This week Secretary Clinton congratulated two countries, Qatar and Kazakhstan, on their important anniversaries. Today, Dec. 18, is Qatar's National Day, marking the anniversary of when Jassim bin Mohammed al-Thani came to power in 1878 and founded what ended up being the modern state of Qatar. Two days ago, Dec. 16, was the 19th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence from the Soviet Union. To mark both occasions, Clinton released the following statements earlier this week.
For Qatar (which earlier this month was celebrating its designation as host of the 2022 World Cup, as seen in the photo above):
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Qatar on your National Day this December 18.
The relationship between our nations has grown stronger and more dynamic over the past few years as Qatar and the United States work together to build a future that is more peaceful, more prosperous, and more secure for all our people. As partners, we have increased trade, promoted educational and cultural exchanges, and enhanced scientific and technological cooperation between our countries. I was honored to visit Doha earlier this year for the U.S.-Islamic World Forum to deepen the understanding between the United States and Muslim-majority nations, and to witness Qatar's rising presence on the global stage.
Under the leadership of His Highness Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Qatar has become an international leader in areas from investing in educational infrastructure to increasing agricultural productivity in arid regions. Your successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup is a further testament to Qatar's bright future.
I wish all the people of Qatar a joyous National Day celebration, and I look forward to finding new ways to strengthen the vibrant relationship between Qatar and the United States.
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of the Republic of Kazakhstan as you celebrate your independence on December 16.
The United States was honored to be the first nation to recognize an independent Kazakhstan and welcome you into the community of nations 19 years ago. Recently, I witnessed the great progress Kazakhstan has made during my visit to Astana for the first summit of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe in 11 years. Chairing the OSCE and hosting this summit are important milestones in Kazakhstan's ongoing development as a regional and world leader.
Kazakhstan has accomplished a great deal since independence. Our people have worked together to improve economic ties, chart a responsible and reliable energy future, ensure regional security, and reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. The United States also is proud to work with Kazakh civil society and private sector leaders as well as government officials to improve human rights and help build a more stable, secure, democratic, and prosperous world for all our citizens. The strategic partnership between our nations will continue to grow and deepen as we work together to fulfill the promise of a bright future for Kazakhstan and its people.
I wish the people of Kazakhstan a safe and happy Independence Day celebration.
MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images
Activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) donned cow and chicken costumes yesterday to greet nearly vegetarian Bill Clinton when he was in Manila, Philippines, to give a speech titled, "Embracing Our Common Humanity." The brown cow held a sign urging people to "Be Like Bill: Grill Veggies, Not Meat," and the yellow chicken bore a sign declaring, "Chicks Love Slim Vegan Bill."
"Bill Clinton is promoting healthy living, and we commend him for leading by example," a PETA leader told Deutsche Presse-Agentur. (The former U.S. president lost 24 pounds for daughter Chelsea's July 31 wedding by adopting a plant-based diet.)
JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images
Today, Oct. 26, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton turns 63 years young! Happy birthday!
Clinton was born Oct. 26, 1947, in Chicago to Dorothy Rodham and the late Hugh Rodham.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton is in Kosovo today, and many people there love the Clintons. In the capital, Pristina, Clinton visited an 11-foot statue of her husband Bill, who as U.S. president backed the 1999 NATO air campaign that stopped a crackdown by Serbian forces on Kosovo's ethnically Albanian majority. When he attended the unveiling of the statue last year, he was greeted with a giant cake bearing his portrait. And, both Hillary and Bill have been lauded on billboards in Pristina.
Update, 5:09 p.m.: At a "townterview" today, Clinton said the statue's bronze hair reminds her of how Bill Clinton looked when she first met him, back in the 1970s:
I have to say it's quite a statue. And my husband -- it still looks like he has bronze-colored hair, which I like. Because when I met him -- you know we've been married as of Monday 35 years -- so when I met him when we were in law school, he had very brownish, reddish hair. And the statue reminds me of that, so of course I like the statue. Nobody should paint it white. Don't paint it white. Keep it that color.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Just for fun, here's a list of 10 things that Secretary Clinton and Lady Gaga have in common, according to a lighthearted piece from the Collegian, the University of Tulsa's independent student newspaper. Elaborations of everything on this list are in the original article.
