Kuala Lumpur: US Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Tuesday, she expects President
Barack Obama to stay the course on domestic and foreign
policy, even if Republicans make big gains, as expected, in
hotly contested congressional midterm elections.
On a visit to predominantly Muslim Malaysia, where she
was promoting religious and political tolerance, Clinton told
students and civic leaders that she had spoken to Obama by
phone on the eve of the vote, and joked that she thought he
seemed "a little envious" that she was abroad for an election
that may see Democrats lose control of Congress.
"I think he was a little envious that I am here,"
Clinton said, describing the phone call she and Obama had at 1
a.m. midday yesterday on Washington time.
But she said that even if the Republicans win
Congress, the Obama administration will pursue its agenda.
"The political winds blow back and forth but I think
you will find that President Obama is a pretty steady captain
of the ship,` Clinton said. "No matter what happens in our
election, you will see him ... continuing to promote his
agenda, which I think is right for America and right for the
Clinton is barred from partisan political activity as
America`s top diplomat, but said she personally thought Obama
is doing an "excellent job" in handling complex domestic and
foreign policy matters.
Turning to Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation that has
made great economic strides, Clinton urged that the country
keep to its traditionally moderate roots and reject extremism
while opening the political arena to all.
After the town hall meeting, Clinton met with
Malaysian leaders to boost counter terrorism and security
cooperation. Malaysia, which is providing medical services in
Afghanistan, has been supportive of those efforts and US
officials say they are keen to expand its role.
"Extremism is not a path to building sustainable
prosperity, peace, stability or democracy, it only promotes
conflicts and hardens hearts," she told reporters in a joint
news conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman,
who is promoting a Malaysian initiative to create a global
Clinton sidestepped a potentially volatile political
situation by deciding against having a face-to-face meeting
with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently on
trial for sodomy in what the U.S. and many others believe to
be a politically motivated prosecution. However, she said she
had raised the case with Anifah.
Clinton is visiting Malaysia in the midst of a
two-week, seven-nation journey through Asia that already has
taken her to Vietnam, China and Cambodia. From Malaysia, she
heads to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia.