Hillary on the Hill
As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considered her nomination to be Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, Republicans on the panel raised the potentially thorny subject of the former president’s charity, which has received donations from several nations including the governments of Saudi Arabia and Norway.
They questioned whether appropriate steps had been taken to avoid possible foreign policy conflicts if Sen. Clinton, of New York, is confirmed.
“I think a lot of folks legitimately share these concerns across the spectrum, from the New York Times to Senator Lugar, who submitted some questions about it to me,” Louisiana Republican David Vitter said.
Richard Lugar of Indiana, the panel’s senior Republican, had raised the issue earlier in the hearing. Clinton gave a lengthy response to Vitter and offered to go into even more detail. But Vitter was concerned about running out of time.
“Mr. Chairman, I have no objection listening to this, but I’d like it not to come out of my time, because I’d like to pursue these questions,” Vitter said.
“Well, I guess it’s fair to say that if you ask a question, you deserve an answer, and the answer traditionally comes out of the time of the senator,” committee Chairman John Kerry of Massachusetts responded.
Later, when Virginia Democrat James Webb finally greeted Clinton, he noted that he had the pleasure of having sat through the entire day-long hearing. “I’m so far down the food chain that I had to wait until 3 o’clock this afternoon to ask my questions,” the freshman senator said.
The hearing began at 9:30 a.m.
Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Clinton with daughter Chelsea in background)