Tags: Obama | tactics | Mideast | talks

Obama to Try Domestic Tactics on Mideast

Monday, 22 March 2010 07:45 PM

WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton said Monday that her boss President Barack Obama's health care triumph proved he could stick with a tough job -- suggesting he would bring similar resolve to ensuring Israel's security.

The US Secretary of State told the powerful US-Israel lobby that despite recent tensions between Washington and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, the administration could be counted upon.

"From its first day, the Obama administration has worked to promote Israel’s security and long-term success," Clinton said at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

"If you ever doubt the resolve of President Obama to stay with a job, look at what we got done for the United States last night when it came to passing quality affordable healthcare for everyone."

"Let me assure you ... for President Obama and for me, and for this entire administration, our commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future is rock solid, unwavering, enduring, and forever."

As well as their diplomatic significance, Clinton's words were also politically charged -- being her first public comments on Obama's health care reform sent to the president's desk by Congress on Sunday night.

During her husband Bill Clinton's administration, Hillary Clinton was put in charge of pushing a comprehensive health care reform bill through Congress but the effort disintegrated and became a humiliating failure.

When she ran for the Democratic presidential nomination against Obama in 2007 and 2008, Clinton made health care reform a central plank of her campaign -- and criticized Obama's plans on the issue as inadequate.

Her comments on Monday also contained a hint of irony, as she also used to lambaste Obama on the campaign trail as lacking the credentials to bring about true political reform, arguing that she alone had the experience to forge change.

The days when Clinton and Obama were publicly at odds seem far away now, and since her former foe surprisingly chose her as his secretary of state, Clinton has been a loyal lieutenant for the president who frequently praises him.

The passage of health care reform, a cherished but oft-thwarted dream of Democrats for decades, significantly enhanced Obama's domestic political clout.

But the president still awaits his first major foreign policy success, and it is not clear that a problematic global geopolitical environment offers up many opportunities for a corresponding success abroad.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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Monday, 22 March 2010 07:45 PM
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