Why Hillary Clinton's Outburst in Africa Was Reasonable

Secretary Clinton's media critics are making way too much of this.


By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

We find out this morning that Secretary Clinton's widely publicized anger flash, ignited by a question of questionable intent by a Congolese student, was not indeed in reaction to a mistranslation by the translator but to an accurate translation of the question:

Later, her aides released the transcript of the question, as it had been translated to English from French, and further inspection of the audio recording of the event indicated that the translation was fine; the student had indeed said "Mr. Clinton."

After the event, the student apologized to Mrs. Clinton, saying he had indeed meant to ask what Mr. Obama thought.

The question was about Chinese contracts to do business in Congo. The student asked the Secretary what her husband's thoughts were about those contracts. MSM scuttlebutt has been that Secretary Clinton lost her cool because her husband's trip to Korea the week before generated more attention than her trip to Africa. I say, horse hockey!!!

First, Secretary Clinton was already acting edgy before the Congolese student asked her the question about Chinese contracts:

Her talk with the students had started out friendly enough, with questions about human rights and the environment. But it got a little edgy when several students pushed her on why Congo, whose first prime minister was ousted with the help of the C.I.A., should now trust the United States. She then became a little prickly.

Second, she was obviously tired (which puts anyone on edge). Third, she had just visited refugee camps and witnessed the human (mainly female) wreckage created by Congo's use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war. So maybe she was just infuriated by the fact that a man asked her about her husband's opinions rather than about her own. I know in that circumstance I'd be furious. I'm no diplomat, that's for sure, but any rational man or woman could understand feeling belittled or annoyed under those circumstances.

Should she have used her diplomatic skills to conceal her anger? Of course, that's the meaning of diplomacy, as I blogged earlier this week. But are her media critics making way too much of this? Yes, that's true, too.