Fact Check

Hillary Clinton Describes Her Major Accomplishments as Secretary of State

A statement reproducing Hillary Clinton's response when asked to identify her major accomplishments as Secretary of State is fabricated,

Published July 29, 2014

A statement reproduces Hillary Clinton's response when asked to identify her major accomplishments as Secretary of State.

Former First Lady and U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton served as U.S. Secretary of State for the first term of President Barack Obama's administration, stepping down from that position after four years — ostensibly to pursue a "new, lower-stress life," but in the eyes of many pundits Clinton declined to serve a second term in the Obama cabinet in order to better prepare for a 2016 presidential run of her own.

In mid-2014 many web sites began reproducing the quote referenced above, putatively a response given by Hillary Clinton on 11 March 2014 to a reporter or interviewer who asked her to identify her major accomplishments during her time as Secretary of State. Clinton's supposed answer was a stream of words that conveyed no tangible accomplishment or anything specific; just a vague doublespeak sense of "We did things differently than those other guys."

Hillary Clinton made no such statement, however. None of the numerous reproductions of this quote makes any mention of whom Hillary Clinton was speaking to when she allegedly said it or identifies the specifics of the setting in which it was supposedly uttered. (Where did this event take place? Was it a speech or an interview? Who asked her the question? What else did Hillary say on that occasion?)

We've found no record of Clinton's having engaged in any public appearance or interview on 11 March 2014 during which she might have said what is attributed to her, nor any news account or transcript that references such a quote (from that date or at any other time). As well, the quoted words apparently didn't begin showing up on the Internet until months after they were supposedly spoken, rather than immediately afterwards.

Hillary Clinton did sit for an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer which aired on 9 June 2014, after which she was criticized by some commentators (as she had been before) for not being able to provide a succinct or definitive answer when questioned about her top or proudest accomplishments as Secretary of State. But nothing like the passage quoted above was spoken by Clinton during that ABC interview.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.