Political Headlines January 29, 2013: John Kerry confirmed as secretary of state

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry confirmed as secretary of state

Source: WaPo, 1-29-13

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Senate voted 94 to 3 Tuesday to approve Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as the next secretary of state, with bipartisan tributes and a few words of caution.

Kerry is set to formally take over from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday, becoming the 68th top U.S. diplomat and the first white male to hold the post since Warren Christopher in 1997….READ MORE

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Full Text Political Headlines January 29, 2013: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Holds a Farewell Global Townterview — Townhall Interview Transcript

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Secretary Clinton Holds a Global Townterview

Townhall

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Newseum
Washington, DC
January 29, 2013

MS. SALES: Hello. I’m Leigh Sales from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Welcome to this town hall-style event with the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has her last day at the State Department this Friday. This is a town hall with a difference though because we have people all around the world ready to ask to questions from Britain to Beirut to Colombia.

Here’s how the event will run in front of our live audience here in the Newseum’s Knight Studio in Washington, D.C. I’ll start the ball rolling with five minutes of discussion with the Secretary, and then we’ll cross to locations around the globe to hear other questions, and we’ll also be taking submissions from social media. Now, of course, live TV is fraught with peril to begin with, but when you throw in six lives satellites around the world, it’s a bit of a high-wire act, so please bear with us if the technology doesn’t quite cooperate as we’d like.

So to start, and for her final town hall, please welcome the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, Leigh.

MS. SALES: Hi Secretary Clinton. Have a seat.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, everyone. Hello.

MS. SALES: Super warm welcome there. This is your 59th event like this, so there’s nothing new I can ask you, is there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I’m sure there is. (Laughter.)

MS. SALES: I’ve had a look at some of the transcripts of previous events like this and you’ve been asked some very funny things, from what was Chelsea’s first word, which was Mommy, for the record, to what you favorite film was. I bet they’re all quite memorable in their own way.

SECRETARY CLINTON: They really are because part of what I’ve tried to do in the last four years is to reach out to people across the world, particularly young people, and I’m so happy to see so many of them here in the Newseum. And for me it’s been a learning experience as well, because as I’ve traveled around doing these – this is the 59th, as you said – of these kinds of events, all over the globe I’ve heard what’s on people’s minds and what their questions were, and so it’s been a great two-way communication.

MS. SALES: I have seen some interesting statistics: You’ve had 1,700 meetings with world leaders, 755 meetings at the White House, 570 airplane meals – (laughter) – and three times caught dancing on camera.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, dear. Yes. (Laughter.) That’s supposed to be erased from the record, you know. (Laughter.)

MS. SALES: Now, in a moment I’m going to throw to questions around the world, as I just explained. But first of all, I just want to us to set the scene a little bit by talking about some of the big foreign policy issues that are around in the news. So let’s start with North Africa, which has been very prominent lately. We’ve seen the Islamist extremists in Algeria, of course the ongoing problems in Libya, the crisis in Mali, in recent days violent protests in Egypt. How much of a global security threat is this region?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Leigh, it is becoming a threat, first and foremost, to the people of the region. This is not what the Arab revolution was about, and there’s a great deal of concern across the region about people who choose to use violence to try to impose their extremist views rather than participate in politics. It does have the potential, however, of expanding beyond the region, which is why I think you’re seeing an international concern and coalition coming together to support the people of Mali, to stand by the Government of Algeria, to work with the Government of Libya, so that they themselves are given the tools they need to combat this extremist threat.

MS. SALES: Has there been an insufficient global focus on that part of the world to now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think historically there has been exactly that, that much of Africa – you can separate North Africa from Sub-Saharan Africa – have not had the kind of attention on a range of issues, whether it’s security or development. But that is changing, and it’s very exciting to me that I think seven of the fastest performing economies in the world now are in Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s also exciting to see people in North Africa, after so many decades of oppression, looking to find their own way forward democratically.

But transformations are never easy and they are never preordained. If North Africa and the fruits of the Arab revolution are to be democracy, prosperity, better opportunities particularly for the young people of the region, the people themselves will have to ensure that. And in Sub-Saharan Africa, helping to improve governance and create more opportunity has been one of my primary goals.

MS. SALES: The world saw your passionate response to a Senate committee last week about what happened in Benghazi. You said that you want the focus to be on making sure that something like that can’t happen again. But is it really possible to prevent things like that from happening?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we live in a dangerous world and it’s unpredictable and complex. I think we in government have to do everything we can to provide as secure conditions as possible for our diplomats, our development experts, in order that we don’t end up in bunkers, abdicating from regions that are important to us. But it’s also now an increasing threat, as we saw with the Algerian hostage taking, to businesses, to cultural institutions. We’ve seen the extremists destroying shrines and libraries that were holding priceless remnants and artifacts that were of great meaning to people. So yes, it’s something we have to deal with, but we have to also be realistic that we live in this dangerous world and we can’t retreat from it.

MS. SALES: When we were watching that hearing, we saw the Republican committee members go on the attack. Is Washington today more bitterly partisan than it was when you were first lady, or has it always been like this and we just have a recency bias?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It has been increasingly partisan. It was 20 years ago, 30 years ago, you can go back in history and see certain constituencies represented in our Congress and our politics certainly squaring off against each other. But it’s become more so, and it’s also resulted in less productivity. You can be partisan, you can have a strong sense of the rightness of your position, but democracy and certainly legislative bodies require compromise. And you can’t let compromise become a dirty word because then you veer toward fanaticism.

I mean, we were just talking about extremists who think it’s only their way, they are the ones who have the truth, none of the rest of us have any kind of claim on what is real in their views. And so it’s important in our democracies – like Australia, like the United States – that yes, be passionate, be intense about your feelings, but at the end of the day you’ve got to serve the people who sent you there, and that requires compromise.

MS. SALES: I think at these events you are always asked a question that involves the year 2016, and so I’m not going to ask it because I think somebody else around the world will. So let’s start our criss-cross discussions around the world with the Middle East Broadcasting Corporation, which is based in Dubai. Presenter Muna AbuSulayman is standing by in Beirut.

Muna.

MS. ABUSULAYMAN: Hello, hi. I just wanted to tell you thank you for inviting us to this global town hall. We are very happy to be a part of this. We have a lot of Arab students in the studio in Beirut to ask Madam Secretary a few questions. But I want to actually start the ball rolling and ask the first question myself: Madame Secretary, what is your biggest unfulfilled mission in leaving the Department of State?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Muna, it’s wonderful to see you in Beirut and to have the students there with you. Obviously, I want to see peace in the Middle East and I want to see prosperity that includes all people, and I want to see women and girls given their rights and opportunities. So those are three of the pieces of unfinished business.

Now, as a Secretary of State, a diplomat, I know that a lot of the work that I have done is, by its very nature, complicated and difficult. So it’s not a surprise that some of these big issues would be unfinished. But what’s important is that we continue the work and that we build bridges across our world, across cultures and societies, so that we engage in moving toward a better world that will certainly give more opportunity, peace, and prosperity to the young people in your studio.

MS. ABUSULAYMAN: Well, thank you. We all know how much you’ve worked on linking women rights with human rights, so it is quite appreciated in our parts of the world, but I also have a few questions from the students. And the first question is from Haled.

QUESTION: Yes. Good afternoon, Madam Secretary. Haled Kaber from the Lebanese American University.

My question to you, Madam Secretary is: What is your opinion? The main obstacle these opposition-led demonstrations that are being held in the Arab world are facing, is it the lack of clear organization between its members and not having a unified, clear vision for the future of the country? Is it the involvement of international or regional actors, or maybe the actions that are practiced by the ruling regimes? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it probably is all three. I think you did an excellent summary of three factors that are involved, and let me quickly respond.

The Arab revolutions which have swept the region hold such great promise. But I don’t think that you go from a top-down society that often imposed oppressive regulations and punishments on people for expressing themselves to a democracy overnight. And so when you look at the trajectory, this will take some time, and there has to be a combination of persistence and patience, and I would hope that the opposition demonstrators are demonstrating because they want to participate in the political process, not to derail it. Part of our problem is that there are elements within the countries, certainly in North Africa, who don’t believe in democracy, who don’t believe in equal rights for women and men, who don’t believe that there can be cooperation among people who have different points of view. That has to be overcome.

