'Today' Invites Madeleine Albright On to Promote Hillary and Slam Bush

On the day of the New Hampshire primary, the "Today" show booked former Clinton administration Secretary of State and Hillary Clinton supporter Madeleine Albright to praise Hillary's credentials to be "a great commander-in-chief," and slam Bush foreign policy as she declared: "Internationally I don't think I've ever seen such a mess."

On to promote her new book, Memo To The President Elect, Albright did receive one skeptical question about whether the Clinton administration had done enough to stop al Qaeda. However that didn't stop "Today" co-host Ann Curry from asking for Albright's foreign policy advice:

ANN CURRY: Bottom line, people feel very hopeless about our being able to improve relations with other nations, of finally being able to restore peace. Through your, through this effort in creating this book is there, is there hope? What would be the most hopeful thing you can say to the American people?

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: Well I think there is hope but we require a different approach. And we have to understand that while we are the strongest country in the world the issues that we have to deal with cannot be dealt with if we don't understand what's going on in other countries. And I hope that, that comes out of this book.

CURRY: Madeleine Albright, I think it does. Thank you so much this morning.

The following is the full interview as it occurred on the January 8, "Today" show:

ANN CURRY: Today the presidential candidates are hoping the voters of New Hampshire will send them on their way to the White House. Well whoever wins will face some major hot spots all around the world, as we all know. Well Madeleine Albright served as Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton from 1992 to 2001. And she is working with Senator Hillary Clinton now. She's also written a new book. It's called Memo To The President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation And Leadership. Madam Secretary, good morning.

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: Great to be with you, Ann.

CURRY: Before we get to the book I want a take, get your take on what something that John Edwards said on Monday about Hillary Clinton's emotional moment. He said, when she teared-up about, when she was asked about how she was doing after finishing third in Iowa. He said quote, John Edwards, "I think what we need in a commander-in-chief is strength and resolve and presidential campaigns are a tough business. But being President of the United States is also a very tough business. And the President of the United States is faced with very, very difficult challenges every single day. What I know is that I'm prepared for that." Do you have a reaction to that, given that some people think that she's being unfairly criticized for having an emotional moment?

ALBRIGHT: Well I think it showed that she was passionate about the issues, that she cared about this country. I know Hillary Clinton very well and she is strong and has lot of resolve and I think would be a great commander-in-chief.

CURRY: Do you think John Edwards was taking a shot?

ALBRIGHT: Yeah I'm not gonna comment on other candidates. He's got his issues and I really do think that Senator Clinton is a very strong person but also a very compassionate one. And I know from talking with her, generally, is how deeply she cares about issues in this country.

CURRY: No question that her third place showing in Iowa has weighed heavily on her. Do you believe, at this moment, that she still believes, despite the mood that we're seeing in her, that she can still win the presidency?

ALBRIGHT: You know Ann this is a very long election campaign. It already has been and she is a very determined person. And when I saw her in Iowa she was really determined to go. And, you know, you raised a point this is going to be a very difficult presidency. And my book is really about the fact that in, internationally I don't think I've ever seen such a mess. That's a diplomatic term of art. And that we're going to need a president who is ready to go on day one. And this book is really laying out as much for the next president as for the voters of America, what the context is and how difficult the issues are.

CURRY: In Iran, in Pakistan, in Iraq.

ALBRIGHT: All that and our relations with Russia and China and what is happening in Africa. Every day there is something happening and the United States and the President has to be prepared for the unexpected.

CURRY: It's a "How To," manual, basically.

ALBRIGHT: Sort of. You know and not just for the President but I thought it would be important to get this book out at the beginning of this election season.

CURRY: Not just to the President but to the people of America so that they also understand the challenges.

ALBRIGHT: Can understand that this is really, really hard. That we have never been in a situation like this where America's reputation is so bad and America's strength is needed. That the war in Iraq has really laid question to it.

CURRY: Okay, let me just quickly ask this question. Some people might ask, whether you should be giving this advice. Given, with all due respect to, to all the years you served as Secretary of State, first woman in that role. Given that, al Qaeda is accused of causing the attacks of the embassy bombings in Africa, of the USS Cole and, and, and the United States is being criticized under the Clinton administration for not responding, perhaps, enough then. Does that, what, what is your response to this idea that perhaps this may question whether you should be giving this advice?

ALBRIGHT: Well I, I think, I was the lead witness on 9/11 commission. I went over our record. I think we worked very hard to make people pay attention to terrorism and what people don't know is that before 9/11 it was even hard to get people's attention on it. I think that I'm in a very good position to give advice. I worked on the Hill. I worked for, for President Carter and for President Clinton. And I, this is my subject, and I've spent a lot of time. This book is out of my personal experiences and so I hope that, in fact, my advice will be taken. And this is to anybody that is going to win the presidency.

CURRY: Bottom line, people feel very hopeless about our being able to improve relations with other nations, of finally being able to restore peace. Through your, through this effort in creating this book is there, is there hope? What would be the most hopeful thing you can say to the American people?

ALBRIGHT: Well I think there is hope but we require a different approach. And we have to understand that while we are the strongest country in the world the issues that we have to deal with cannot be dealt with if we don't understand what's going on in other countries. And I hope that, that comes out of this book.

CURRY: Madeleine Albright, I think it does. Thank you so much this morning.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.