ABC's Raddatz Questions Hillary from Left; Hypes Obama's 'Thoughtful' Diplomacy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; & Martha Raddatz, ABC Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgOn Monday’s GMA, ABC’s Martha Raddatz pressed Hillary Clinton from the left on the Obama administration’s stance towards North Korea: “From the beginning...the rhetoric seemed almost exactly like the Bush administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?” Earlier in the month, she also labeled the overall Obama foreign policy “very thoughtful.”

The ABC correspondent’s segment with the Secretary aired minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the ABC morning program. Midway through the interview, Raddatz brought up the Obama administration’s dealings with North Korea. She asked Mrs. Clinton, “From the outside, it seems to me that after the latest missile launches, the rhetoric from the United States was dialed back a bit.” After the Secretary replied, the ABC News senior foreign affairs correspondent followed up with her question from the left: “But that’s a real shift- I mean, from the beginning of the Obama administration... the rhetoric [towards North Korea] seemed almost exactly like the Bush administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?”

This question contrasts with Raddatz’s talking-up of the Obama administration’s policy towards North Korea earlier this month on the July 7 edition of Charlie Rose’s show on PBS:

CHARLIE ROSE: What do we know, Martha, from the White House coverage of how this president has been changed by the reality of the world and what he thought he might find, expect?

MARTHA RADDATZ: Well, I think that’s an interesting question, and I don’t think- I’ll go back to North Korea. I think that’s one of those things that the Obama administration has reached out, and they have reached out to North Korea and they reached out to Iran, and they’ve kind of been slapped back, and particularly by the North Koreans. And I think that’s somewhat surprising to some people in the administration, although it really shouldn’t have been, because if you just look particularly at North Korea, that’s what they do again and again and again.
So, I think this sort of we’re reaching out to you, we’re going to include you, they haven’t quite gotten the response that they wanted. So I think that’s probably surprised them. But I do think they’ve been very thoughtful about looking at each of these countries. They have moved slowly. I mean, you can ask for reactions to a lot of things from the White House, and you won’t really get it right away. You’ll get a president who says, let me think about that, I want to answer this thoughtfully.

The ABC correspondent later asked Mrs. Clinton about the Obama administration’s dealings with Iran.

Earlier in the segment, Raddatz used reassuring language to describe Clinton’s participation in the Obama administration during Monday’s Good Morning America. She began by playing off the preceding report about the Taliban’s release of a videotape showing a captured American soldier, and stated how “Secretary Clinton is facing a world of problems, but she is keeping very close track of the status of the captured soldier.” After playing a clip from Mrs. Clinton where she deplored the capture as a “real sign of desperation and inappropriate criminal behavior,” Raddatz assured Mrs. Clinton’s “intense engagement as part of President Obama’s team.” She then played a second clip of her walking and talking with the Secretary of State, adding that Clinton was also “scoffing at recent reports that she has been marginalized.”

At the end of the segment, anchor Diane Sawyer inquired Raddatz for her take on the Secretary’s role in the administration: “I want to ask about what she said about the White House and those reports she had been sidelined by the White House. Are we now going to see her moving to center stage on a lot more issues? She replied, “I think you will, and she’s very frustrated by those reports circulating last week. I mean, she did, after all, have a shattered elbow, which kept her out of the spotlight, and kept her away from overseas trips for awhile, but I’m sure she’ll get back in there fighting.”

The full transcript of Raddatz’s interview segment with Secretary Clinton from Monday’s Good Morning America:

DIANE SAWYER: So what now does the U.S. government do? Well, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is traveling in India, and she spoke to our senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz in a ‘GMA’ exclusive. Martha joins us now from New Delhi this morning. Martha?

MARTHA RADDATZ: Good morning, Diane. Secretary Clinton is facing a world of problems, but she is keeping very close track of the status of the captured soldier.

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: We are attempting to do everything we can to locate him and free him. I mean, it’s just outrageous. It’s a- it’s a real sign of desperation and inappropriate criminal behavior on the part of these terrorist groups. So we are going to do everything we can to get him-

RADDATZ (voice-over): We spent all morning with Secretary Clinton in New Delhi, where she stressed her intense engagement as part of President Obama’s team-

CLINTON And I spent a lot of time at the White House, which was one of the surprises for the job. I just-

RADDATZ: Scoffing at recent reports that she has been marginialized.

CLINTON: You know, I broke my elbow, not my larynx. I could not be more satisfied with the amount of time that I’ve spent with the president-

RADDATZ: One major problem the Secretary faces is North Korea, acknowledging that the Obama administration has changed its approach in just the last month.

RADDATZ (on-camera): From the outside, it seems to me that after the latest missile launches, the rhetoric from the United States was dialed back- back a bit.

CLINTON: So we weren’t going to give the North Koreans the satisfaction they were looking for, which is to try to elevate them again to center stage.

RADDATZ: But that’s a real shift- I mean, from the beginning of the Obama administration, when they first- testing launches [sic], the rhetoric seemed almost exactly like the Bush administration’s, and it didn’t do much good. So is it a real shift that you decided to dial back?

CLINTON: Well, what we’ve seen is this constant demand for attention- and maybe it’s the mother in me, or the experience that I’ve had with small children and unruly teenagers, and people who are demanding attention- don’t give it to them. They don’t deserve it. They are acting out in a way to send a message- that is not a message we’re interested in receiving.

RADDATZ (voice-over): Secretary Clinton says she doesn’t know whether North Korea will go ahead with a launch of a long-range missile soon, but surprisingly downplayed any threat from the North Korean nation.

CLINTON: They don’t pose- pose a threat to us. We know that our allies, Japan and South Korea, are very concerned, but we share information. They watch what we watch and understand what’s really going on there.

RADDATZ: Clinton has also changed her approach in trying to free the two young journalists held by North Korea for months now. In June, the Secretary told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos-

CLINTON (from June 7 ‘This Week’): We think that the charges against these young women are absolutely without merit or foundation.

RADDATZ: But earlier this month, she said-

CLINTON (from July 10 State Department town meeting): The two journalists and their families have expressed great remorse for this incident, and I think everyone is very sorry that it happened.

RADDATZ (on-camera): Is that an apology to North Korea?

CLINTON: I think it’s a recognition of what the young women themselves have said. Our most important goal now is to make sure that these young women get home safely and get returned to their families.

RADDATZ (voice-over): And as for Iran, Secretary Clinton said, time is running out for engagement.

CLINTON: There’s a series of choices that Iran clearly has to make, and we’re waiting to see whether they will.

RADDATZ (on-camera): Is there a red line in your mind when that time limit is up?

CLINTON: No- I mean, the president has spoken about the fall, the end of the year. It’s- it’s just clear that we’re not leaving it open forever. It’s not indefinite.

RADDATZ (live): As for India, the Secretary denied that she has been rebuffed by the Indians on climate change, but listen to this quote from India’s environment minister: ‘Let me be clear: we are simply not in a position to take legally-binding emission targets.’ Now, that’s what Mrs. Clinton wanted. That sounds like a rebuff to me. Diane?

SAWYER: All right, Martha- fascinating on so many different issues, including North Korea, but I want to ask about what she said about the White House and those reports she had been sidelined by the White House. Are we now going to see her moving to center stage on a lot more issues?

RADDATZ: I think you will, and she’s very frustrated by those reports circulating last week. I mean, she did, after all, have a shattered elbow, which kept her out of the spotlight, and kept her away from overseas trips for awhile, but I’m sure she’ll get back in there fighting.

SAWYER: Okay. Martha, thanks so much- Martha Raddatz, reporting from New Delhi. 

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center