January 29th, 2013
06:48 PM ET

Clinton defends her diplomatic legacy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she can't be faulted for not solving some of the thorny diplomatic issues she faced her in term.

In her final week of Secretary of State, Clinton defended her legacy in an exit interview with CNN's Jill Dougherty and Elise Labott.

Clinton acknowledged that her legacy includes unsolved problems in some of the world's hot spots, but noted that she assumed the job four years ago at a time of great uncertainty.

"I think we have to go back to my beginning in January '09 to remember how poorly perceived the United States was, how badly damaged our reputation was, how our leadership was in question, how the economic crisis had really shaken people's confidence in our government, our economic system, our country.

Clinton said she had sought initially simply to restore international confidence in American leadership, "sometimes against pretty tough odds," which included a crisis in the world's economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The challenges went on to include responding to the Arab Spring, forming international coalitions to inflict sanctions on Iran and North Korea and dealing with changes in Burma, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

"I'm very proud of what we've done," she said, adding, "We began to practice diplomacy in a different way - not that we jettisoned everything done before, but added new tools to the box."

Asked about the Obama administration's failure to appoint a woman to any of the top four Cabinet positions, she said, "What we have to do is take a look at the broad picture."

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Secretary of State
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