Now, Lebanon, which has suffered for so many years, as you all know better than I, has this uneasy balance in your democracy, but so far it has sustained the stability of your country. So different countries will reach different conclusions about how to fashion and manage their democracy, but everyone should stand against those who wish to hijack it, whether they are internal or external, who believe that their extremist point of view should cancel out everyone else’s point of view, and really stand up and speak out and work toward what were the aspirations of the people, particularly the young people who stood up and said, “We want a better, different life.”

MS. ABUSULAYMAN: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Of course, extremism is something that we actually have to deal with a lot in the Middle East, and is something that needs to be negotiated quite delicately. And I think the second question from one of our students will lead to that.

QUESTION: Good afternoon. Ahmadin Mohaissen, American University of Beirut. I would like to ask you: With the recent reelection of Benjamin Netanyahu, the chances of peace are almost negligible. Out of your experience, what’s needed to achieve to the most comprehensive and long-lasting peace in the Middle East? What about the role of the USA? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I actually think that this election opens doors, not nails them shut. I think the outcome of the election in which a significant percentage of the Israeli electorate chose to express themselves by saying, “We need a different path than the one we have been pursuing internally and with respect to the Middle East peace process.” So I know that President Obama, my successor, soon-to-be Secretary of State John Kerry, will pursue this, will look for every possible opening.

I have been involved in, one way or another, working toward peace for more than 20 years, first with my husband, then as a senator, now as Secretary of State. And what rests at the core of the problem is great mistrust, great concern on both sides, because I also speak frequently with our Palestinian counterparts. And somehow, we have to look for ways to give the Palestinian people the pathway to peace, prosperity, and statehood that they deserve and give the Israeli people the security and stability that they seek. I think that still is possible, and I can assure you the United States under President Obama will continue to do everything we can to move the parties toward some resolution.

MS. SALES: We’re going to leave Beirut there for now, Muna and the people there. Thank you so much. I mentioned before that maybe we would have some technical issues, and as you could see with the audio there, we did indeed. And also, please just bear with the delay that you have when you’re traveling enormous distances like this.

Let’s go across the other side of the world now to NHK in Tokyo, Japan’s national public broadcaster, where the director of the international news division, Kenji Kohno, is ready with a question.

MR. KOHNO: Good evening from Tokyo. Madam Secretary, thank you very much for this opportunity to talk to you again. We have here a group of 10 Japanese college students, very good students, and let me turn this microphone to them. They have some questions. So who wants to ask the first question? Okay. Here you go.

QUESTION: Hello, Madam Secretary. I’m Yuki Kao coming from the University of Tokyo, so I would like to ask about the future of U.S.-Japan economic relationship. It is widely said that the U.S.-Japan relationship, especially in the field of economy, are becoming weaker and weaker. In my opinion, it is because a lot of Japanese companies are switching their focus onto the emerging markets in Asia.

So how can we reinforce or maintain the U.S.-Japan relationship? Could the Trans-Pacific Partnership be one of the solutions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m glad you mentioned that at the end of your question, because I certainly believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership holds great benefits for Japan’s economy. And it is true that the United States and Japan have both expanded economically on a broader scale, which of course is necessary because consumers in the middle class in many emerging democracies or emerging economies are now demanding more goods and services.

But I think the Japanese-U.S. relationship is a very secure one, and what we want is to look for new ways that we can work together on behalf of our common values and our hopes for the future. I highly appreciate the excellent working relationship that I’ve had over the last four years with my Japanese counterparts. But I think you’re right to point out that in today’s world, we have to be more creative, innovative, open and transparent about our economies, because Japan and the United States have comparative advantage. We’re high tech, we have highly educated workforces. In order to keep producing jobs and rising incomes, we have to be smart about how we use our economies. So I think the Trans-Pacific Partnership is one way that could really enhance our relationship.

MR. KOHNO: Madam Secretary, let me add my questions, which is on the possibly imminent nuclear test by North Korea. North Korea has still threatened to do this, but your spokesperson said that if they do, the U.S. would take very significant action. I wonder what this significant action means, and I wonder this – more – simply more sanctions would be enough to stop their provocations?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for that, because we, of course, share Japan’s concerns and the concerns of the entire region about what the new regime in North Korea is doing and threatening. And let me express my regret, because I think with a new young leader we all expected something different. We expected him to focus on improving the lives of the North Korean people, not just the elite, but everyone to have more education, more openness, more opportunity. And instead, he has engaged in very provocative rhetoric and behavior.

So we did go to the United Nations after the missile launch, and with very good work on behalf of our teams, we came up with additional and much tougher sanctions. But we’re going to have to work closely together to try to change the behavior of the North Korean regime. I’ve had long conversations with my Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Chinese counterparts, because this is a threat to all of us. And it is something that is so regrettable when young people the world over, including in North Korea, are getting better connected with the rest of the world, to remain as closed off and denied the opportunities they should have.

So it’s going to be a lengthy consultation. I don’t want to preview what the outcome might be in terms of actions that would have to be taken, because we still hope that there is a way to convince the North Korean regime not to pursue this path.

MR. KOHNO: Now, let me have a student to have the second question. Who wants to have the second question? Okay, you.

QUESTION: Good evening, Madam Secretary. I’m Yosuke Kawanebe from Tokyo University of Science. As mentioned, I think Japan and U.S. will need to have stronger relationships in the future. And I’m an entrepreneur, and I feel our generation is now taking over important positions in politics and businesses. So I want to ask your advice for younger people who want to become leaders, tomorrow’s leaders in the future.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m so happy you asked that question because I think that is something every young person should be considering, particularly in a democracy like Japan. There are many roads to leadership. You mentioned being interested in entrepreneurship. Those kinds of business investment opportunities are leadership ones – starting businesses, building businesses, creating employment. That has to go hand in hand with whatever the political leadership is able to do.

And I believe strongly that we need to open up all of our economies, knock down barriers to the participation of young people, of women. I think you can take any economy in the world, including mine and including yours, and see that there are still barriers to the dreams of young business leaders. And I hope that in the next few years, we will do more to open up our markets, open up credit, clear away the barriers so that a young man like yourself will have a chance to make a real contribution to your country’s economy.

MS. SALES: That’s where we’re going to leave Tokyo; wonderful to see that enthusiasm there with the hands. We might take a Facebook question that we received, Secretary Clinton. It was received in Farsi from Rasoul Ali Asgari.

It said: I’m glad she – meaning you – has regained her health. My only question is if you have issues with the Government of Iran, why destroy the people with the current sanctions in place? It’s very difficult to find medicine in Iran. Where is your sense of humanity?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say on the medicine and on food and other necessities, there are no sanctions. And what we have tried to do, and in fact, I have approved the sending of medicines to Iran for exactly the purpose that is pointed out. We do not want the people of Iran to suffer and certainly to be deprived of necessary medicines. But this is a dilemma for us, and for the entire world, because when I say “us,” I’m not talking only about the United States. But if you look at the United Nations sanctions, the European Union sanctions, across the globe, people are very worried about what the Iranian Government’s actions and intentions are.

We know that there is a lot of support for terrorism by the Iranian Government. We know they send out agents and proxies across the world to do bombings and assassinations. That’s deeply troubling. And we also know that their pursuit of a nuclear weapon would be incredibly dangerous to Iran, to the region and the world.

So we have tried diplomatic outreach. President Obama came into office saying that he wanted to engage in diplomacy with Iran to see if there were a way to end their nuclear weapons program. And we hope that that will still be possible. And we think the people of Iran, in their upcoming election, have the opportunity to send a very clear message. Iranian people are educated, intelligent, historically significant; they deserve to have a government that integrates them into the world, not isolates from the world. So we hope that the Iranian people will speak out and make known their views to their own government.

