Secretary Clinton had some fun Saturday night, hosting a reception for the five recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, including Oprah and Paul McCartney. In her speech, the secretary of state even joked about WikiLeaks. After saying how extraordinary it was to meet such a breadth of talented artists, she said:
I am writing a cable about it, which I'm sure you'll find soon on your closest website.
In the photo above, Clinton poses with, from top left going clockwise: Michael M. Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; singer and songwriter Merle Haggard; dancer, choreographer, and director Bill T. Jones; songwriter and musician Paul McCartney; David M. Rubenstein, chairman of the Kennedy Center; George Stevens Jr., creator of the Kennedy Center Honors; producer, television host, and actress Oprah Winfrey; and composer and lyricist Jerry Herman.
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Secretary Clinton delivered a special message of support to LGBT teens yesterday in the wake of several suicides by American teenagers who were bullied for being gay or being perceived as gay. To all the teens out there who are bullied and feel all alone in the world, Clinton said, "Hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important." She told them, "Please remember that your life is valuable and that you are not alone."
She offered a message of hope, saying, "It will get better for you." She referred to the advances made by women and members of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities over the course of U.S. history and said the same progress is being made by gays and lesbians. "The story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves, but for all people," she said.
Clinton has long been a supporter of LGBT rights (10 years ago she was the first First Lady to march in a pride parade), and she declared in June that "Human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights." During her tenure as secretary of state, several LGBT-friendly policies has been enacted at the State Department, including equal benefits for same-sex partners of State Department employees, new regulations that make it easier for transgender Americans to amend their passports, and grants to help human rights advocates in other countries who are in danger due to their LGBT status or their work on LGBT issues.
Below is the video of Clinton's special message, with the text of the complete message pasted underneath.
Like millions of Americans, I was terribly saddened to learn of the recent suicides of several teenagers across our country after being bullied because they were gay or because people thought they were gay. Children are particularly vulnerable to the hurt caused by discrimination and prejudice and we have lost many young people over the years to suicide. These most recent deaths are a reminder that all Americans have to work harder to overcome bigotry and hatred.
I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future: First of all, hang in there and ask for help. Your life is so important—to your family, your friends, and to your country. And there is so much waiting for you, both personally and professionally— there are so many opportunities for you to develop your talents and make your contributions.
And these opportunities will only increase. Because the story of America is the story of people coming together to tear down barriers, stand up for rights, and insist on equality, not only for themselves but for all people. And in the process, they create a community of support and solidarity that endures. Just think of the progress made by women just during my lifetime by women, or ethnic, racial and religious minorities over the course of our history —and by gays and lesbians, many of whom are now free to live their lives openly and proudly. Here at the State Department, I am grateful every day for the work of our LGBT employees who are serving the United States as foreign service officers and civil servants here and around the world. It wasn’t long ago that these men and women would not have been able to serve openly, but today they can—because it has gotten better. And it will get better for you.
So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone. Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength. Count me among them.
Take care of yourself.
Justin Sullivan/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
While in Hanoi today, Secretary Clinton received this portrait of her and daughter Chelsea, created by Vietnamese artist is Dao Trong Cuong. (I think this person might be the same one who created these portraits of world leaders.)
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton visited the Expo 2010 world's fair in Shanghai this Saturday, where you could hear "scattered calls" of "We love you, Hillary!" according to the Washington Post. Above, she greets Haibao, the Expo's mascot. Below, she checks out the logo-festooned USA Pavilion.
U.S. law makes government funding of an American pavilion difficult, so Clinton used her fundraising skills to bring in private money for the USA Pavilion. (See the March FP article, "A Sorry Spectacle." For fairness, check out the rebuttal piece "Defending the USA Pavilion.")
The result: an ugly USA Pavilion.
After mentioning that "corporate America" ponied up $60 million, the Washington Post describes the USA Pavilion this way:
[The USA Pavilion] resembles more a convention center in a medium-size American city than a national showcase -- a warren of dark rooms with movie screens that pales in comparison to the ambitious pavilions of, among others, Saudi Arabia, which features the world's biggest Imax screen, and Germany, festooned with hundreds of giant red balls.…
In addition, the message Clinton experienced at the American pavilion was so larded with corporate advertising that even some of the visiting U.S. officials appeared to have been taken aback.
One film on the creative power of children featured interviews with representatives from corporate powerhouses Chevron, General Electric, Pepsico and Johnson & Johnson, with Habitat for Humanity and the University of Washington thrown in for good measure. That film was aired in the Citicorp room.
