Clinton quips: You should hear what they say about us

WASHINGTON- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday sought to downplay the gravity of a massive leak of secret US cables revealing candid assessments of foreign leaders -- by joking that their opinions of US officials were worse.
"I can tell you that in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, 'Well don't worry about it, you should see what we say about you,'" Clinton told reporters.

Clinton quips: You should hear what they say about us
Clinton acknowledged talking with several top diplomats at the weekend in what could be seen as damage control in the wake of the publication of some quarter million US documents by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks.
"This is well understood in the diplomatic community as part of the give and take and I would hope that we will be able to move beyond this and back to the business of working together on behalf of our common goals."
Her joke was the only moment of levity in comments to reporters at the State Department in which she said the United States "deeply regrets" the release of the confidential documents, and that such action amounted to an "attack" on the international community.
Washington was left red-faced by some of the embarrassingly frank assessments in the leaked documents.
One described Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as "feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader," while another said Germany's Angela Merkel was "risk averse and rarely creative."
The US embassy in Russia referred to Vladimir Putin as an "alpha dog" who made all the decisions in the Russian president's place. It vividly added that President Dmitry Medvedev -- who one dispatch said often looked indecisive and pale -- simply "plays Robin to Putin's Batman."
And one of the documents released by WikiLeaks said veteran Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi almost never travels without his "voluptuous blond" Ukrainian nurse.

Monday, November 29th 2010

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