Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Katie Couric's final CBS interview: Hillary Clinton on Obama's Mideast speech

| No Comments

Updated with full transcript

below, from CBS News....

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON REACTS TO PRESIDENT OBAMA'S SPEECH IN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KATIE COURIC

CLINTON ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT U.S. RELATIONSHIP WITH PAKISTAN, FOLLOWING THE KILLING OF OSAMA BIN LADEN; ADDRESSES SYRIA, LIBYA

For her final interview for the CBS EVENING NEWS, Katie Couric sat down with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today following President Barack Obama's speech. Their conversation is scheduled to broadcast tonight on the CBS EVENING NEWS (6:30 PM, ET) and following are excerpts:

MANDATORY CREDIT, THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC:

On the United States' relationship with Pakistan after finding him there:

KATIE COURIC: When it comes to harboring Osama bin Laden, I know you're trying to find out what did they know, when did they know it, and who knew. Clearly someone did. What is the U.S. going to do about Pakistan?

SEC. HILLARY CLINTON: We believe that it was not proven that anybody at the top of the government in Pakistan knew where Bin Laden was. But it seems likely that somebody did know. I said that the first time I went to Pakistan. I said it's hard to believe that somebody in your government somewhere, and it could be some very low level person, doesn't know where he is.


# # #

KATIE COURIC INTERVIEWS SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON
THURSDAY, MAY 19
FULL TRANSCRIPT
MANDATORY CREDIT: THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I know President Obama was very clear. And what we want is to continue to support the voices of democracy. Those who are standing against the brutality. But we're also well aware every situation is different. And in this one, Assad has said a lot of things that you didn't hear from other leaders in the region, about the kind of changes he would like to see. That may all be out the window, or he may have one last chance.

KATIE COURIC: At the same time, you know, this Syrian regime is close to Iran. They're getting support from Iran to-- for their tactics of suppression, if you will. Their... they support terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. So, why not just say he needs to be removed?

CLINTON: Well, you're right that Iran is supporting them. And we're calling them out on it. But I think we also know-- that there are many different forces at work in Syria. And we think it would be better if the people of Syria themselves made it clear to Assad that there have to be changes.

COURIC: The whole notion of regime change isn't working very well in Libya, is it?

CLINTON: I disagree with that. I think we are seeing slow but steady progress. The pressure on the Qaddafi-- regime has-- increased to the point that Qaddafi's wife and daughter fled-- across the border into Tunisia in the last two days. The oil minister has defected. So, we're making progress. I wish it would go faster. They certainly wish it would go faster. But we're on the right path.

COURIC: Why does the killing of civilians in Libya justify U.S. military involvement, but the killing of civilians in Syria does not?

CLINTON: There's no one size fits all and there's no magic wand. If there were, we'd be waving it like crazy. And in Libya, what we had was a unique international coalition. What we're seeing now is increasing pressure on Syria. We're seeing-- the European Union taking actions. Us upping the actions. And I think you'll see more in the days to come.

COURIC: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has become more insulated. The Obama Administration has been criticized for not working hard enough to move the ball forward in the pre-- peace process. Fair criticism?

CLINTON: Not at all fair. And what the President said today was, "We want to see negotiations. But we're...not able to you know, make those negotiations happen. But we know that without negotiations, there will be no end to the conflict. No end to the claims. And not two state solution.

COURIC: When it comes to harboring Osama bin Laden, I know you're trying to find out what did they know, when did they know it, and who knew. Clearly someone did. What is the U.S. going to do about Pakistan?

CLINTON: We believe that-- it was not-- proven that anybody at the top of the government in Pakistan knew where Bin Laden was. But it seems likely that somebody did know. I said that the first time I went to Pakistan. I said it's hard to believe that somebody in your government somewhere, and it could be some very low level person, doesn't know where he is.

And we're having, you know, very candid conversations with-- our Pakistani partners. But we expect more. We're having conversations about what more we can do together.

# # #

On Syrian President Assad's government:

COURIC: "...this Syrian regime is close to Iran. They're getting support from Iran to...for their tactics of suppression, if you will. Their...they support terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. So, why not just say he needs to be removed?

CLINTON: "Well, you're right that Iran is supporting them. And we're calling them out on it. But I think we also know-- that there are many different forces at work in Syria. And we think it would be better if the people of Syria themselves made it clear to Assad that there have to be changes."

# # #

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 19, 2011 5:02 PM.

Jewish Democratic Council praises Obama Mideast speech was the previous entry in this blog.

Michelle Obama hits 2012 fund-raising trail for first time is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.