From the Wayback Machine: Clinton Owns Pence

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at second link.]

I originally posted this way back in 2009, when Mike Pence was merely the worst congressman from Indiana and not the vice-presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Have a look at then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handing Pence his ass (and I hope you will particularly enjoy his righteous indignation about Presidents and dictators, given Donald Trump's recent comment that the world would be "100 percent" better off if dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi were still in power):

Pence: Isn't it true that having the President of the United States be seen on the world stage warmly greeting a virulent, anti-American, socialist dictator, that, intentionally or unintentionally, our president was used for propaganda purposes, to borrow the phrase that you used. And isn't it also true that, as Natan Sharansky observed memorably in his book, The Case for Democracy, there's almost nothing more demoralizing to people that are fighting for freedom in their own country than to see the leader of the free world in friendly association with the very people that are oppressing them? Sharansky said we could, quote, "never fully prepare ourselves for the disappointment that came from seeing the free world abandon its own values in that context."

And so, in a very real sense, I wanted, I wanted to invite, in a very respectful way, your thoughts about that, recognizing that you serve this president, but also expressing to you my profound concern, uh, that this administration allowed itself, intentionally or unintentionally, to be used to prop up and promote, uh, the image and the interests of a virulent anti-American, a socialist dictator, in Venezuela.

Chair: I'm going to give the Secretary, uh, a little bit of time to, 'cause you characterized an earlier comment that she made, to respond.

Pence: Thank you, chairman.

Clinton: Well, Mr. Pence, I have lived a long time now. I grew up at the height of the Cold War, when we were on the hair-trigger alert of nuclear war; I remember virulent, anti-American communist dictators threatening our country on a regular basis; and I remember our presidents meeting with them, shaking their hands, and negotiating. They did not do so without conditions, or without strong principles, but they did so.

I've also seen us establish normal relations with Vietnam; I have seen the thirty years of normalized relations with China; and I don't think there is any contradiction between standing strongly for our principles and our values and pursuing the give-and-take of diplomatic encounter and negotiation where appropriate.

I think that, uh, you're strong feelings about, um, Hugo Chavez are certainly, um, understood, because he has clearly been someone who has behaved in ways that don't accord with our values and our principles. But so were the Soviet leaders. And so did so many others with whom we eventually created an environment in which we could see some changes that benefited the United States of America.

[camera cuts to Pence looking grim as fuck]

That is my bottom line, Mr. Pence. My bottom line is: I am here to serve my country, which I have loved ever since I was a little girl.

And I'm going to support my president, because he is committed to doing whatever he can in the time he is given to serve to make this a better, safer, more secure world.

There are different approaches. I respectfully say, we spent eight years trying to isolate Chavez, and what has been the result? I don't think it's been in America's interests. So we're gonna try some different things!

And I respect your disagreement; we want as bipartisan a foreign policy as possible. And we have, wherever we can, reached out, and will continue to do so, to members of this committee and others. We want your constructive criticism; we want your feedback. But President Obama won the election. He beat me in a primary, in which he put forward a different approach. And he is now our president, and we all want our president, no matter of which party, to succeed, especially in such a perilous time.

So I appreciate your strong feelings, but I think that, ah, we are pursuing a course that, uh, may very well open up some additional opportunities that we hope will be in our interests and advance our values and protect our security.

Pence: Thank you.

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