August 4th, 2009
04:14 PM ET

Cue the "unofficial" official

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/08/04/nkorea.clinton/art.clinton.07.nk.jpg caption="President Clinton met Tuesday with North Korea leader Kim Jong Il."]

Candy Crowley | BIO
CNN Senior Political Correspondent

Long time no blog. Life is the teensiest bit nutty Chez Crowley but I’ve missed you. And I couldn’t pass up a chat about the story du jour (I’m feeling a little French today).

Anyway, so former President BiIl Clinton is on a mission in North Korea to free those two American journalists sentenced to hard labor. My fave part of the story so far is Robert Gibbs (White House Spokesman) saying this is a “solely private mission.” Um. Ok.

You think Washington-speak is Sanskrit? Try diplo-speak. This is how the game plays out. North Korea wants two things a) admission of guilt by the two women. You’ve pretty much seen that along with some mumblings about how everybody is very sorry about the situation from Secretary of State Clinton (not to be confused with mission-head Bill Clinton). You think she talked to him about his “solely private mission”? Me too.

And b) North Korea wants some respect. The two countries don’t have diplomatic relations, and the Obama administration is in no mood anyway. In his first several months in office, the President’s outstretched hand was greeted by two, three or eight –who’s counting—missile launches from North Korea. Provocative, but lame.

So, no “official” US officials are gonna go.

Cue the former President, a big big name overseas, a senior US statesman, an “unofficial” official. In antique dating terms, Bill Clinton’s a “catch” and, importantly to the Obama administration, he’s not in the Obama administration. He’s kind of an administration in-law.

So, the table is set. The skids have been greased.

See all those pictures being beamed out of North Korea? The invisible caption reads “Look How Important North Korea Is”.

I bet you anything we will see those two American journalists free and headed home in the next 24 hours. You didn’t think a senior US statesman would go to North Korea unless he knew he was coming home with them, did you? I hope I hope I hope. Maybe it’ll break in time for AC360.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bill Clinton • Candy Crowley • Raw Politics
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Dulcie - Denver

    I think it's a fabulous example of leadership from both Presidents Clinton and Obama. The game was extremely well played by both of them. Sec of State Hilary Clinton also played her role well. (Don't mean to imply she's an afterthought. She's not – her public statements have been carefully worded to grease the wheels)

    President Clinton was able to give Kim Jong Il the 15 minutes he so desperately desires before his death without compromising the United State's official position towards the country.

    August 5, 2009 at 8:17 am |
  2. Rose M. Hampton

    I always love Candy's comments about political issues!
    She's spot on!

    August 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    Candy – thanks for another of your delightful posts. I liked your irony and I love your French touch – it suits you.

    I never doubted that Bill Clinton could get the job done. The US is indeed blessed to have both Clinton's in their service with their charisma, high intelligence and education, and their passion to give back by service. Clinton still has the touch and probably will continue to have it for many years; I just hope Hilary will get another chance to be President; I can't think of anyone better other than having Bill again. Thank you Bill for doing what it seems no one else could do.

    August 4, 2009 at 9:50 pm |
  4. lampe

    I find it really funny, how many of you are proud of The Clintons. Because just over 6months ago, some of you were calling them "RACIST" and saying if they didn't get behind Obama, HRC'S political life would be over.

    August 4, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  5. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    He got them released, that is all that matters.

    August 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  6. Benigna Marko

    Good luck with your mission. Brings the girls back.

    August 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  7. mario

    The president Obama and Bill agree together that if NK wants him for a photo shop but the result is positive to please Ill, and same time use all the tools he can use with respect I think that we can say the president Obama is a good strategist and leader

    August 4, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  8. mario

    Agree with Donna

    August 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  9. Alex

    This has ZERO to do with Republicans! It so happens that Bill Clinton is still one of the brightest and most respected Presidents that was ever in the White House. As a Republican, Bill is the only Democratic candidate I ever voted for because he proved he was capable to get the job done, something the current President lacks. Now I can see the handwriting on the wall that all the Obama folks will now start taking credit for something they attempted to distance themselves from (Clinton's trip to N Korea) and could not accomplish! Tell me the Clinton's don't have the juice! HA! Face it folks, you elected the wrong person to be President. Come on Hillary!

    August 4, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  10. JC- Los Angeles

    If President Bill Clinton can get results on a "solely private mission" then perhaps he should plan several more.

    As for Robert Gibbs, the only thing worse than employing him, is believing that he's the one for the job.

    Stunning incompetence at every turn; you can't make this stuff up.