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton's husband Bill, the former U.S. president, appears to be taking it easy after Chelsea's wedding on Saturday. Yesterday he attended a baseball game at Yankee Stadium between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, as shown in the photo, in which he stands for "God Bless America."
The Blue Jays ended up winning 8-2.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Chelsea Clinton will be getting married on July 31 somewhere within a three-hour drive of New York City, "sources" have told New York Magazine. But the 400 wedding guests won't know the exact location until a week before, with an anonymous major fundraiser for the Clintons saying, "The wedding planner will contact each guest directly a week in advance and let them know where it is."
The fundraiser said the Hamptons are probably out of the question due to traffic congestion and speculated the nuptials might be in Dutchess or Westchester counties, possibly on the property of a Clinton supporter.
Meanwhile, StyleList posted the following on its site yesterday:
Sources tell StyleList exclusively that Chelsea Clinton's wedding dress is indeed being made by Vera Wang, the go-to gown-maker for many celebrities and socialites on their big day.
"They're putting the dress together right now, and it's taking some time," says an insider. A rep for Vera Wang did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment.
KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton won't just be doing diplomacy this summer -- she'll be doing weddings! As most people know, daughter Chelsea is getting married, and Clinton is an excited MOTB.
Less well known is that Clinton is hosting a party June 30 at her Washington home for her "body woman," Huma Abedin, and Abedin's fiancé, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), as reported by the Washington Post's Al Kamen.
Correction: The information in this post was originally credited to the Politico, but I have since learned that the Washington Post's Al Kamen broke the news about the party for Abedin. The post has been corrected. I also deleted a reference to Chelsea's wedding being on July 31 because it turns out that date might be incorrect. I regret any inconvenience.
Secretary Clinton and Nancy Reagan have tied for best U.S. first lady since 1974, according to a recent survey by Angus Reid Public Opinion. Clinton and Reagan each received 19 percent, while current first lady Michelle Obama received 15 percent. (In the November 1997 photo above, then first lady Hillary Clinton stands with, from left, former first ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, and Nancy Reagan.)
There was a split among male and female respondents. Among women, the survey results were: Obama (20 percent), Clinton (18 percent), and Reagan (14 percent). Among men, the survey results were Reagan (24 percent), Clinton (20 percent), and Laura Bush (11 percent).
(The online poll, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent, questioned 1,016 American adults from May 13 to 14, 2010, and was statistically weighted to be demographically representative of the United States.)
JOHN MOTTERN/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. State Department/Flickr
Secretary Clinton had a minor laugh attack toward the end of the news briefing she had with Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Wednesday. Based on the video (between about 23:05 and 23:35 into it), the hilarious "P-P-P" of Qureshi appears to have provoked Clinton's laughter:
And today, thirdly, you know, the secretary mentioned the private sector, the vibrance of the private sector. Let me share with you that today at the State Department, we had a P-P-P conference. Let me qualify that -- public-private partnership conference. [Laugh attack.]
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
State Department photo / Public Domain (Flickr)
While Secretary Clinton jets around the world using her star power in high-level diplomacy, she has another, more personal, responsibility she's keeping in mind: Chelsea's wedding!
Husband Bill Clinton did a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest yesterday and said he's leaving the details of daughter Chelsea's wedding up to "Chelsea and her mother." He added, "They're having a good time doing it."
When it comes to his wedding responsibilities, Bill Clinton told Seacrest, "I'm just supposed to walk her down the aisle and pay the bills."
When asked if he'll cry at the wedding, Bill Clinton said, "Probably."