MS. SALES: Secretary Clinton, let’s see if we can go now to Bogota, in Colombia, to journalist Andrea Bernal. She interviewed you in 2010 in Ecuador, and she’s at NTN24, which is a 24-hour news channel based in South America.

Andrea.

We’ll just wait for the audio to come up on that. Hopefully we can get it. No, we might just see if we can go somewhere else while we wait for that to come up. Let’s go for a Twitter question, Secretary Clinton. We have one here from @ManxNige, Nigel Walker to the State Department: “Can you tell me why the USA didn’t engage with the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza?”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, because we believe, and there’s unfortunately a lot of evidence to support this, that Hamas is not interested in democracy, not interested in political participation and pursuits, but instead is largely still a military resistance group. And we’ve made it very clear that if Hamas renounces violence, if they morph themselves into a political entity the way that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority have, from the origins in the PLO. If they accept the previous commitments by the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, there’s a place for them at the table. And it would be my great hope that they would do that.

MS. SALES: We’ve had an email question that’s come in from the Antarctic.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, the Antarctic. (Laughter.)

MS. SALES: We’re going everywhere in this discussion —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, my goodness.

MS. SALES: — all around the world. From Marcelo Leppe, a Chilean scientist, he wants to ask if your government has defined any position about the future of the mineral resources in Antarctica.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Excellent question, and hello to everybody in Antarctica. It’s the one continent I haven’t been to so I’m very jealous that you’re down there. (Laughter.) We are working on that. We want the same kind of international agreements and enforcement that has preserved the Antarctic as an international treasure and resource for research and scientific experimentation. I think it’s an important question to raise. I thank you for doing so. I hope that we’ll make progress in order to protect the treasure of the Antarctic that belongs to all of us.

MS. SALES: Let’s have one more Twitter question. It’s from @OliverSB022: “Which former Secretary of State does Hillary Clinton most admire and why?”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, well, if I say any of my recent successors, I will lose friends, which I don’t want to do. (Laughter.) But I will say that one of the people who I especially admire and am identifying with is Secretary Seward, who was President Lincoln’s Secretary of State. And he was from New York. He was a very successful politician from New York when he became Secretary of State. He had run against President Lincoln – (laughter) – so there’s a little bit of parallel here in the whole team-of-rivals concept. And if anyone has seen the Steven Spielberg movie, “Lincoln,” you see Secretary Seward by Lincoln’s side the whole time, advising and supporting him. And in fact, the night that President Lincoln was assassinated, the conspirators broke into his house and tried to kill him. So I don’t want that to happen to anybody – (laughter ) – but I like his willingness to work with President Lincoln, he made a real difference during our civil war, and I admire him greatly.

MS. SALES: We will try to go to Colombia again shortly, we’re just having some technical issues getting that up. So instead let’s swing over to London, to the BBC, where Ros Atkins is waiting. He’s the presenter of the BBC World Service program “World Have Your Say.” Ros, tells us who’s with you there.

MR. ATKINS: Leigh, hi. And, Secretary Clinton, you’re very welcome to the BBC’s new home here in London. I’ve got five guests; they come from Britain, Greece, Germany and Italy. And our first question is from Carolina.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, my name is Carolina. I come from Turin, in Italy. And I wanted to ask you, what do you think is the most powerful diplomatic tool? Do you think that it’s more economic preponderance or legitimacy in international status, or perhaps just access to the media? And would you have given me the same answer four years ago?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a great question. I think all three are different and they are used differently at different times. Certainly one of my responsibilities, when I became Secretary of State, was to restore American leadership in the world. It had been somewhat damaged and we needed to get out there and reach out to people, demonstrate our willingness to be everywhere in the world, working with people who shared our values and our aspirations, solving crises, doing what we could to deal with many of the underlying problems.

It’s also very important, however, to focus on technology and communication because four years ago, that was not part of diplomacy. We have brought a lot of the tools of modern technology – social media – into the State Department. In fact, we’re using them now with Twitter and Facebook. Because there needs to be a two-way conversation. It’s no longer governments just talking at people, whether it’s talking at other leaders or talking at populations. There has to be a dialogue and people are hungry for that, young people in particular. They deserve to have their views heard and acted on as we shape the world for the future. So these are the kinds of considerations that we are constantly balancing, and we need to do a better job, frankly, at those tools you mentioned and others that have to be deployed.

MR. ATKINS: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much for answering Carolina’s question. We certainly appreciate the chance to connect BBC viewers and listeners with you today. Our next question comes from Octavia, who’s from Germany.

QUESTION: Good morning, Madam Secretary. My name is Octavia. I’m from Frankfurt, in Germany.

My question is the following: The Obama Administration has stressed its intentions to reset and improve its relationship with Russia. So far, however, it seems like this project has failed, if we think, for example, of recent disputes over Russia’s stance towards the Assad regime in Syria, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the Magnitsky bill. In your opinion, do the United States need Europe as an intermediary in order to achieve a relationship of mutual trust and cooperation with Russia one day?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, another excellent question. I think it’s not either/or. The United States has a very important bilateral relationship with Russia. During the last four years, we got a new nuclear weapons agreement to decrease our stockpiles, we worked together to enhance our efforts in Afghanistan, we had a bilateral commission that didn’t draw headlines but produced results in many areas of mutual interest and concern.

But it’s also important that we work with Europe and that Europe also work to make sure that we try to shape and create a positive relationship with Russia. And I will admit it is challenging right now. Russia ended all of our aid programs where we were working on ending tuberculosis, helping abused children, and so much else.

So it’s going to have to be a mutual effort, Europe and the United States both bilaterally and together, working to try to persuade Russia and particularly Russian leadership that they should become more integrated into and connected with Europe and the West. That’s where the future lies, and we hope that the next few years will be more successful doing that.

MR. ATKINS: (Inaudible) Octavia’s question, and I should mention that before this program began, we all sat around discussing the kind of questions everyone here would like to ask you, and one came up a number of times. Sahara is a British Pakistanian; you were suggesting this one.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, my name is Sahara Sawar. I’m from Dubai, but a British Pakistani. My biggest question to you was: Firstly, are you planning on writing your memoirs already? And if you are following in the footsteps of Madeleine Albright in hers, where she said that her lasting regret was what happened in Rwanda, what would you say was your lasting regret?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, certainly, the loss of American lives in Benghazi was something that I deeply regret and am working hard to make sure we do everything we can to prevent.

When you do these jobs, you have to understand at the very beginning that you can’t control everything. There are terrible situations right now being played out in the Congo, Syria, where we all wish that there were clear paths that we could follow together in the international community to try to resolve. So every day is a mixture of trying to end crises, help people be smart about using the tools of American diplomacy and development to join in with others who are facing similar crises as we are.

But I take away far more positive memories. And yes, I will write a memoir. I don’t know what I’ll say in it yet, but – (laughter) – I’ll have a chance to go into greater detail on this and other matters.

MS. SALES: That’s where we’ll leave London, and we will pick up instead in New Delhi, to NDTV, which is one of India’s top broadcasters, and presenter Barkha Dutt, India’s top female journalist and news anchor, who did one of these events with you, Secretary Clinton, last year.

Barkha, are you there with us?

MS. DUTT: I absolutely am. And Secretary Clinton, good evening from India. It’s an absolute pleasure to be talking with you again. We all remember that wonderful town hall with you in Kolkata on your last trip here to India. I have here with me a bunch of very bright young students all itching to ask you a question.

But before I take my microphone to the students, just by way of comment, Secretary Clinton, I know despite all your denials, all of us are waiting to see you back in political action in 2016 as possibly – (laughter) – the United States’ first woman president. So I’m not saying that as a question. I’m just observing that we think – (laughter) – that might happen. Great to have you on the show, Secretary.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good to see you again. Thank you so much.

MS. DUTT: I notice that you didn’t answer that. I’ll try get a little more out of you as this program goes along.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) That’s why you’re such a good journalist, Barkha.

MS. DUTT: We have a lot of people here – (laughter) – thank you. And I will probe that a little further, but I’m going to hand over the mike to a young boy on my right who has a question for you, Secretary Clinton.