    August 4, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans eat your heart out, these Clintons belong to us; intelligent, articulate, diplomatic and very well educated. Republicans have nothing to match so they use insults which is lack of intellect.

    August 4, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  12. Julie

    Bill's the man.

    In all fairness, Obama's hands were tied. Thank goodness Obama's smart enough to call in the designated hitter and let Bill take the glory on this one.

    I bet those girls are already on a plane back home.

    August 4, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  13. Bakari

    I say the military should of went over their and kicked butt!

    August 4, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  14. Lauren

    Good call, Candy!

    August 4, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  15. criser

    wow, bill's still got game...

    August 4, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  16. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    Candy, I don't really care who pulled it off, just so long as it got done! And about time too. But that's just me. And I don't care who covers it either, just that they are going to get to come home to thier families where they belong at long last! Cue the happy the ending please!

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    August 4, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  17. Nosakhare Ekhator

    This is the fruit of diplomatic approach to solving problems, no soul was lost and no apology made. If you know how to approach people, you wine their souls and supports. Thanks you Presidents Clinton and Obama. I hope you will continue to make this world a better place for us and our future children.

    August 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  18. Melissa

    Unbelievable. The Clintons are just incredible. I wish we could vote them back into power. Bill managed to solve a many months old problem in only hours and his wife is nearly as good.

    I like the man alot. Obama needs to start consulting him on how to do all this, even if he just does it in secret. It is incredible what Bill Clinton has managed to accomplish. I'd even say he's one of the great leaders of the US.

    August 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  19. Jeff - LA

    Thank you Secretary of State Bill Clinton!

    Next stop: Iran.

    This guy is just smooth...


    August 4, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  20. Mark

    What happened to legalizing marijuana???
    There are far more than just two marijuana offenders than two.

    August 4, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  21. Cindy

    Now it's official that the two journalists have been pardoned. You are right Candy all that N. Korea wanted was for some big wig from the U.S. to come over and "talk" and do some photo ops so that they can look big and then they could get their 15 minutes. Bill was that big wig..15 minutes is up and the girls will go home soon.


    August 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  22. Linda B., Ga.

    Well Candy, you won your bet and it's cool. I truly think this is something that has been in the making, between Pres. Obama and Former Pres. Clinton. I totally agree with what you said above...it is a shame that Hillary couldn't have been there with Bill when it happened.....

    I do hope, in the future that these 2 ladies watch where they tread, in the future...I think they knew where they were and why they were there, my opinion and mine only....

    Thanks for your thoughts above Candy, You ARE the BESTEST 😀

    August 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm |


    August 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  24. Frieda

    Nicely written Candy. Thanks, I needed a smile today.

    August 4, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  25. Jennifer - Michigan

    HEY!! Just heard, they're pardoned! He did it – alright!

    August 4, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  26. Lisa B. Ezzell

    From your mouth to God's ears, Candy. I am NOT a Clinton supporter, and not a big fan of Washington DC antics in general, but I pray those two women are home in your stated time frame. I won't care who gets the credit. I know who pulls the strings. My heart has been tender for the families of the jounalist since the story began. I hope, I hope, I hope, too.

    August 4, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  27. .:reverse.cowgirl.scout.cookie.puss:.

    Dead -on Anderson!!!!

    August 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  28. John P

    It's good to see Bill helping out with the Washington activities! He has a lot of experience and still has connections to get things done. It would be great if he can get the two released. There is no reason for them to be held any longer.

    With all the other crises at home some of these items still need to be taken care of and it is great if others can help take care of things that are important!

    John P – Apex, NC

    August 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  29. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Candy,
    I like your French touch there. Let's all hope that good ole Bill can get these women back home soon! At least he's good for something right? Let's hope. Have a great day, talk later.

    August 4, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  30. kip4real

    This is not a buddy up visit coming from the BIG ICON Bill Clinton. This "solely private" trip is well measured and thought of. Since the outcome can be either + or – it is imperative that someone that is somewhat on the outside play the field..leaves room 4 anything..

    August 4, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  31. Carolyn -Austin TX

    Kim Jong II not healthy, needing to save face in his country. I hope this will ease the situation for all.

    August 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  32. Jessica

    Kudos for Pres. Clinton to go get those girls himself. It would take an act of God to get them out and well, maybe this is the hand he uses to reach for them. I am very excited he will not come home empty handed.

    August 4, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  33. Joanne Pacicca

    You gotta love Bill Clinton. I guess I just don't get your irony.

    August 4, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  34. jenny rome ga

    Either that Candy or Bill Is extending an invitation for another beer summet at the White House.

    August 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm |