UPDATE 1-Clinton says budget deal critical to US global role, security

Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:33am EST
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* Clinton says regional leaders worried by U.S. budget crisis

* Says congressional leaders united on U.S. security, leadership

* Obama visit shows importance of Asia to U.S. thinking

By David Brunnstrom

SINGAPORE, Nov 17 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that reaching a deal to resolve America's budget crisis is critical to its global leadership and national security and would bolster efforts to project U.S. economic power around the world.

Speaking in Singapore during a tour of Asia and Australia, Clinton said that when she was in Asia last year during the height of debate about the U.S. debt ceiling, leaders from across the region asked her if the U.S. Congress would actually allow the United States to default on its debt.

"Let's be clear," she said. "The full faith and credit of the United States should never be in question."

However, Clinton, who spoke at Singapore Management University, said that with Washington gearing up for another round of budget negotiations, she was "again hearing concerns about the global implications of America's economic choices".

Clinton, who says she will step down as secretary of state early next year and has ruled out running again for the U.S. presidency in 2016, said she was now "out of politics".   Continued...