I don't believe Hillary's response was a meltdown, but it wasn't the best way to display strength or diplomatic skill ["Translating Hillary Clinton's Outburst in Africa," usnews.com]. Communication is one of the most powerful tools of a diplomat. Communication isn't occurring when the speaker is not understood and the listener reacts without confirming what they heard. Her reaction was too spontaneous to have anything to do with the history of the Congo. She personalized what she thought was the question. Her faux pas was probably a combination of tiredness, and a delayed reaction to a news media that is obsessed with stoking divisions. All the media have wanted to talk about after President Clinton returned from North Korea was whether Hillary was overshadowed. Before that, they were asking whether she was over shadowed by the special envoys sent to the Middle East. Corporate media's penchant for divisiveness got to her—that is all.
Comment by Lynn of NY
Good job on the answer. The question, as phrased to her, was an insult to all women, and specifically to her. Now, the real question as to what Obama might think would have not generated such a response. But if the translator gets a do-over, then she should also. But I think she made a great statement for herself, for all women in power, and sent a signal to all those in attendance that she is a force to be reckoned with.
Comment by Roni of FL
A very poor reaction indeed, but I can see where she got caught off guard by it and spoke before analyzing the intent of the question or whether a faux pas may have been made by the questioner. I agree with the author that Hillary also looked very tired, so she probably was not thinking as clearly as normal and was a bit testy to begin with. If this were a recurring thing or becomes one, then we have a real issue to discuss.
Comment by Mike of KY
I watched the video and would hardly call this an outburst. More like a slightly sarcastic comment. Also, the question, as heard from the translator, was not just what Bill Clinton thought, but "what does Mr. Clinton think, through the mouth of Mrs. Clinton?" which seems to imply that her job is to be the front person for her husband. I think a little sarcasm was in order.
Comment by Emily of NY
Secretary of State Clinton believed that she was being asked what her husband thought about what she was doing and she responded appropriately, by stating that he is not the secretary of state. In other words, what difference did it make what he thought? I am sure if someone had asked a man what his wife thought about what he was doing or saying, and he had made the same comment, that no one would have thought anything about it. The only reason why it's an issue is because the media is as biased as everyone else when it comes to equality for women. Listen, Hilary Clinton is one of the most intelligent secretaries of state that this country has ever produced, and to diminish her by focusing on her husband shows our preoccupation with sexism, not hers. A strong woman is only a threat to those who are weak. I applaud Madame Secretary.
Comment by Gary of CA
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