QUESTION: Thank you. Good evening, ma’am. My question concerns the recent Richard Headley case and the sentence that was handed out.

MS. DUTT: David Headley.

QUESTION: Sorry, David Headley case and the sentence that was handed out to him. Given that he’s pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the 26/11 attacks, why is America so hesitant to extradite him to India?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is not directly under my jurisdiction, but I will say this: There was intensive amount of investigation and interrogation of him by Indian authorities as well as American authorities. A lot of useful information was obtained, and I think that this sentence represents both the punishment that he richly deserves for his participation, but also a recognition of the role that he has played and is expected to continue to play in supporting Indian and American efforts to prevent the kind of horrific attack that occurred in Mumbai.

MS. DUTT: Secretary Clinton, if I can just pick up on that question by this young boy here, I know that when we were doing the town hall in Kolkata, you assured Indians that it was you who had cleared the $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed’s head, who, as you know, is a key architect of the Lashkar-e Tayyiba, the terrorist group. You also spoke about al-Zawahiri being in Pakistan according to your information.

I know a lot of people in India want to hear from you tonight. When you look back at your term, are you satisfied with the success that you were able to achieve in bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice? Or are you left with a sense of regret? Are you left with a sense that more could have been done, and somehow you didn’t have enough time or weren’t able to put enough pressure on Pakistan to get it done?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Barkha, I think it is unfinished business that we are not in any way walking away from. I’m leaving office, but I can assure you and the Indian people this remains one of our very highest priorities.

We were successful in capturing and eliminating a number of the most dangerous terrorists who have safe haven inside Pakistan. We have continued to press the Pakistani Government, because of course the terrorists inside Pakistan are first and foremost an ongoing threat to the stability of Pakistan, and they need to deal with it because of that, as well as the implications for India, Afghanistan, the United States, and elsewhere.

I also think that the efforts that both Prime Minister Singh and President Zardari in Pakistan have made to improve communication, business, trade, commerce between India and Pakistan helps to create a more receptive environment for dealing with these serious threats. So of course, I’m not satisfied. As I told you in Kolkata, I believe going after terrorism is an obligation of every country, everywhere, every sensible person. We can have disagreements, but they cannot be in any way using violence or condoning the use of violence.

So we’re not giving up. We are on this job literally every single day. And we’ve improved our information sharing, our law enforcement cooperation with India, and I think that will pay dividends in years to come.

MS. DUTT: We’re testing (inaudible).

MS. SALES: Just lost audio to Barkha there. Let’s see if we can get that back up because it would be great to hear one more question from India if we can.

MS. DUTT: As you must know, we’ve been seeing street protests by young students here related to the horrific gang rape that took place in Delhi recently, and gender rights are really on the top of public consciousness here in India. So, a question from this young boy here.

QUESTION: So my question to you is this: Why is it that women in politics, even in supposedly progressive societies like the United States, have to conform to masculinist and privileged constructions of a statesman in the public sphere? And I must ask you, how difficult is it for a woman politician to access political space that is heavily gendered and that dictates how a woman leader has to behave and conduct herself?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) That could be a topic for a whole show because it’s a profound question, but let me make two brief points. First, although it is better than it was, having been in and around politics for many years now, there is still a double standard. And it is a double standard that exists from the trivial, like what you wear, to the incredibly serious, like women can’t vote, women can’t run for office, women are not supposed to be in the public sphere. But there is a spectrum of the double standard, and of the both legal and cultural barriers to respect for women, for the full participation of women.

So we do have a ways to go, and even in democracies. And a democracy like yours, unlike mine, that’s had a woman leader and has a woman at the head of the current governing party where women have achieved a lot of political success, there is still a tremendous amount of discrimination and just outright abuse of women, particularly uneducated women, women who can’t stand up for themselves, but clearly, even as we saw in the terrible gang rape, a woman trying to better herself, go to school.

Secondly, this has been the cause of my life and will continue to be as I leave the Secretary of State’s office, because we are hurting ourselves. The young woman who essentially was raped and then died of her terrible injuries, who knows what she could have contributed to India’s future? When you put barriers in the way of half the population, you, in effect, are putting brakes on your own development as a nation.

And there is more than adequate research to prove this, but just in a personal, everyday life example, I’m looking at one of the leading journalists in the world, certainly one of the leading journalists in India, Barkha. She brings to her job her experiences that are then infusing the coverage that she provides. And if you lose that kind of perspective, you are really doing a disservice to your society. So I personally was very encouraged and even proud to see young men and young women out in the streets protesting the way that young women are treated by men who do not understand or have never been taught to accept that it’s not just their sisters and their mothers that they should respect, but all girls and women. So I’m looking for big changes in India in the years to come.

MS. SALES: Thank you, Secretary Clinton, and thank you Barkha and our friends in India. Now, I can already tell you, we’re probably going to have some technical issues with this but we would really like to try to go to Lagos in Nigeria. So let’s give it a go. We have some people there at Channels Television, and news presenter Maupe Ogun is waiting with some young people.

Maupe, can you hear us?

MS. OGUN: Yes, I can, loudly, too. Well, it’s a pleasure to be here, and I’m joined by a group of people who have warned me not to call them young boys or girls. (Laughter.) They’re all young professionals and we’re absolutely delighted to be a part of this conversation. Well, Madam Secretary, I’m going to take my first question, and it’s from in-house. We’re asking that, in 2009, when President Obama did visit Ghana, he said that what Africa needed was strong institutions, not strongmen, something that you’ve also echoed as well. Can you uphold any models in Africa where you can say that they’re making progress in building strong institutions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, and in fact, both politically and economically, I see progress happening in Africa. I don’t want to overstate it because some places are more stable, but let me give you just an example or two. When the President of Malawi recently died, the Vice President – now President Banda – was in line to become President. But there was an immediate reaction by some in the government and some in society who said, we can’t have a woman president, or we don’t agree with her politics. But thankfully, the people of Malawi said, no, we have a constitution, we want the rule of law, we want Joyce Banda to be the President since she is in line to be President. That was a big move, and it was very important, and we obviously supported it.

When you look at the reelection of President Sirleaf in Liberia – tough job, post-conflict society, but peaceful transition despite a hard-fought election. The recent election in Ghana, another example where President Atta had passed away, his Vice President came into office, but he still had to go through an election. So when you look through the countries in Africa, you can see democratic institutions getting stronger and you can see economies getting stronger. Now, you are sitting in one of the most important countries in Africa – I would say in the world. It really matters how well the next election in Nigeria goes, whether it’s free and fair and transparent. It really matters whether the endemic corruption is finally pursued so that everybody in Nigeria feels that they’re not going to be left out.

So I think there is work being done and challenges ahead, but I see positive steps that I want to recognize.

MS. OGUN: Well, we’ll take the next question now. Chude would like to ask the next question.

QUESTION: Right. Hello, Madam Secretary. Congratulations on the spectacular run and we’re looking forward to the next one in 2016. But moving on quickly, when you look at the things that have happened in – I mean, some the crises in Mali or South Sudan or Benghazi, Libya, some people have said that the U.S. has led from behind mostly, and perhaps that’s a mistake in some of these cases. What would you say is the biggest mistake? I (inaudible) even though you’ve had the June 2012 review. What would you say is the biggest mistake that you – that has happened over the past few years, and how will the incoming Secretary of State be able to work on those issues moving forward after you’re gone?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me clarify that I think what President Obama and I have tried to do is to build international coalitions to address serious crises. We believe that, of course, the United States remains the paramount military and economic power in the world, but the future we want to see are more nations taking responsibility and playing a role. And I think that is visionary leadership. I think it is looking over the horizon and recognizing that in Africa, for example, what we hope to see are key countries, anchor countries like Nigeria, dealing with your own internal challenges, but also playing a role externally in order to help keep and create peace.

