Hillary Clinton’s critics including, most recently, Carly Fiorina, have highlighted the fact that even her ardent supporters struggle to identify a noteworthy accomplishment from her tenure as Secretary of State.
A campaign video released today suggests Hillary’s own campaign has a difficult time answering that question.
The five minute clip titled “Fighter” features a timeline motif starting in 1973 and moving through to 2015. The clip spends a total of 40 seconds on Hillary’s time as Secretary, but most of that time is spent on her decision to take the job and her expansion of benefits to family members of LGBT State Department employees. Nothing specific is offered regarding international diplomacy or foreign policy.
As a timeline graphic shows us the year 2009, a man’s voice says, “I was a foreign service officer for 26 years. The fact that she was willing to work for a former rival, President Obama, restored my faith in the political process.” At this point Hillary herself takes over and makes essentially the same point, “He won and I lost and then he asked me to be Secretary of State. And I agreed for the same reason: We both love our country.”
Having spent half of the 40 seconds allotted to her tenure as Secretary of State on her decision to take the job, the clip has just 20 seconds left to outline her accomplishments. The male narrator returns saying, “She was the most dogged, determined Secretary of State I think I’ve ever seen. She mended relationships with countries that had been frayed.” The clip shows an image of Hillary standing behind President Obama as he speaks at a podium and another photo of Hillary in a conference room with about 25 other people. But it’s not clear from the audio or the video which relationships were mended or which countries we’re talking about.
Finally, the male narrator turns the viewer’s attention toward one definite accomplishment saying, “But she didn’t just fight for American values abroad. She fought for the families who serve the State Department.” The clip shows us a framed photograph of two men, one of whom appears to be the narrator. Then the video cuts to two men, one with his arm around the other staring into the distance. The camera swings around behind them and we see a closeup of a wedding ring as the narrator says, “Secretary Clinton is exactly that kind of fighter.” Though the narration itself isn’t clear, the images suggest this is a reference to Hillary’s decision, in May 2009, to extend benefits to the families of gay diplomats.
The video moves on to Hillary’s decision to run for President in 2015. So, out of a total of 40 seconds devoted to her four years as Secretary of State, 20 seconds are devoted to her decision to take the job. Another 10 seconds are spent on her extension of benefits to the families of LGBT State Department employees, which happened in early 2009. That leaves just 10 seconds–in which we get two sentences–to cover the remainder of her four years on the job.
The clip does give Hillary’s supporters one clear accomplishment they can point to from her time as Secretary. Unfortunately, that accomplishment involved State Department employees, not international diplomacy.