By Sam Youngman - 08/18/09 11:45 AM EDT
Both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton will be at the White House Tuesday, though their paths are unlikely to cross.
The ex-president is scheduled to return to his former residence to debrief President Barack Obama on his talks and meetings with North Korean President Kim Jong Il.
Hillary Clinton will not be attending the Obama-President Clinton meeting, said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. She will instead be meeting with the foreign minister of Colombia.
Hillary Clinton made waves last week when she gave a testy response to a student at a town hall in Kinshasa, Congo, who asked her what Bill Clinton would think about World Bank interference with Chinese contracts in his country.
“Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state. I am. So, you ask my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I’m not going to be channeling my husband,” Clinton retorted.
Video of Clinton’s sharply-worded answer was shown around the world, and overshadowed other developments about her trip. It also led to further media analysis about the relationship between the Clintons.
Bill Clinton had re-emerged in the international spotlight a week earlier with the trip to North Korea, delivering a diplomatic coup for the Obama administration.
Clinton made the trip after North Korea made it clear that a visit by the former president would win the release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, American journalists detained and sentenced to hard labor in the communist country. The journalists work for a news organization co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
Obama praised the former president’s actions, but the trip has been criticized by some conservatives, who said Clinton’s visit rewarded the hard-line North Korean government and gave it a claim to legitimacy.
The Obama administration, including Secretary of State Clinton, emphasized that Bill Clinton’s visit was not an official trip, though his team communicated with government officials. They also said the important thing was that it led to the release of Ling and Lee.
Gibbs said the discussion between the two men and a handful of aides and national security officials will likely not be disclosed. The White House will instead probably release a still photo of the meeting.