We just had a quite successful outcome in Somalia. Still a long way to go for Somalia, but thanks to African troops – from Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya – trained and funded by the United States along with others, they were able to push al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida affiliate, out of key cities and territory in Somalia, and then we were able to have an election. So we now have an elected government for the first time in many decades, and we want to support that. Because one thing that President Obama and I believe is that ultimately what happens inside a country is up to the people of that country; they are the ones who have to stand up against oppression, corruption, the kind of poor governance that holds countries back. The United States wants to be your partner. We want to help you economically and in other ways. But we want to create the conditions where more countries can achieve the kind of outcomes that will benefit them.

So it’s a different model than what we had in the prior Administration to the Obama Administration. But we believe strongly in supporting reform in Burma, for example, where I was privileged to go to make a statement and then accompany President Obama back there, to helping Mali fend off these extremists who are trying to disrupt and destabilize the country. But we want other people to step up and learn more about what they are capable of doing themselves.

MS. SALES: Okay, we’re going to leave Nigeria there and we will take another Twitter question, Secretary Clinton. This one was received via Sina Weibo, which is the Chinese sort of micro-blogging network, like Twitter. It’s from somebody named “Terracotta Warriors on Horseback.” (Laughter.) The question is: “Do you not think that competition between the United States and China in Asia will not lead to both sides losing?”

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t. I think healthy competition is part of development, human nature. I don’t see any problem with healthy competition as long as it is rules-based. Healthy competition requires that everybody know what the rules are, and then you go out and compete, whether it’s on the sporting field or in the economic or political arena.

My hope – and I have written about this, I’ve spoken about it – is that the United States and China will together defy history. Historically, a rising power and a predominant power have had clashes, whether they were economic or military. Neither of us want to see that happen. We want to see a rising power like China join the international community as a responsible stakeholder, continue its extraordinary efforts to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, create a strong, vital middle class, have respectful relations with its neighbors in all of the ways on land and sea that that is required.

And the United States wants to deepen and broaden our engagement with China. I helped to put together the strategic and economic dialogues, which we then used to discuss everything, from border security to food safety to cyber matters. And we want to continue that, because we believe strongly that the world is big enough for a lot of nations to be important players, and that is certainly true of China, and we want to see the kind of cooperative, comprehensive, positive relationship that I worked for.

MS. SALES: We’re still desperately hoping we can get up the Bogota satellite, but in the meantime we’ll take one quick question again from London once more. So Ros, are you standing by there?

MR. ATKINS: I am. Hello, Leigh. Secretary Clinton, our next question comes from Elisa, who’s German. It’s as much a plea as a question, I think.

QUESTION: Yes, very much. Dear Madam Secretary, I’m Elisa from Germany, and just before the show, we’ve been talking about how we would really like you to run for president. And we were wondering when you’re going to make a decision on this really important question, and we believe that would be a really important symbol for women essentially all over the world. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am not thinking about anything like that right now. I am looking forward to finishing up my tenure as Secretary of State and then catching up on about 20 years of sleep deprivation. (Laughter.)

In fact, you say you’re from Germany. I spoke this morning to your chancellor, Chancellor Merkel, and someone I have admired and watched over a number of years. I do want to see more women compete for the highest positions in their countries, and I will do what I can, whether or not it is up to me to make a decision on my own future. I right now am not inclined to do that, but I will do everything I can to make sure that women compete at the highest levels not only in the United States, but around the world, because I take seriously your question, and I think it’s not only for young women; it’s for young men, it’s for our future.

We have to break down these attitudes that kind of pigeonhole and stereotype people. Like what does a leader look like; well, a leader looks like somebody who’s a man. And in so many ways around the world today, sitting here with a journalist from Australia, which has a woman prime minister, women are subjecting themselves to the political process, which is never easy anywhere, and I want to see more of that. You have to have a thick skin. I will tell you that. But it’s really important that women are out there competing at the highest levels of government and business not only to demonstrate the capacity and quality of women’s leadership, but also to take advantage of the talents of every person we have.

MS. SALES: All right. Let’s see if we can get lucky now with Bogota, and journalist Andrea Bernal hopefully is able to speak to us this time. Andrea, are you there?

MS. BERNAL: Leigh, how are you? I’m here. Thanks again for giving us the entrance. Good morning, Mrs. Secretary Hillary Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning.

MS. BERNAL: Thanks for being here with us at NTN24, the international news network for the Hispanic audience. We had the chance to have a conversation back three years ago in Quito, Ecuador. Thanks for being again with us here.

I would want to start with a question. Barack Obama’s government and you as a Secretary of head – State have led an international policy acknowledging the fact that the United States is not the only powerful nation in the world, recognizing the relevant roles of other countries in the world’s order, and considering dialogue as the right path. However, Latin America does not seem still to be a high priority for the United States. If it were in your decision, in your hands, how could the United States build a closer, more productive relationship with Latin America?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want to say very clearly that Latin America has been a very high priority. I have spent a lot of time, as you know when I saw you in Ecuador, traveling throughout Latin America. We want to build on a couple of very important initiatives that the United States is partnering on.

One is energy. We are working hard to help bring greater access to affordable energy to all of Latin America. In fact, we’re working very closely with Colombia to do that, to come down from Mexico all the way down through Chile as well as in the Caribbean. We are working on climate change together, because a lot of the Latin American countries are quite advanced in using alternative forms of energy. We’re working on security now, particularly in Central America. The United States, Mexico, and Colombia are working to help our neighbors in Central America. We’re working on expanding education. I want to see many more students from Latin America coming to the United States and more students from the United States coming to Latin America. We’re working on technology transfers. So there’s a long list of what we’re working on.

But I must say, in part because Latin America is doing so well, your countries are resolving old problems and making progress democratically and economically. A lot of the conflict that was present decades ago has been resolved, and so it’s not a relationship that’s in the headlines all the time, because it’s so positive. We spend time working together. We don’t have to worry about threats to democracy, to security that have unfortunately found their way around the world. So I think we have a very close working relationship. I want it to be even closer. I’m working with President Obama for some second term initiatives that I think will be more headline comprehensive initiatives so that everybody knows how much we value our relationships with our closest neighbors.

MS. SALES: We’ve unfortunately lost —

MS. BERNAL: (Inaudible) a business management student at the University of Tolima in Colombia.

MS. SALES: Andrea, can you repeat that, please? Here we go.

QUESTION: Hi, Ms. Clinton. Well, it’s a pleasure to have you here. And since we have you here, I would like to ask you about democracy. Okay. Latin America, it’s currently experiencing an economic breakthrough that has helped most country in the region reduce poverty. However, it is not clear if this economic progress has actually strengthened our democracies.

So now with that in mind, the question would be: How do you evaluate the diverse democracies in our region, and how do you see our future?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think I see a lot of progress, but still work that needs to be done. If you look at Colombia, you are not the country you were 15 years ago. You have consolidated democracy. You – I know President Santos is attempting to try to negotiate a peace agreement so that people will turn away from violence and participate politically. In Mexico, we see great economic growth but also a very vibrant political system in the last election. In Brazil, similarly, we see the same kind of trends. There are others that you can point to.

But there are some outliers. Unfortunately, we still have a dictatorship in Cuba, which we hope will change soon. We have democratic challenges in other countries in Latin America. But overall, I think that progress has been made and you have to stay the course. It doesn’t happen quickly, but there is great reason to be quite optimistic about the institutionalization of democracy throughout Latin America.

MS. BERNAL: And we have a last question, Mrs. Secretary, thanks for your time, from Ana Maria Rodriguez. She’s a journalist and a student here in our studio. Ana Maria.

QUESTION: Ms. Clinton, good morning. I am Ana Maria Rodriguez. I’m a journalism student. I want to know, today, President Barack Obama will talk about immigration in Vegas. This is a very important (inaudible). And I want to know exactly, all of those immigrants at U.S., what can they expect from this speech from President Barack Obama?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they can expect that the President will put specifics behind his commitment to provide a path to citizenship for the immigrants who are here undocumented in the United States. And I was very pleased that even before the President’s speech, we had a bipartisan group of senators come out with a plan that would accomplish the same goal. So the President is very committed. We have leaders in our Congress who are very committed. And we’re going to do everything we can finally to achieve immigration reform.