Early this month, Secretary Clinton told CNN's Candy Crowley that she's "very proud" to have the "status" of "MOTB" (mother of the bride) and that neither she nor Chelsea had found dresses yet for the wedding, expected this summer, to Marc Mezvinsky.
When asked by Crowley which was more difficult, Middle East peace or wedding planning, Clinton said with a laugh, "I'd probably call it a draw about now."
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Just for fun, here's an edibly sweet version of Bill Clinton, who was in Pristina, Kosovo, yesterday for the unveiling of a larger-than-life statue of himself on a boulevard named after himself. Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority holds Clinton in high esteem for his role in the 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, which helped stop the Serbian forces' crackdown on ethnic Albanians.
Photo: Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images
The Halloween mask above is supposed to be Secretary Clinton. It's on sale at a store called Party Warehouse in Silver Spring, Md. Perhaps Samantha Power -- the former Obama advisor who called Clinton a monster -- might want to purchase one.
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
Although Clinton has been busy promoting peace in Northern Ireland and reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, she was able to make time to broker a peace between late-night comedian Conan O'Brien and Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., who was recently offended by one of Conan's jokes. In a video clip, Clinton attributed the squabble to Conan's recent head injury. The transcript it here.
No matter what the National Examiner says, Hillary and Bill Clinton celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary this Sunday. The two married Oct. 11, 1975, in their home in Fayetteville, Ark. Secretary Clinton will be in Europe, but this year isn't the first time their busy schedules have kept them apart on their anniversary.
Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images
Check out the signs in front of Secretary Clinton in the photo above: "President" and "United States."
Secretary Clinton got to preside over a session of the U.N. Security Council today because the United States holds the rotating presidency this month. She called for a vote on a resolution to end wartime sexual violence, and it passed unanimously.
Then in a speech, she declared:
Even though women and children are rarely responsible for initiating armed conflict, they are often war's most vulnerable and violated victims."
She also said:
The dehumanizing nature of sexual violence doesn't just harm a single individual or a single family or even a single village or a single group; it shreds the fabric that weaves us together as human beings."
After Clinton ended the speech, a humorous moment (captured on this video) ensued. She said, "I resume now my function as president of the council. I kind of like being a president. So this may go on a little longer than anticipated."
The diplomats laughed, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, "Thank you, Madam President."
In other Clinton-related news, American essayist and political activist Gore Vidal has revealed that he regrets shifting his support from Clinton to Barack Obama during last year's Democratic presidential primary. In an interview with The Times of London, he said he thinks Clinton would have been a better president and said:
Photo: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
Hillary knows more about the world and what to do with the generals. History has proven when the girls get involved, they're good at it. Elizabeth I knew Raleigh would be a good man to give a ship to."
Today is a bit of a slow day for Secretary Clinton news -- she has been on vacation -- so for fun I thought I'd share an issue of the National Examiner I saw at the grocery store checkout line on Sunday. The article (not available online) reports that unnamed sources are saying that "the former first couple has finally decided to separate and remain married in name only."
Clinton is supposedly enraged that husband Bill, a former U.S. president, has been stealing her spotlight, such as when he rescued imprisoned journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee from "evil dictator Kim Jong Il." An "insider" told the Examiner that the secretary told Bill, "You've upstaged me for the last time," and then the couple agreed to secretly separate.
As for a divorce, there's no way that'll happen before daughter Chelsea gets married. A source told the Examiner:
"They wouldn't do that to Chelsea. … They'd want to be a couple on her wedding day for her sake. … I think eventually they will divorce, but not until Hillary is done with her political career. Even though Bill continues to outshine her, she still needs him."
There you have it, from a trusted news source.
Photo: National Examiner, cover of Sept. 7, 2009 issue
Comedian Conan O'Brien's Clinton jokes last night:
Yesterday in Africa, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost her temper at a college student when he asked her a question about her husband's opinion on a certain issue. She got mad. I can understand why she got upset, because the question was, 'Who's hotter? Megan Fox or Eva Longoria?'"
