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August 4, 2009

Bill Clinton in North Korea to help jailed US journalists

Posted: 07:51 AM ET

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton landed in North Korea early Tuesday on a mission to negotiate the release of two American journalists imprisoned there since March, according to the country's state news agency and a CNN source.

The North Korean news agency KCNA did not disclose the purpose of the visit in its three-line dispatch. But a source with detailed knowledge of the former president's movements told CNN late Monday that Clinton was going to seek the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, both reporters for California-based Current TV - media venture launched by Clinton's former vice president, Al Gore.

Meeting Clinton were the vice president of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly, Yang Hyong Sop, and Kim Kye Gwan, the vice foreign minister, KCNA reported, adding that "a little girl presented a bouquet to Bill Clinton."

NOTE: Laura Ling's husband, Iain Clayton, was on LKL back in May and wrote this EXCLUSIVE LKL WEB COMMENTARY for us – read it HERE

Filed under: Bill Clinton • International • North Korea


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Honorine   August 4th, 2009 10:43 am ET

This is something MJ wanted to do and having Clinton take a step ahead will just make MJ smile in heaven. MJ said "...if somebody wants to do something, they can do it......"


peter   August 4th, 2009 12:27 pm ET

He IS the person who can help FREE the 2 lovely young women....now if he could help END the 2 wars,,taxes would not need to be raised...


Gloria   August 4th, 2009 3:27 pm ET

If anyone could get this done it would be our former president "Bill Clinton"
"God Bless"


carol kesling   August 4th, 2009 4:04 pm ET

god bless president bill clinton!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mark in St. Louis   August 4th, 2009 4:54 pm ET

He's the only one who could've done it. At lease he got something back for all the goodies he gave N. Korea in the 90s.


Glo   August 4th, 2009 5:12 pm ET

President Clinton is a hero. Hill and Bill make a wonderful couple and have everyone's interest at heart. Congratulations to the Obama Administration, HIllary and Bill for working together for the good of the journalists and diplomacy for the U.S. Great job!!!!


Linda in Phoenix   August 4th, 2009 5:14 pm ET

Way to go Bill!!! Negotiator in Chief!!!!!! Peace and Love have ruled the day!!!! Hopefully it will be contagious all over the planet!!! I am overwhelmed with joy for Laura and Euna and their families!!! A beautiful day indeed!!!


carol kesling   August 4th, 2009 5:46 pm ET

bill clinton is the epitomy of class!!!!!!! he still has a lot of clout,and he knows how to use it properly....


william   August 4th, 2009 6:59 pm ET

he is amazing! "when God made Bill clinton he broke the mold" ...


Roxanne   August 4th, 2009 7:11 pm ET

Bill Clinton for President!!


Susan   August 4th, 2009 7:30 pm ET

YES!!!!


Lin   August 4th, 2009 8:23 pm ET

BOY DO I LOVE THIS MAN IN A FATHERLY KIND OF WAY AND I AM GLAD HE WAS AND STILL IS MY PRESIDENT AS FAR AS I KNOW. HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD HAVE THIS JOB DONE. OH! WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN IF OPRAH HAD KEPT HER MONEY TO HERSELF AND DID NOT BRIBE PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR OBAMA. OH! WHAT A COUNTRY THIS COULD HAVE BEEN. WE ARE NOW OVER OUR HEADS WITH MORE THAN A TRILLION IN DEBTS, NO JOBS AND THE LOUD MOUTH ELITISTS ARE STILL SAYING "THE CLOWN" IS DOING A GOOD JOB. WHERE? IN WHICH COUNTRY IS HE DOING A GOOD JOB. NEXT TIME I VOTE REPUBLICAN UNLESS HILLARY RUNS AND I WILL NOT CARE WHO IS RUNNING. ANYONE ELSE IS BETTER THAN THIS.