MS. SALES: And that is where we’re going to leave Colombia. We have one final request today, Secretary, and we’re going to go to Australia via Skype to hear from two very serious, experienced foreign policy experts – people I know you rely on – your old mates, Hamish and Andy. (Laughter.) For those of you in the audience who don’t know, they’re Australian comedians. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, hello. Welcome.

SECRETARY CLINTON: These guys are hilarious.

QUESTION: Hamish and Andy here. It was an honor to interview you a couple of years ago. Here we are at Government House.

QUESTION: Yeah, this is it.

QUESTION: The Royal Palace here in Australia. It’s wonderful. We’re out in the back, so it’s not as fancy as it is from out in the front. But we just wanted to say, first of all, congratulations on a wonderful term as Secretary of State, and it was amazing having you out here. Certainly a career highlight for us to get to meet you. So many Australians took a lot away from your trip, Madam Secretary. We were just wondering, what was the best thing you took away from Australia?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, clearly my interview with you two.

MS. SALES: Oh, excuse me. (Laughter.) Excuse me. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible) a lot of people will accuse us of having scripted this. (Laughter.) But thank you. Obviously, someone is saying that to you in your ear.

QUESTION: We were hoping it might have been the gravy chips that we gave you, but that was part of the interview, so that’s fine. We must stress, do not eat them under any circumstances. They’re well past their use-by date.

QUESTION: They’re still poisonous.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, obviously a lot of the good questions that we had were taken earlier tonight by some of the wonderful participants around the world, but luckily we still have a few. I have a friend, and I know obviously as you’re stepping back from the Secretary of State position, I have a friend who is about 31. He’s a cute-looking brunette.

QUESTION: Just a friend.

QUESTION: He’s very good, he’s been to university. He did two degrees; he graduated from one, so that’s quite good. (Laughter.) What qualifications – let’s just say John Kerry, something comes up, he can’t do the job, he can’t be the next Secretary of State. What qualifications could I tell my friend he should put on his CV if he wants to become the Secretary of State of the United States?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think his educational background is important – the fact that he finished one degree out of two, that gives him a 50 percent record. (Laughter.) Better than most baseball players or other professional athletes. I think his good looks, that’s important. Yeah, because you’re going to be given a lot of TV time. I know you guys are radio guys, but it’s good that he doesn’t have just a face for radio. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Nothing (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: I guess, thirdly, broad travel, willingness to meet other people, listen to them, as you —

QUESTION: He loves petting zoos.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — have a lot of experience from interviewing. I would drop the gravy chips. I think the gravy chips would be misunderstood in diplomatic settings, especially since I sent them to a lab to be analyzed and you don’t want to know what’s in them. (Laughter.) So – but I think he’s got a good start here.

QUESTION: Unfortunately, gravy chips are the center of our policy, so I guess we’re (inaudible). (Laughter.) But you did say politics is about compromise, so I’m sure we could find a way there. Probably the big question on everyone’s lips is when you step back from being Secretary of State —

QUESTION: Well, she won’t be having to be called Madam Secretary.

QUESTION: You’re no longer Madam Secretary.

QUESTION: No.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.

QUESTION: I think on behalf of all the global citizens joining in the town hall meeting tonight, which of these three names would you like to adopt? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We spent three or four months on this.

QUESTION: The Incredible Hillary, the Artist Formerly Known as the Secretary – (laughter), or just Hill Clinton – but it does sound a bit like your husband.

QUESTION: Like Bill, yeah.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, I think we’re going to have to work on that list. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: None. Okay.

QUESTION: None. (Laughter.) We will need another four or five months then to come back with another three at least. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We’re going to sack it. We’re here at Government House so we can sack some of our advisors right now. (Laughter.) Junk.

QUESTION: We understand that you’ve been trying to cross to every single continent today at the town hall meeting. You haven’t got down to Antarctica. There’s one email – we’ve got a recent telegram that’s just come in here.

QUESTION: Yes, because we’re closest to Antarctica, our signals are a little bit better from them. Just a little telegram from Antarctica. I think it’s very important, obviously, that we recognize the frozen continent.

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: It says, “Dear Madam Secretary – stop. Alien spaceship reactivated – stop. Help – stop. Send” – and then that’s it.

QUESTION: That’s it. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: So what should we write back to our stricken comrades in Antarctica? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s quite distressing. I think, as your first diplomatic mission, you may have to go to Antarctica and find evidence about what happened. The person sending that to you clearly is counting on you. (Laughter.) We will be happy to provide satellite support. I don’t know how fast you can get there, and you’re going to need different clothes than the ones you have on. But I think you need to follow through on this. You guys need to go to Antarctica and broadcast from Antarctica what you find.

QUESTION: That’s nice. Can we have a —

QUESTION: That’s so late here, it’s 2:30, and these are such cheap suits. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We’ll have a swell, and then we’ll get right on. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We’re going to have the first (inaudible) for having that comment. (Laughter.) Thank you. Amazing advice. This is why – we always say this. This is why you’re the Secretary of State, and we are not. (Laughter.)

MS. SALES: That’s exactly why.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Bye. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Thanks. Congratulations.

MS. SALES: I hope everyone around the world gets them.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, Leigh, I meant radio interview. Yes, great.

MS. SALES: Well, thank you. Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. (Laughter.) I think Andy is unfortunately out of luck because while we have been talking, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has confirmed John Kerry as Secretary of State.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good. Excellent. Well, that’s good news. (Applause.)

MS. SALES: Have they hit you up for John Kerry’s number yet?

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) No, but they will.

MS. SALES: They will.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Don’t you think?

MS. SALES: They will. They absolutely will. To wrap it up, let me just ask you one question. As you prepare to hand over to John Kerry, what would you like to see American diplomacy focused on?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think we have a choice. We have to deal with the immediate crises that come across our desk every day. We have to work on the longer-term challenges like security in North Africa. And we have to deal with what I call the trend lines, not the headlines. So continuing to use technology, women and girls, climate change, alternative energy – the kind of big projects that will have a tremendous impact on what kind of world we have. And there will be two alternative visions. If we don’t deal with climate change, food security, energy access that is sustainable, we could have increasing conflict over resources, for example. That’s not in the headlines today, but in ten years, it could be.

So when I think about the sort of buckets of responsibilities I have, very often what first comes across my desk is an attack here, a terrorist threat there, the immediate crises. And then I also am constantly asking for what are we – what do we do to get ahead of the crises, and then thirdly, what do we do that is not in those two buckets, but instead helps us shape the kind of world that these young people deserve to have.

MS. SALES: Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for making time in your schedule all throughout your term as Secretary of State to speak directly to people all around the world. And all the very best for the next leg of your journey. Thank you so much. Please thank Hillary Clinton. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, Leigh, thank you so much. You were masterful.

MS. SALES: Oh, thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Just masterful. Have you ever done anything like that, with satellites?

MS. SALES: I have done a few things.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That was really good. Thank you all.

MS. SALES: Thank you. And wherever you are in the world, thank you for your company. Goodbye.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all. (Applause.)

Full Text Obama Presidency January 29, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Immigration Reform — Transcript

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama’s Four Part Plan for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Source: WH, 1-29-13

President Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Jan. 29, 2013

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Jan. 29, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Watch this video on YouTube

For more information:

Full Transcript of President Obama’s Remarks on Immigration Reform

Source: NYT, 1-29-13

The following is the complete transcript of President Obama’s remarks on immigration on Tuesday in Las Vegas. (Transcript courtesy of Federal News Service.)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you.

Well, it is good to be back in Las Vegas. (Cheers, applause.) And it is good to be among so many good friends. Let — let me start off by thanking everybody at Del Sol High School for hosting us. (Cheers, applause.) Go, Dragons! Let me especially thank your outstanding principal, Lisa Primas. (Cheers, applause.)

There are all kinds of notable guests here, but I just want to mention a few. First of all, our outstanding secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano is here. (Cheers, applause.) Our wonderful secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar. (Cheers, applause.) Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. (Cheers, applause.) Two of the outstanding members of the congressional delegation from Nevada, Steve Horsford and Dina Titus. (Cheers, applause.) Your own mayor, Carolyn Goodman. (Cheers, applause.)

