She did so much that the world’s view of the United States is the worst in decades. We’re a laughingstock, and she has earned much of the blame.
Hillary Clinton has started to formulate a strategy on one of the thorniest issues she will face on the campaign trail: her tenure as President Obama’s secretary of State.
Republicans have ripped Clinton’s reign as the country’s top diplomat, and the 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner hasn’t yet responded directly to those salvos.
She is less inclined to focus on any specific achievement than to weave her time at Foggy Bottom into a larger narrative about her experience and toughness.
“I’ve stood up to adversaries like [Russia President Vladimir] Putin and reinforced allies like Israel,” she said in her speech on Saturday at Roosevelt Island in New York City. “I was in the Situation Room on the day we got [Osama] bin Laden.”
The general nature of those remarks points to a potential vulnerability for Clinton. Her critics argue that she achieved little of substance as secretary of State. And they expand that critique to suggest that her public life more broadly has been marked by talk over action.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) targeted Clinton’s record at the State Department while in New Hampshire Tuesday, the day after making his presidential candidacy official. Bush told Sean Hannity of Fox News that Clinton’s time in the Cabinet post was a “complete failure,” and argued that the things that she was most associated with were missteps — including U.S. policy in Libya and the attempt to “reset” relations with Russia.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has also launched a 2016 bid, has said “Hillary Clinton’s war” in Libya led to “chaos” in the Middle East.
Bush suggested that her time in Foggy Bottom was consistent with Clinton’s performance as a senator representing New York, when, he said, “she has her name on three laws in eight years.”
Carly Fiorina, the businesswoman seeking the Republican presidential nomination, is fond of mocking Clinton for her statements about how many miles she racked up on planes while secretary of State. “Flying is not an accomplishment; it is an activity,” Fiorina often says. Her campaign used the line as the centerpiece of an ad released last week.
Let’s face it, her most memorable “accomplishment” is leaving four men to die in Benghazi. No spin can every wipe that stain away.
“If you’re asking me if she solved the problems of the Middle East, the answer is no,” Democratic strategist Jim Manley said. “But she did do much to change the world’s view of the United States, and she worked very hard to try to reach different constituencies.”
“She worked very hard” isn’t an accomplishment.