THIS IS HOW IT IS DONE FOLKS. NOT TALK US TO DEATH. JUST PURE ACTION. I KNOW NOW THE KOOL AID DRINKERS WILL SAY "THE CLOWN" WAS WORKING BEHIND THE SCENE. YEA RIGHT! HE CANNOT EVEN GET ECONOMY GOING, HE WILL KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT DIPLOMACY. TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK WITHOUT NO SUBSTANCE. THAT IS WHAT WE ELECTED THIS TIME. PLEASE PEOPLE LETS GET OUR NATION BACK TO FLOURISH AGAIN AND LEAVE THE ELITISTS ALONE TO GO PLAY CRICKET IN THE BACKYARD OF HARVARD.

THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT CLINTON. "NOW I AM PROUD AGAIN TO BE AN AMERICAN." RIGHT, MITCHELL!


Lin   August 4th, 2009 8:31 pm ET

I MEAN MICHELE!


David   August 4th, 2009 9:03 pm ET

Bravo President Obama!

How about assisting poor Mr. David Goldman in retrieving his legitimate son back from the Brazilian authorities? It's only been a tragic story for YEARS!!!


Jan   August 4th, 2009 9:16 pm ET

Bill Clinton is the most effective communicator of any 20th century politician!


Kim Beard   August 4th, 2009 9:18 pm ET

Thank you Clintons. President Clinton you rock.


Mike   August 4th, 2009 9:18 pm ET

They should be fined several million dollars and any money they make from their experiences should be given to Bill Clinton for their rescue. This should include movies, books, etc.


Ishani,CA   August 4th, 2009 9:19 pm ET

I am so thanksful for Obama Admin. for this achievement!!


Wendy, Ontario, Canada   August 4th, 2009 9:27 pm ET

This is what can happen with diplomacy. President Obama's way of governing will get much respect from the rest of the world. What a great change from the Bush presidency when there was so much negativity & violence. President Clinton deserves much credit & thanks for working with this administration to accomplish the release.


JN   August 4th, 2009 9:27 pm ET

Bill Clinton in North Korea to help jailed US journalists:

Yes, Bill Clinton saved the life of two girls. This opened up the gate to have good relations with N. Korea. Now it is left to Obama government to treat N. Korea's President. Keep up good work. Likewise with Iran.


agnes   August 4th, 2009 9:28 pm ET

Thank goodness for Bill Clinton...he is so good at what he does. That is why we had him as president for 8 years. Congratulations on a successful intervention. Much happiness to the families.


Steve Williams   August 4th, 2009 9:33 pm ET

So much for the U.S. not negoiating on hostages. More American weakness.


Angie   August 4th, 2009 9:33 pm ET

No denying the fact, Bill Clinton is a true STATESMAN!


Cynthia Leland   August 4th, 2009 9:34 pm ET

Former President Bill Clinton has not been president in many years. It is utterly rude and disrectful to refer to him as The President and President Clinton and in the same breath refer to President Obama's Administration as The Obama Administration


Akinbowale   August 4th, 2009 9:35 pm ET

This is another victory for the Obama administration, kudos to you Bill Clinton. You are a great hero.


Maria Robledo   August 4th, 2009 9:37 pm ET

Very good job, EX- President Clinton, very courageous-heroic, still contributing to helping our country USA, by representing us , Americans abroad, face to face like it should be as honarable citizens, and to peacefuly communicate with North Korea President, thank s to him too, in being flexible inperhaps ledding this one slide, if he were to see our borders, he would understood us better, I say this with all respect. We proceed similar, charges are not removed if someone gets caught crossing that border illegaly. Peace for all.Thanks to both countries for proceeding to take action intelligently! Maria Robledo
- and thanks for our freedom to write this, now on the internet!! that's progress


Susan   August 4th, 2009 9:37 pm ET

Have you ever considerd that Bill Clinton also may have done this for his Vice President , Al Gore, and for his network for whom the girls reported?


Renee'   August 4th, 2009 9:39 pm ET

I am so happy for everyone in the Ling family and Lee family. Because being in a strange place where you don't know anyone and no family is very difficult. Now everyone can help one another to heal.