(Bill Clinton's birthday, by the way, isn't until Aug. 19.)
No, both Clintons, all over the news. While Hillary's in Africa, Bill Clinton's in Las Vegas celebrating his birthday," which "begs the question … why is Bill the one who woke up 10 feet from a goat?"
A few tidbits of Hillary-in-Africa news, the first a lighthearted piece:
•Referring to a Kenyan man's offer of 40 goats and 20 cows for Chelsea as his bride, Clinton said she would convey the "very kind offer" to her "very independent" daughter.
•Clinton meets with Somalia's president in Nairobi, Kenya, today.
•Clinton hailed India as a model of democracy for Africa, saying that the country's 1 billion-plus people "have figured out how to run an election where the results can be surprising and unpredicted but accepted." For more about elections in the world's biggest democracy, check out the FP photo essay, "The World's Biggest Election."
•Clinton said it's a "great regret" that the United States is not part of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Her husband Bill had signed the ICC treaty, but Congress never ratified it and Bush didn't care for joining.
Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Last night comedian Conan O'Brien joked:
Hillary Clinton's in the news. She's recovering very well from her broken elbow. ... They revealed this today in the paper. As part of Hillary Clinton's physical therapy for her elbow, several times a day, doctors have her repeatedly squeeze a gelatinous ball. ... Yeah, although it was Hillary's idea to scream, 'Take that, you son of a bitch!'
Actress Hope Davis, left, will play Hillary Clinton in the forthcoming movie The Special Relationship, which will chronicle the relationship between U.S. President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the late 1990s. Originally, Julianne Moore, right, was to play Hillary Clinton, but she had to step down due to a scheduling conflict.
Who do you think looks more like Clinton? I vote for Davis.
Photos, left to right: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images, Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton has jazzed up her sling with the State Department's version of the Great Seal. It looks like the old Corflex logo has been covered up. One reporter remarked yesterday, "That’s a very stylish sling." Clinton replied, "Thank you for noticing."
A fuller view of Clinton:
Photos: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
At her press briefing yesterday, Secretary Clinton thanked everyone who has sent her get-well flowers, and she joked, "I'm engaged in a different form of arms control, I think. Quite challenging."
Here's what her arm looked like as of yesterday:
Above, Clinton speaks with Denis McDonough, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications.
Above, Clinton listens as President Obama meets with Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.
Above, a close-up of the sling, which appears to be this product from Corflex.
Photos, top to bottom: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images, SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images
I know some of you all don't want to get too fixated on Clinton's fashion choices, but she was wearing a distinctive scarf yesterday. Do any of you know anything about it?
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
As you may know, last week two FP bloggers, Stephen Walt and Daniel Drezner created lists of their recommended international relations-themed movies. Then yesterday, over at FP's sister publication Slate, writer Fred Kaplan respectfully disagreed with Walt's and Drezner's choices and listed some of his own picks in an article, "Hillary Clinton, Watch These Movies!"
Given her packed schedule, Secretary Clinton probably doesn't get much time to watch movies, but perhaps during those times when she's sidelined by allergies, she might be interested in popping one of the recommended movies into a DVD player.
At this morning's press briefing, a reporter asked acting department spokesman Robert Wood the following:
Hat tip: Laura Rozen at FP's The Cable
QUESTION: This is slightly odd, but the Secretary, in her two appearances this morning, appeared to be a little ill. Is she suffering from a cold or something? And I ask only because of the whole swine flu thing and the fact that she was in Mexico in March and the fact that a member of the – one member of the President’s delegation did come down with it.
MR. WOOD: Matt, you’ll be happy to know it’s just mild allergies. She suffers from mild allergies. That’s all it is.
Madam Secretary is an obsessive blog about all things Hillary Clinton. From her policies to her pantsuits, Madam Secretary delivers up-to-the-minute news, analysis, and gossip about America's top diplomat.