But we also have some mayors that flew in because they know how important the issue we’re going to talk about today is, Marie Lopez Rogers from Avondale, Arizona — (cheers, applause) — Kasim Reed from Atlanta, Georgia — (cheers, applause) — Greg Stanton from Phoenix, Arizona (cheers, applause) — and Ashley Swearengin from Fresno, California.

(Cheers, applause.)

And all of you are here — (cheers) — as well as some of the top labor leaders in the country, and we are just so grateful. Some outstanding business leaders are here as well. And of course we got wonderful students here. (Sustained cheers, applause.) So I could not be prouder of our students.

Now, those of you who have a seat, feel free to take a seat. I don’t mind. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, (Obama ?)!

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I love you back! (Cheers.)

Now, last week — last week I had the honor of being sworn in for a second term as president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) And during my inaugural address, I talked about how making progress on the defining challenges of our time doesn’t require us to settle every debate or ignore every difference that we may have. But it does require us to find common ground and move forward in common purpose. It requires us to act.

And I know that some issues will be harder to lift than others. Some debates will be more contentious. That’s to be expected.

But the reason I came here today is because of a challenge where the differences are dwindling, where a broad consensus is emerging and where a call for action can now be heard coming from all across America.

I’m here today because the time has come for common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform — (cheers, applause) — (inaudible). Now’s the time. Now’s the time. (Cheers, applause.) Now’s the time. (Chanting.) Now’s the time.

I’m here because — I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Right!

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity. Now’s the time to do this so we can strengthen our economy and strengthen our country’s future.

Think about it. We define ourselves as a nation of immigrants. That’s who we are, in our bones. The promise we see in those who come here from every corner of the globe, that’s always been one of our greatest strengths. It keeps our workforce young, it keeps our country on the cutting edge, and it’s helped build the greatest economic engine the world has ever known.

After all, immigrants helped start businesses like Google and Yahoo. They created entire new industries that in turn created new jobs and new prosperity for our citizens.

In recent years 1 in 4 high-tech startups in America were founded by immigrants. One in 4 new small-business owners were immigrants, including right here in Nevada, folks who came here seeking opportunity and now want to share that opportunity with other Americans.

But we all know that today we have an immigration system that’s out of date and badly broken; a system that’s holding us back instead of helping us grow our economy and strengthen our middle class.

Right now we have 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, 11 million men and women from all over the world who live their lives in the shadows. Yes, they broke the rules. They crossed the border illegally. Maybe they overstayed their visas. Those are the facts. Nobody disputes them.

But these 11 million men and women are now here. Many of them have been here for years. And the overwhelming majority of these individuals aren’t looking for any trouble. They’re contributing members of the community. They’re looking out for their families. They’re looking out for their neighbors. They’re woven into the fabric of our lives.

Every day, like the rest of us, they go out and try to earn a living. Often they do that in the shadow economy, a place where employers may offer them less than the minimum wage or make them work overtime without extra pay. And when that happens, it’s not just bad for them, it’s bad for the entire economy, because all the businesses that are trying to do the right thing, that are hiring people legally, paying a decent wage, following the rules — they’re the ones who suffer.

They’ve got to compete against companies that are breaking the rules. And the wages and working conditions of American workers are threatened too.

So if we’re truly committed to strengthening our middle class and providing more ladders of opportunity to those who are willing to work hard to make it in the middle class, we’ve got to fix the system. We have to make sure that every business and every worker in America is playing by the same set of rules. We have to bring this shadow economy into the light so that everybody is held accountable, businesses for who they hire and immigrants for getting on the right side of the law. That’s common sense, and that’s why we need comprehensive immigration reform.

And — (cheers, applause) — now, there’s another economic reason why we need reform. It’s not just about the folks who come here illegally and have the effect they have on our economy; it’s also about the folks who try to come here legally but have a hard time doing so and the effect that has on our economy. Right now there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities. They’re earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science. But once they finish school, once they earn that diploma, there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country.

Now, think about that. Intel was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Instagram was started with the help of an immigrant who studied here and then stayed here. Right now in one of those classrooms, there’s a student wrestling with how to turn their big idea, their Intel or Instagram, into a big business.

We’re giving them all the skills they need to figure that out, but then we’re going to turn around and tell them to start that business and create those jobs in China or India or Mexico or someplace else. That’s not how you grow new industries in America. That’s how you give new industries to our competitors. That’s why we need comprehensive immigration reform.

Now — (cheers, applause) — now, during my first term, we took steps to try and patch up some of the worst cracks in the system. First, we strengthened security at the borders so that we could finally stem the tide of illegal immigrants. We put more boots on the ground on the southern border than at any time in our history. And today, illegal crossings are down nearly 80 percent from their peak in 2000. (Applause.)

Second, we focused our enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally and who endanger our communities. And today, deportations of criminals — (applause) — is at its highest level ever.

And third, we took up the cause of the dreamers, the young people who were brought to this country as children — (cheers, applause) — young people who have grown up here, built their lives here, have futures here. We said that if you’re able to meet some basic criteria, like pursuing an education, then we’ll consider offering you the chance to come out of the shadows so that you can live here and work here legally, so that you can finally have the dignity of knowing you belong.

But because this change isn’t permanent, we need Congress to act, and not just on the DREAM Act.

We need Congress to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the country right now. That’s what we need. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, the good news is that for the first time in many years Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. (Cheers, applause.) Members of both parties in both chambers are actively working on a solution. Yesterday a bipartisan group of senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, which are very much in line with the principles I’ve proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. So at this moment it looks like there’s a genuine desire to get this done soon. And that’s very encouraging.

But this time action must follow. We can’t allow — (applause) — immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate. We’ve been debating this a very long time. So it’s not as if we don’t know technically what needs to get done.

As a consequence, to help move this process along, today I’m laying out my ideas for immigration reform. And my hope is that this provides some key markers to members of Congress as they craft a bill, because the ideas that I’m proposing have traditionally been supported by both Democrats like Ted Kennedy and Republicans like President George W. Bush. You don’t get that matchup very often. (Laughter.) So — so we know where the consensus should be.

Now of course, there will be rigorous debate about many of the details. And every stakeholder should engage in real give and take in the process. But it’s important for us to recognize that the foundation for bipartisan action is already in place. And if Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away.

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yes! (Cheers, applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: So — so the principles are pretty straightforward. There are a lot of details behind it. We’re going to hand out a bunch of paper so everybody will know exactly what we’re talking about. But the principles are pretty straightforward.

First, I believe we need to stay focused on enforcement. That means continuing to strengthen security at our borders.

It means cracking down more forcefully on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers. To be fair, most businesses want to do the right thing, but a lot of them have a hard time figuring out who’s here legally, who’s not. So we need to implement a national system that allows businesses to quickly and accurately verify someone’s employment status. And if they still knowingly hire undocumented workers, then we need to ramp up the penalties.

Second, we have to deal with the 11 million individuals who are here illegally. Now, we all agree that these men and women should have to earn their way to citizenship. But for comprehensive immigration reform to work, it must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship. (Cheers, applause.)

We’ve got to — we’ve got to lay out a path, a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning English, and then going to the back of the line behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally, that’s only fair. (Cheers, applause.) All right? So that means it won’t be a quick process, but it will be a fair process and it will lift these individuals out of the shadows and give them a chance to earn their way to green card and, eventually, to citizenship. (Cheers, applause.)

And the third principle is we’ve got to bring our legal immigration system into the 21st century because it no longer reflects the realities of our time. (Cheers, applause.) For example, if you are a citizen, you shouldn’t have to wait years before your family is able to join you in America. (Cheers, applause.) You shouldn’t have to wait years.

If you’re a foreign student who wants to pursue a career in science or technology or a foreign entrepreneur who wants to start a business with the backing of American investors, we should help you do that here because if you succeed you’ll create American businesses and American jobs, You’ll help us grow our economy, you’ll help us strengthen our middle class.

