Secretary of State Hillary Clinton isn’t planning on quitting her job anytime soon, she said in an interview Tuesday, even as reports suggest she was frustrated by President Barack Obama’s approach to the crisis in Libya.”I will stay until the beginning of the next term, because I know it takes a while for people to get appointed and confirmed,” she told ABC News’s Diane Sawyer. “Obviously, there needs to be a seamless transition with whomever President Obama decides to appoint after he is reelected, which I am confident he will be,” she said.
Clinton’s comments came just days after she denied wanting to run for president or vice president or wanting to serve in the Obama administration beyond 2012, which unleashed a flood of reports from insiders who say she was discouraged by the president’s reticence to responding to instability in Libya under Muammar Qadhafi’s regime.
In the interview, she tamped down those reports, saying that her influence in getting Obama to agree to a role in establishing a no-fly zone over Libya is “part of a storyline that needs to be corrected soon and decisively.”
“What happened indeed was that the facts evolved in a way that made the president and the administration convinced that we had to support U.N. action against Qadhafi and his force,” she said. “It was a very thoughtful process. And I don’t believe that there would have been the level of commitment had there not been a series of actions culminating with the Arab League statement Saturday before last, which was so unprecedented and which called on the United Nations Security Council to take this action.”
Clinton added that she wouldn’t “characterize” any member of the administration’s views on action against Libya, “because it was a decision that was made, and the decision speaks for itself.”
Since the decision was made, an international coalition has attacked Libyan targets to establish a no-fly zone over the country with what Clinton described as apparent early success. Qadhafi and his allies appear to be seeking out “options” to get out of the situation, she said.
“We’ve heard about other people close to him reaching out to people that they know around the world – Africa, the Middle East, Europe, North America, beyond – saying, ‘What do we do? How do we get out of this? What happens next?'” Clinton said.
Though the State Department has no direct evidence of Qadhafi’s efforts, Clinton said that “so many sources” are saying the conversations are happening. Qadhafi, she said, is “somewhat unpredictable,” but some of what he’s doing “we think, is exploring – ‘what are my options, where could I go, what could I do?’ And we would encourage that.”
Clinton denied reports that at least one of Qadhafi’s sons was killed by U.S. forces – “No, uh-uh, uh-uh, no,” she said, noting that it’s not clear whether any of them died. “We hear many different things, but we know it’s not us.”