A film featuring a girl making her dreams come true and song lyrics that went, "You've got a dream, so plant it in your heart.… You can make it bloom so all the world will see," flashed this message in Chinese on the screen as it was ending, "This film was made by Pepsi."
Still, the USA Pavilion has proved popular among the Chinese. (The pavilion doesn't mention anything about democracy and freedom of expression, with the head of the pavilion's steering committee telling the Post that a main goal was not to be "insulting" to the Chinese.)
When asked her opinion of the Expo in its entirety, Clinton appeared moved and said,"It's so much of a tradition of these expos, all the way back to St. Louis or New York.… It's like a coming-out party for countries and cities. There's a real historical significance."
Asked about the USA Pavilion in particular, she said less enthusiastically, "It's fine."
Well, if corporate America paid for it, then it only makes sense that it should be a "corporate America" pavilion.
Photos: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
In recent days, Secretary Clinton has offered six New Year's greetings:
In Thailand, the recent political violence hasn't stopped people from celebrating the three-day Songkran new year holiday, which began yesterday and features soaking people with water as part of the festivities. In the photos above and below, Thais and tourists celebrate yesterday on Bangkok's Khaosan Road, a spot popular with backpackers, which as recently as Saturday night was the site of violence, with Thais and tourists seen examining bullet holes and blood on Sunday.
Photos: Luis Ascui/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton unveiled a statue of 19th-century American poet Walt Whitman at Moscow State University today. The statue -- from the D.C. mayor -- reciprocated a statue of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin that was presented to the U.S. capital from the Moscow mayor in 2000. The Pushkin statue stands on the campus of George Washington University, at 22nd and H streets NW.
Many people think Whitman was gay, and Russian gay-rights activists had called on Clinton to denounce anti-gay attitudes. Clinton did not mention gay rights in her brief remarks at the unveiling, but she has definitely done much to promote human rights and openness during her visit to Russia.
Photo: Valeriy Yevseyev, U.S. State Department
Last week, Secretary Clinton was promoting a U.N. resolution to protect girls from sexual violence. Yesterday, she received a letter from the French and Polish foreign ministers requesting that the United States drop its extradition demand for Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski, who was detained in Switzerland Saturday for sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977 (a crime to which he pleaded guilty back in the 1970s).
Clinton must protect the interests of girls (and children, more generally) and do all she can to bring this child molester to justice.
The legal process for extraditing Polanski is primarily in the hands of the state of California, where the crime occurred, and the U.S. Justice Department, said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley at yesterday's press briefing. The State Department's role will simply be to ensure that California's formal extradition request meets the terms of the United States' extradition treaty with Switzerland, Crowley added.
For more about why Polanski must be brought to justice, check out Eugene Robinson's op-ed in today's Washington Post.
Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images
Actress Hope Davis, who'll be playing Hillary Clinton in the forthcoming film The Special Relationship, has a makeup team that is doing a surprisingly good job at making her look like the former first lady (the movie takes place from the mid-1990s to 2000). Davis told the New York Times that she uses wigs, false teeth, and pantsuits made "exactly to spec" to transform herself into a Clinton look-alike.
The hard part, though, is Clinton's accent. Davis told the Times, "Her accent has changed a bit over the years. In 1992, when she became first lady, she had quite a bit of Arkansas still in her speech from her 13 years there. That’s really gone now. So her accent has kind of shifted over time but she’s lived in very different places. So that became tricky."
Check out the thumbnail image above from the Times. She really does look like Clinton!
Photo: Thumbnail from New York Times, Steve Forrest for The New York Times
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
Iranians flocked to the polls today to elect one of four men as their next president. Top advisors to one of the candidates, Mehdi Karroubi, a moderate, recently suggested that if he wins (which he likely won't), he should appoint a female foreign minister. Why? So she would be able to shake hands with Secretary Clinton, something that would be taboo for a man to do.
[Mehdi Karroubi] recently debated with his team the number of cabinet posts women should fill. Mr Karroubi's top advisers lobbied for the Foreign Ministry, speculating that when relations with the US normalise, the new foreign minister could shake hands with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Not all Muslims, though, think it's improper for people of the opposite sex to shake hands. Below, Secretary Clinton shakes hands with Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, a Muslim, on Feb. 18.
Photo: ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images
Although everyone else will be craning their necks on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of Michelle and Barack Obama (or consolation prizes Jill and Joe Biden), I'm going to be looking over everyone's shoulders for Hillary. People made her just a little easier to spot today by publishing an interview with Oscar de la Renta, who designed Hillary's inaugural day look and her gown.
