TODAY | November 20, 2012
>>> morning with the violence in the middle east and the breaking news overnight that secretary of state hillary clinton is now headed to that region. we have two reports from richard angel in gaza and chuck todd traveling with the president in cambodia. chuck, we'll start with you. good morning.
>> good morning, matt. well, this had originally been phone diplomacy that the president was practicing during the gaza conflict, almost on the phone daily with netanyahu of israel and mohamed morsi. the president was on the phone until 2:30 last night between president morrisey and benjamin netanyahu . after those phone calls he and secretary clinton huddled together. the decision was made to send secretary clinton in person so she heads to jerusalem. she's in the air now. that will be her first stop. one-on-one meetings with netanyahu and then it's off to ramallah, the palestinian authority . no direct talks with the hamas. the united states does not deal directly with terrorist organizations. then it's off to cairo and a meeting with president morrisey because it is the egyptian president that is the liaison, if you will in these talks with hamas. the goal is to create space, bide time, to see if they can prevent israel from doing a full-fledged ground invasion, seeing if they can get some sort of temporary cease-fire to create room for a more negotiated settlement. shuttle diplomacy is back.
>> what about the risk/reward in that? if she accomplishes something that's a great feather in her cap and the administration's, fanned she doesn't, does she come off as being ineffective?
>> reporter: well, there is a risk to this, and i talked to white house aides. i said, look, are you sending her in because you think there's something pre-cooked, that they have a possibility of pushing this over the finish line and getting it done. they admit it's not there. they feel it's needed to nudge things along. you're right politically. this could be a great way for secretary klinish to finish her four-year tenure at the state department . there's been some talk that she's not had that one big moment. this would be a big moment if she's the one that's there making this cease-fire happen, but there is a downside. if it doesn't happen and suddenly a full-fledged ground invasion, a whole new ball game.
>> chuck todd in cambodia this morning, thank you very much.