Health win shows Obama mettle on Mideast: Clinton



WASHINGTON- Hillary Clinton said Monday President Barack Obama's triumph over health care proved he could stick with a tough job -- suggesting he would bring similar resolve to ensuring Israel's security.
On a more personal level, the US secretary of state also offered Obama a hug following his victory, after she tried and failed to pass similar legislation during her husband Bill Clinton's administration, the White House said.



US President Barack Obama (right) delivers a statement to the nation following the vote in the House of Representatives on health care reform from the East Room of the White House on 21st March.  (Jim Watson/AFP)
US President Barack Obama (right) delivers a statement to the nation following the vote in the House of Representatives on health care reform from the East Room of the White House on 21st March. (Jim Watson/AFP)
The US secretary of state told the powerful US-Israel lobby that despite recent tensions between Washington and Israeli 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 told 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.
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 had lambasted Obama on the campaign trail, saying he lacked the credentials to bring about true reform and 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 and frequently praises him.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday that Clinton had offered personal congratulations to Obama during a meeting in the White House Situation Room on Monday.
"She was very happy to see what happened yesterday. When the president came in, she walked over and gave him a big hug for what had been accomplished," Gibbs said.
Obama's spokesman also said that former president Clinton asked the White House for a list of calls to make to House lawmakers at the weekend before the vote, and had played a useful political role.
The passage of health care reform, a cherished but oft-thwarted dream of Democrats for decades, has 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 triumph abroad.
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Tuesday, March 23rd 2010
AFP
           


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