De la Renta says that her swearing-in outfit is in royal blue -- which is the color she wore for yesterday's goodbye speech. He decribes her gown for the balls thusly:
De la Renta says she will be "wearing a very, very beautiful dress…pink and grey with this beautiful embroidery."
I'll admit, I'm not the world's biggest fan of pink, but, then, neither is Hillary, so it must be something special.
In fact, one of the few times she's been photographed in pink was last year, in the infamous cleavage incident of 2007. Hillary, who has never been one for showing off her womanly attributes (though she should!), inspired vats of ink with one suit she wore to the floor of the Senate that showed an entire inch of cleavage. It hasn't been seen since.
De la Renta says that he and Clinton often argue about showing off cleavage or her shoulders, as she feels uncomfortable subjecting herself to the potential for criticism for doing so. But he, like me, is hoping she leaves her modesty-shawl at home and rocks out on Tuesday night with the rest of us.
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment
When Bill Clinton first became president, it was not an unusual occurrence for Hillary Clinton to be seen in a skirt. But around the time she started running for Senate, she became the First Lady of the Pantsuit -- and, like my former colleagues at Glamour magazine, I'm all for it in theory. Skirt suits are pretty cold in Washington (let alone New York) winters, stockings are hideous in the swampy summers and, goodness knows, I've heard enough anonymous Internet commenters talk about "cankles" to last me a lifetime (as if any of those people have seen their own ankles in years). So, I can only imagine how Hillary feels. For my part, I'm pretty sure her ankles are just fine.
Plus, as anyone in D.C. knows, this is a drab suit kind of town, so Hillary's penchant for the jewel toned-pantsuits (which replaced her earlier black-only uniform) is actually a step away from (and often above) the average. But, as someone with a similar body type as Hillary Clinton, I'd like to encourage her to discover something that many Washington women -- including her immediate predecessor, Condoleezza Rice -- have discovered: the skirt suit/knee-high boot combination.
Let it be said, however, that I'm not suggesting that Hillary put on a pair of Rice- or Palin-esque stiletto boots. Given her normal shoes (yes, I'm obsessed with her shoes, too), she has obviously chosen to stick with flats or kitten heels for her own reasons -- which could include the health of her joints and back, as my own mother reminds me when I wear heels. But, all need not be lost in the knee-high boots department this winter.
Plenty of knee-high boots come in flats or short heels and serve the same function as the high-heeled boot: to allow a woman to wear a skirt suit and still have covered legs in freezing temperatues (as Clinton's soon-to-be boss's inauguration is likely to be). Women of all ages, all over Washington are probably wearing such boots with their suits as I type this, and Hillary Clinton could certainly (and attractively) join their ranks. She might not set all the male hearts aquiver in Eastern Europe doing it, but I, for one, would applaud her.
Plus, then my mom would probably stop kvetching at me for wearing them.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images and Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
For a little mid-afternoon distraction, take the hilarious First Lady Fashion Quiz over at the NYT. Fun fact I just learned: The designer who designed Laura Bush's 2001 inaugural ball gown was then best known for designing the mini worn by the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.
As far as Hillary's past inaugural performances have gone, I much preferred 1997:
It's not the $8 million Hillary got to write Living History, but Laura Bush reportedly just landed a $1.6 million deal to write her memoirs. For that sum, don't expect a lot of dishing about George's years off the wagon.
Christmas was probably something of a lean affair at the Clinton household: Just before the holidays, campaign finance reports revealed that the Clintons wouldn't recover $13 million they had loaned to Hillary's campaign.
But there's still about $6 million in unpaid bills, and once Clinton is confirmed as secretary of state, she'll be barred from raising money to pay off the debt. That gives her just a few weeks to make a killing.
Enter Jon Bon Jovi. (No, really. It isn't like she could call the Boss. Or most of Hollywood.) The rocker is headlining a fundraiser at Town Hall in Manhattan on January 15 to benefit Hillary's debts. Tickets are going for $75 to $1K. You can't actually get tickets if you've already donated the maximum $2,300 to Hillary for President, so Hillary is looking for those she hasn't already tapped out and new donors. Given that this economic climate doesn't exactly inspire fat-check writing (or check writing of any kind), it remains to be seen if Clinton can whittle that balance down even close to zero.
Photo of Bon Jovi by Roger Kisby/Getty Images
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.