Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hillary Clinton Quietly Scrubs 'Remarks' From Website

    Hillary Clinton is widely considered, should she enter the 2016 presidential race, the Democratic front runner. But the former secretary of state is shrinking rather than building an already limited website presence.
    Sometime within the last two months, Hillaryclintonoffice.com quietly removed the only substantive content featured on the site, a set a remarks from three events from early 2013. The home page of the site included a "remarks" button, in addition to the "contact" button, that vanished sometime between July 23 and August 27 as these images show:

    Mrs. Clinton launched the website within a week of concluding her tenure as secretary of state in February 2013. By April, transcripts of remarks from three events in which Clinton took part were added: February 14, 2013, remarks at the Joint Civilian Service Award Presentation; April 2, 2013, remarks at Vital Voices (a non-governmental organization promoting women's leadership); and April 5, 2013, remarks at Women in the World summit. The latter two events chiefly consisted of Clinton's own remarks on a variety of issues related to women's place in societies around the world and their struggles and empowerment, and Clinton's efforts and actions those issues as secretary.
    The first event, the Joint Civilian Service Award Presentation included remarks from not only Clinton herself, but from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and an unnamed announcer. Dempsey had glowing words for Clinton for "working tirelessly in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and to ensure we had a strong coalition in Libya" and "recogniz[ing] that there are limits to hard power and that we need both hard power and soft power." As Dempsey presented Clinton with the award, the announcer lauded Clinton's "smart power strategy."
    Panetta's praise for Clinton was effusive as he recalled working together during Bill Clinton's presidency as well as Hillary's term as secretary of state. He credited her with important roles during the planning for the successful bin Laden raid, as well as issues regarding "Afghanistan and Syria and terrorist attacks, and even on our own defense strategy, including the whole issue of Asia Pacific rebalance," adding that the two of them had together made recommendations to President Obama regarding "difficult choices in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and the Middle East." Before presenting Clinton with a second award, Panetta closed his remarks with what could easily be taken for an endorsement of Clinton for future public service:
Today ... it is now clear that we need to maintain a strong military force to deal with the unstable and unpredictable and undeniably dangerous world that we live in. But it is equally clear that we must enhance our other key levers of power, our economic and diplomatic power, if we are to truly achieve peace in the 21st century. Delivering on that vision will require wisdom, and it will require a will to act, qualities that Hillary Clinton exemplified throughout her career and as secretary of state.
    In Clinton's own remarks, she seemed to close the door on future service by referring to herself as a "retired public official" who had "left the State Department in the capable hands of Secretary John Kerry." She said that she was "enormously proud of what we have achieved" using her "smart power approach," having "gone a long way to restore America's global leadership and to make progress on some of the great challenges we face, from taking the fight to the leadership of Al Qaeda to reasserting the United States as a Pacific power."
    Clinton's performance in favorability polls has been dropping in recent months, even as her legacy as secretary of state has been called into question with deteriorating conditions across the world stage. Also, in addition to Clinton's own book "Hard Choices" released this summer, several other books came out in recent months examining her life and careers, including "Clinton, Inc."
        Now that this set of remarks has been removed from Clinton's website, their availability elsewhere appears rather limited. However, the Still4hill.com website documents at least two of the events, even including some photos, and the Daily Beast still has the transcript of the Women in the World event. Clinton's office did not respond to a request for comment about the removal of the remarks from her website.

Note: A version of this article first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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