Kaaren Hendrickson   August 4th, 2009 9:41 pm ET

Would someone please tell the gentleman from New Mexico to see a doctor. It worried me to hear him gasping for air. Sounded like he was having much difficulty breathing. I have enjoyed his comments on other shows, and found this to be not normal for him. Hope he's okay. Love the show. Can't say enough about it!


Laura   August 4th, 2009 9:41 pm ET

and this is why Bill Clinton is forgiven.....


David Noel   August 4th, 2009 9:44 pm ET

What happened to the people who helped the american journalists sneak into N.Korea


John H   August 4th, 2009 9:45 pm ET

Great News and credit to President Clinton. I wasn't a particular fan during his presidency but I am beginning to really like him. As for American Citizens who seem to have a habit of wandering too close to nations who don't particularly like us, try staying away. Now we have the three hikers in Iran charged with being members of the CIA. If they stopped going places like that, we would be able to focus on more important things. I am probably behind the times news wise but what ever happend to the American Soldier captured in Afghanistan a few weeks ago? Last I saw was the Al Quaida video but nothing since.


Marvin G   August 4th, 2009 9:45 pm ET

What about those hikers in Iran. Every time an American screws up are we going to send Ex President Clinton to the rescure. This is North Korea's way of embarassing Secretary of State Clinton and our country as a whole. This was a losing proposition for our country all the way caused by 2 journalists who screwed up. They should pay the penalty for their mistake. This is like giving in to terrorists by proxy (an Ex President of the USA having to go to the rescue every time an American crosses illegally into another country)is ridiculous. Is it just because they are journalists? What about our Patriot Soldier who is still in Taliban hands? Send Bill


Elizabeth from Monaca, PA   August 4th, 2009 9:56 pm ET

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON, WHAT A PRINCE OF A MAN WITH A HEART OF GOLD!! IT SURE WARMS THE SOUL TO HEAR A STORY LIKE THIS. KEEP UP YOUR GOOD HUMANITARIAN WORKS MR. PRESIDENT!!


Jan   August 4th, 2009 10:17 pm ET

All former presidents, vice presidents, speakers-of-the house, senators, governors, secretaries, representatives, Supreme Court justices, ambassadors, et al; are entitled to be addressed as such. They are only addressed as EX if they have been legally removed from their posts.
This is simple ettiquette.


roberto   August 4th, 2009 10:30 pm ET

can Pres Clinton help end the 2 wars..so many lives lost..maybe 4500 ? what was GWBush thinking ? glad he's gone..but look what he left for Pres Obama ...sadly ...


cathleen daly   August 5th, 2009 12:03 am ET

I would like to know, in a case like this where two journalists slipped across the North Korean border illegally, who pays for the enormous cost to get them out? Thanks, Cathleen


Alexis   August 5th, 2009 12:10 am ET

Larry, it's FORMER President Bill Clinton. I like Clinton, but I have listened to you call him "President Clinton" numerous times now. I'm still watching your show, but if you don't correct this, I'm turning you off for good. We have only one president. His name is Obama.


Karla Clark   August 5th, 2009 12:12 am ET

Congratulations to Bill Clinton and our government for securing the release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling. It was a long time coming for their families and I am relieved and joyous for them.


Kim in KY   August 5th, 2009 12:15 am ET

I find it fascinating that Mr. Clinton went over and accomplished the one thing no one else has done. Absolutely fantastic. He should be getting a standing ovation. Welcome home ladies.


Michael   August 5th, 2009 12:18 am ET

I dont agree with N.Korea but these two women got what they asked for. They poked a stick at a hornets nest and got stung they should be greatful that they did not lose their lives. Dont go to someone elses country and make a problem and act like a victim. We as Americans do not appreciate or will tolerate some other country doing it to us why would another nation tolerate this type of disrespect. President Clinton I believe is a good man and is still helping his people, these two women should be kissing and bowing at his feet for his action to save their lives. I dont believe neither one of them are heros nor courages but foolish woman who should no their boundaries. Do not take this as sexist because their was that other idiot who swam across the river in Burma and made thing worst for that poor woman.


