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Clinton responds on Kazakh issue

From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
     ST. LOUIS, MO, Feb. 3 -- In an interview this morning on Fox, Hillary Clinton sought to "set the record straight" -- in her words -- about a New York Times report that linked her husband to a Canandian financier.
     The paper reported last week that Bill Clinton helped Frank Giustra close a lucrative uranium mining deal while on a philanthropic trip to the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan and that Giustra later donated $31 million to the former president's foundation and pledged to donate even more.  
     When asked whether as president she would tell her husband to "knock off those kinds of dealings", the New York senator said the description of what had occured was inaccurate.
      "He went to Kazakhstan to sign an agreement with the government to provide low cost drugs for HIV/AIDS, a growing problem in Central Asia. While he was there he met with opposition leaders and certainly spoke out about the hopes that we have to have a good relationship with that country," Clinton said.
      The senator said she had been on record for many years as against the country's anti-Democratic government and had called for changes.
     "So I think that it's clear that I will stand on my own two feet. I will say what I believe and I will be a president who pursues policies that I believe will be in the best interest of our country," she said.
      In an odd response to a follow-up question about her husband praising the Kazakh leader, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, who has led the country for 19 years, and suggesting he could lead an international election-monitoring organization, despite her coming out against his anti-Democratic government, Clinton noted that Dick Cheney had also gone to the country to praise its regime.
     She went on to explain that she believed in using carrots and sticks in diplomacy and said these difficult issues required "seasoned leadership", especially in dealing with a region where the United States has many interests, from natural resources to fighting extremism.