Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Sunday she may have been less than diplomatic when she told an audience in Tunisia to "not pay attention" to the rhetoric coming from the Republican presidential primary race. But she doesn't take back the gist of her comments.
Speaking Saturday in the first country to undergo the transformation of the "Arab Spring," the nation's top diplomat was answering a question from an audience member who asked how Arabs can trust candidates on both sides who "run toward the Zionist lobbies to get their support in the states. And afterward, once they are elected, they come to show their support for countries like Tunisia and Egypt."
Without addressing the audience member's question about supporting the Arab "enemy," Clinton, who was vanquished by Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary, said that Tunisians will learn as their democracy grows that "a lot of things are said in political campaigns that should not bear a lot of attention."
"There are comments made that certainly don't reflect the United States, don't reflect our foreign policy, don't reflect who we are as a people. I mean, if you go to the United States, you see mosques everywhere, you see Muslim-Americans everywhere. That's the fact. So I would not pay attention to the rhetoric," Clinton said.
She then added that the audience should "watch what President Obama says and does."
"He's our president. He represents all of the United States, and he will be reelected president, so I think that that will be a very clear signal to the entire world as to what our values are and what our president believes," she said, adding that she is sometimes "a little surprised that people around the world pay more attention to what is said in our political campaigns than most Americans."
"So I think you have to shut out some of the rhetoric and just focus on what we're doing and what we stand for, and particularly what our president represents," Clinton said.
Clinton, whose post is supposed to be non-political, acknowledged Sunday that her comments may have been overly exuberant.
"Probably my enthusiasm for the president got a little out of hand," Clinton told CNN when asked about the remarks, claiming that her remarks stem only from wanting what's best for the country.
Clinton said sometimes her political juices get flowing and she needs to rein them in.
"I tried to dampen them down, get them taken out in a blood transfusion, but they occasionally rear their ugly heads," she said, adding that the comments on the campaign trail don't represent America.
"I know what happens in campaigns. I've been there, done that, and I know that things are said that are not going to be put into practice or policy," she said. "I did think I needed to point that out to the audience."
Clinton's partisan remarks, made after the president this week was criticized for apologizing to Afghanistan's president over the unintentional mishandling of Korans by U.S. military personnel, are the third this week from the administration declaring that Obama will win reelection.
In an interview that aired Thursday, Obama stated in a Univision interview that he will have "five more years" in office. White House spokesman Josh Earnest followed that on Friday during the daily press briefing, saying the president "will win."