Super-hawk John Bolton has been having a tough time over the past week trying to find anything good to say about President Clinton securing the release of two American journalists in North Korea. It’s “negotiating with terrorists,” “rewarding bad behavior,” and endangering the lives of other Americans, Bolton has complained. CNN aired a clip of Fareed Zakaria’s new interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last night and when Zakaria tried to ask Clinton about Bolton’s criticism, she erupted in laughter just as Zakaria mentioned his name. Clinton then noted that it’s “absolutely not rewarding them”:
CLINTON: We’ve done this so many times before. We’ve had former presidents do it. We’ve had sitting members of Congress do it. It is something that, you know, it is absolutely not rewarding them. It is not in any way responding to specific demands.
It is a recognition that certain countries that I think are kind of beyond the pale the rule of law hold people and subject them to long prison terms that are absolutely unfair and unwarranted.
Host Erica Hill asked Lisa Ling, the sister of Laura Ling, one of the journalists President Clinton helped get released, about Bolton’s criticism as well. “I heard John Bolton make his statement,” Ling said, adding, “Bill Clinton went to North Korea on a humanitarian mission, to bring back Laura and Euna…[he] was gracious enough to agree to do it. And we are so, so grateful. If he didn’t do it, I know that the girls wouldn’t be here right now.”
Also during the interview, Clinton said of Bolton, “[I]f President Obama walked on water, he would say he couldn’t swim.”