Michael   August 5th, 2009 12:28 am ET

Bill Clinton a mans man.


michele   August 5th, 2009 12:29 am ET

Thanks to Bill Clinton. I knew he could do it. He's the man.


Rob   August 5th, 2009 5:50 am ET

Come on people, focus on the ball. What is the difference between a korean-american businessman who illegally enters North Korea and tries to do business in Nort Korea without its permission and those two Korean-chinese-american girls who did just the same in exchange for fame? There are no differences! How did they get Bill's attention? Perhaps the attrative Ling girl who used to host the view offered "something" Bill could not say no to.


joe ike   August 5th, 2009 6:49 am ET

if the US were in the position of N. Korea would they have released the journalists.The US should learn a hard lesson from this and try to soften on issues of this nature in future with other countries rather than taking a hard stand on the laws of the US. Kudos to ex president Cinton and the Obama administration for a diplomatic work well done.
Joe Ike- Nigeria.


Mark in St. Louis   August 5th, 2009 9:13 am ET

bill clinton is the epitomy of class!!!!!!! he still has a lot of clout,and he knows how to use it properly…. especially in the oval office with a white-house staffer on her knees.


ted   August 5th, 2009 9:20 am ET

Our President Obama shows that with a friendly gesture and words you can accomplish more than with shaking a fist at someone and calling them dirty names.
Although it was former President Clinton who took the trip to get those women, this was already set up and agreed upon before he entered the country. Now Bill Clinton, there are other Americans held captive much longer than those two, are you going to get them all? Or is this a show, just beacuse they have a high profile?
I personally did not feel sorry for them, they got what they asked for. The sister did the same, sneaked into NK under a disguise to get a report and broke a lot of local laws. It would be time to start respecting other countries and their laws, being an American journalist does not give you the right to do anything you feel like.


vallary   August 5th, 2009 10:07 am ET

WHY didn't Obama go over and have a beer! You seen more that Gates story than this. than you did about these two reporters. Now when it first happen it was all over the news. then when they got sentenace that was it. I am glad they are back home safe and sound. but, OBAMA WHERE"S THE BEER


Marvin G   August 5th, 2009 12:04 pm ET

WAKE Up America. This was a photo op for North Korea. Everybody looks at Kyong Jong Il as healthy,nice, and smiling now that he has freed the Americans. He wanted a high profile politician that is sympathetic to their needs to come over and it was Clinton. He requested it not Obama. President Obama I'm sure was upset when Hilary screwed up and more so after Kyong requested her husband to come over and save the day. We played right into that hated dictator's hands and he won the world and we get back 2 journalists who broke the law.


Ed   August 5th, 2009 2:22 pm ET

Looks like Bill can still pick up women!!!


Mary G. from Michigan   August 5th, 2009 4:37 pm ET

Bill you stil have it in you ... THERE is not one day that goes by that I dont miss you as President ... I saw past your mishaps... YOU are the most brilliant awesome Chief negotiator ...GOD Bless you
You will always be number one in my heart ..
President Obama take notes...Three heads are always better than one
Go DEMS !!

Larry can we have him on the show ???


Patricia   August 5th, 2009 5:24 pm ET

North Korea sentences 2 americans 12 YEARS of hard Labor for entering their country illegally!!!! What!! You mean they didn't get free food stamps, free medical, free funding, driver's licenses, a job, etc, etc, etc...
Hmmmmmm
Maybe the USA should follow their example.


Ted   August 6th, 2009 12:04 pm ET

Patricia, I am with you, the most stupid nation in the world must be....... guess who?


Mary G. from Michigan   August 6th, 2009 5:00 pm ET

Regardless he did it ..he brought them back get over it !!


Catherine Cordes   September 21st, 2009 9:14 pm ET

To Sir:
Here's to you. Bravo in North Korea.
Catherine Mary from New
Jersey


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