and it was a call to action. Everybody who has ever been in that job knows that you just have to get up every day and keep working at it. And the President understands that completely. But what a great recognition of what he's trying to do in the world.
CM: Well, it's not Iowa, but I thank you very much for sitting with us here in Moscow. It's been a pleasure, as always.
Clinton: (Laughs). Thank you. Good to see you.
CM: Good to see you.