So that’s what comprehensive immigration reform looks like — smarter enforcement, a pathway to earn citizenship, improvements in the legal immigration system so that we continue to be a magnet for the best and the brightest all around the world.

It’s pretty straightforward.

The question now is simple. Do we have the resolve as a people, as a country, as a government to finally put this issue behind us? I believe that we do. (Applause.) I believe that we do. I believe we are finally at a moment where comprehensive immigration reform is within our grasp. But I promise you this. The closer we get, the more emotional this debate is going to become.

Immigration’s always been an issue that inflames passions. That’s not surprising. You know, there are few things that are more important to us as a society than who gets to come here and call our country home, who gets the privilege of becoming a citizen of the Untied States of America. That’s a big deal. When we talk about that in the abstract, it’s easy sometimes for the discussion to take on a feeling of us versus them. And when that happens, a lot of folks forget that most of us used to be them. (Cheers, applause.) We forget that.

And it’s really important for us to remember our history. You know, unless you’re one of the first Americans, a Native American, you came from someplace else. (Cheers, applause.) Somebody brought you.

You know, Ken Salazar — he’s of, you know, Mexican-American descent, but he — he points out that his family’s been living where — where he lives for 400 years.

(Cheers.) So he didn’t — he didn’t immigrate anywhere. (Laughter.)

The Irish, who left behind a land of famine; the Germans, who fled persecution; the Scandinavians, who arrived eager to pioneer out west; the Polish; the Russians; the Italians; the Chinese; the Japanese; the West Indians; the huddled masses who came through Ellis Island on one coast and Angel Island on the other — (cheers, applause) — you know, all those folks, before they were us, they were them. (Laughter.)

And when each new wave of immigrants arrived, they faced resistance from those who were already here. They faced hardship. They faced racism. They faced ridicule. But over time, as they went about their daily lives, as they earned a living, as they raised a family, as they built a community, as their kids went to school here, they did their part to build the nation. They were the Einsteins and the Carnegies, but they were also the millions of women and men whose names history may not remember but whose actions helped make us who we are, who built this country hand by hand, brick by brick. (Cheers, applause.)

They all came here knowing that what makes somebody an American is not just blood or birth but allegiance to our founding principles and the faith in the idea that anyone from anywhere can write the next great chapter of our story.

And that’s still true today. Just ask Alan Aleman. Alan’s here this afternoon. Where’s Alan? He — he — he’s around here. There he is right here. (Cheers, applause.) Now, Alan was born in Mexico. (Cheers, applause.) He was brought to this country by his parents when he was a child. Growing up, Alan went to an American school, pledged allegiance to the American flag, felt American in every way. And he was, except for one — on paper. In high school, Alan watched his friends come of age, driving around town with their new licenses, earning some extra cash from their summer jobs at the mall. He knew he couldn’t do those things. But it didn’t matter that much; what mattered to Alan was earning an education so that he could live up to his God-given potential.

Last year, when Alan heard the news that we were going to offer a chance for folks like him to emerge from the shadows, even if it’s just for two years at a time, he was one of the first to sign up. And a few months ago he was one — one of the first people in Nevada to get approved. (Cheers, applause.) In that moment Alan said, I felt the fear vanish. I felt accepted.

So today Alan’s in his second year at the College of Southern Nevada. (Cheers, applause.) Alan’s studying to become a doctor. (Cheers, applause.) He hopes to join the Air Force. (Cheers, applause.) He’s working hard every single day to build a better life for himself and his family. And all he wants is the opportunity to do his part to build a better America. (Applause.)

So — so in the coming weeks, as the idea of reform becomes more real and the debate becomes more heated and there are folks who are trying to pull this thing apart, remember Alan and all those who share the same hopes and the same dreams. Remember that this is not just a debate about policy. It’s about people. It’s about men and women and young people who want nothing more than the chance to earn their way into the American story.

And throughout our history, that’s only made our nation stronger. And it’s how we will make sure that this century is the same as the last, an American century, welcoming of everybody who aspires to do something more, who’s willing to work hard to do it, and is willing to pledge that allegiance to our flag.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

Political Headlines January 29, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Issues Call for Immigration Overhaul

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Issues Call for Immigration Overhaul

Source: NYT, 1-29-13

President Obama delivered remarks on immigration reform on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President Obama delivered remarks on immigration reform on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

President Obama also welcomed bipartisan movement in Congress on the politically charged issue, which has defied solution in recent years….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 29, 2013: Sen. John Kerry Closer to Being Confirmed as Secretary of State

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Sen. John Kerry Closer to Being Confirmed as Secretary of State

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-29-13

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry could be cleared to be Secretary of State by the end of Tuesday.

By a unanimous voice vote Tuesday morning, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Kerry used to head, approved his nomination to take over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s post.

The nomination will now move to the full Senate — likely as early as Tuesday afternoon — for final confirmation….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 29, 2013: Ray LaHood Stepping Down as Transportation Secretary

POLITICAL HEADLINES

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Ray LaHood Stepping Down as Transportation Secretary

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on Tuesday that he will not be sticking around for President Obama’s second term.

In a letter to Department of Transportation employees, LaHood said he has informed the president of his decision and that he will stay at his post until a successor is confirmed.

Obama later issued a statement thanking LaHood “for his dedication, his hard work, and his years of service to the American people — including the outstanding work he’s done over the last four years as Secretary of Transportation.”…READ MORE

Here is LaHood’s full letter to DOT employees:

“I have let President Obama know that I will not serve a second term as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. It has been an honor and a privilege to lead the Department, and I am grateful to President Obama for giving me such an extraordinary opportunity. I plan to stay on until my successor is confirmed to ensure a smooth transition for the Department and all the important work we still have to do.

As I look back on the past four years, I am proud of what we have accomplished together in so many important areas. But what I am most proud of is the DOT team. You exemplify the best of public service, and I truly appreciate all that you have done to make America better, to make your communities better, and to make DOT better.

Our achievements are significant. We have put safety front and center with the Distracted Driving Initiative and a rule to combat pilot fatigue that was decades in the making. We have made great progress in improving the safety of our transit systems, pipelines, and highways, and in reducing roadway fatalities to historic lows. We have strengthened consumer protections with new regulations on buses, trucks, and airlines.

We helped jumpstart the economy and put our fellow Americans back to work with $48 billion in transportation funding from the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009, and awarded over $2.7 billion in TIGER grants to 130 transportation projects across the Nation. We have made unprecedented investments in our nation’s ports. And we have put aviation on a sounder footing with the FAA reauthorization, and secured funding in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act to help States build and repair their roads, bridges and transit systems.

And to further secure our future, we have taken transportation into the 21st century with CAFE Standards, NextGen, and our investments in passenger and High-Speed Rail. What’s more, we have provided the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy with the funding and leadership it needs to prepare a new generation of midshipmen to meet our country’s rapidly-evolving defense and maritime transportation needs.

Closer to home, we also have made great strides. In December, the DOT was recognized as the most improved agency in the entire Federal government in the 2012 “Best Places to Work” rankings published by the Partnership of Public Service. Even more impressive, DOT was ranked 9th out of the 19 largest agencies in the government.

Each of these remarkable accomplishments is a tribute your hard work, creativity, commitment to excellence, and most of all, your dedication to our country. DOT is fortunate to have such an extraordinary group of public servants. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you as the selection and confirmation process of the next transportation secretary moves forward. Now is not the time to let up – we still have a number of critical safety goals to accomplish and still more work to do on the implementation of MAP-21. 

I’ve told President Obama, and I’ve told many of you, that this is the best job I’ve ever had. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work with all of you and I’m confident that DOT will continue to achieve great things in the future.

Thank you, and God bless you.”

Political Headlines January 29, 2013: Election to Replace Sen. John Kerry’s Massachusetts Senate Seat Likely June 25

Election to Replace Sen. John Kerry Likely June 25

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-29-13

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

With Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s confirmation for Secretary of State proceeding at a smooth and quick pace, the question now becomes who will replace him and when?

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin gave an answer to that second question this week, saying that the special election would likely be set for June 25….READ MORE

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