Ever wonder about the complex logistics involved in coordinating an overseas trip by the U.S. secretary of state? If so, check out the National Geographic special, Inside the State Department, to air on Monday, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. U.S. Eastern and Pacific times. The National Geographic Channel followed Secretary Clinton for 20,000 miles as she traveled around the world, from New York to Pakistan, and places in between such as Morocco and Jerusalem. You'll see all sorts of behind-the-scenes stuff, such as bomb-sniffing dogs hard at work and the State Department's "gift vault."
A news release states, "The State Department's role on the world stage has never been more important and the stakes have never been higher. Its leader is arguably the most famous woman in the world, with a traveling staff providing 24/7 support. Now, the National Geographic Channel goes Inside the State Department to open a window into the efforts of the men and women representing critical U.S. interests abroad."
Clinton tells National Geographic, "This job is both a great privilege and an extraordinary challenge. We live on the balance beam of war and peace, of terrorism and stability, of poverty and prosperity."
Steve Hoggard, who filmed Clinton during her travels overseas, states in the news release, "It is astounding to witness the brutal 16- to 20-hour days worked by Secretary Clinton and her team.… They only get a few hours of sleep and are constantly working at a rapid pace traveling from one destination to the next. I have truly been in awe of what they do to represent our county across the globe."
Clinton will be delivering remarks at 7:30 p.m. today at the film's world premier at National Geographic's headquarters. Below are a couple of clips from the special:
Screen shot from National Geographic Channel, "Inside the State Department"
Describing Secretary Clinton as among a group of "luminaries," Foreign Affairs* announced today that America's top diplomat is a contributor to its next issue -- a special issue called "The World Ahead" on "trends and challenges that will shape the future and how the … global role of the United States will be transformed."
Here is a blurb from the news release (the bold is in the original):
Foreign Affairs latest issue looks, through the eyes of such luminaries as Hillary Clinton, Eric Schmidt, Richard Haass, and Roger Altman, at the trends and challenges that will shape the future and how the how the [sic] global role of the United States will be transformed. The issue's contributors reach some startling conclusions about a range of trends, including the widening chasm between China and the United States, the "fertility implosion" that will produce shortages of working-age populations in half the world, and the growing obstacles to cooperative approaches to solving global problems, such as climate change.
David Kellogg, the publisher, stated in the news release: "This special issue of Foreign Affairs has already raised the bar for the magazine - it is the first single-themed and largest issue ever produced. The cover has added a gatefold and dramatic cover graphics."
This special issue hits newsstands Nov. 2, so check it out if you want to read about Clinton's views on the next decade's most important trends.
*No, Foreign Affairs is not the same thing as Foreign Policy.
Image: Thumbnail from www.magazineline.com/magazineline/foreignaffairs.htm
It's two years until 2012, but a Hillary Clinton for president TV ad began airing Sept. 1 in New Orleans. The ad was paid for by Chicago dentist William DeJean, who told CNN, "I'm a dentist, and I don't think this country is headed in the right direction."
DeJean told CNN that the ad will also run in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, and maybe Houston. He picked New Orleans first because the city is his hometown, and he figures it's in the news a lot lately due to the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
The ad doesn't have a voice-over, just text that reads:
She has been a respected lawyer and United States senator…
She meets face to face with the world's most powerful leaders…
She was one of the first national leaders to begin the fight for real health care reform…
Her work as a leader in women's rights and equal rights is legendary…
She has more experience working in and with the White House than most living presidents…
She is one of the most admired women in our nation's history…
Let's make sure the president we should have elected in 2008 will be on the ballot in 2012…
Where there's a Hill, there's a way.
Toward the end, the ad features a photo of Clinton, and underneath it says, "Hillary 2012" and "Hillary Clinton for President."
At the very end, the bottom of the screen states, "No federal candidate has authorized this message."
DeJean is getting his hopes up. Clinton is "absolutely not interested" in the job.
(Update, 9:52 p.m., Sept. 2, 2010: The video above is the 60-second version of the ad; the 30-second version is here.)
In the Rolling Stone article that resulted in Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation today, Secretary Clinton is apparently the only nonmilitary person who gets McChrystal's respect. The Washington Post stated today:
Clinton comes off well in the article as the only non-military person who earns McChrystal's respect.
Only Hillary Clinton receives good reviews from McChrystal's inner circle. "Hillary had Stan's back during the strategic review," says an adviser. "She said, 'If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.' "
At yesterday's State Department press briefing, spokesman P.J. Crowley said Clinton has read the Rolling Stone article but not made any comment:
QUESTION: What does the Secretary make, if anything, of the fact that she appears to be the only one of the - in the senior national security team who comes out looking good, at least in McChrystal's view?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, she's - as did every member of the national security team during the course of the fall, she presented the President with her best advice on the strategy options. So did Ambassador Eikenberry. And she has read the article. Beyond that, she has not offered any particular comment.
QUESTION: She hasn't said anything to any of her staff that you're aware of?
MR. CROWLEY: No, she has not spoken to me about it.
Given how much civilian-military cooperation is needed for nation-building in Afghanistan, let's hope Clinton gets along well with Petraeus. Her position on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is summarized by the Washington Post as such:
An active participant in the internal debates, Clinton worried about Pakistan remaining a haven for terrorism no matter how many troops were sent, but eventually joined with Gates and Mullen to push for a more robust force. In doing so, she bucked the advice of the U.S. ambassador, who reports to her.
For more about how Clinton was the only person singled out for praise in the Rolling Stone article, check out yesterday's post on this topic.
KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images
Only Secretary Clinton is singled out for praise by Gen. Stanley McChrystal's officials in the Rolling Stone profile on the U.S. commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. In the article, McChrystal's aides call James L. Jones, the national security advisor, a "clown" who is "stuck in 1985" and refer to Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a "wounded animal." McChrystal, seen in the background of the Nov. 19, 2009, photo above, has apologized for the dismissive remarks about senior Obama administration officials.
The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog states:
Only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is portrayed as having strongly backed McChrystal's plan for Afghanistan, is singled out for praise by the anonymous McChrystal aides.
The Guardian states:
The article lists administration figures said to back McChrystal, including defence secretary Robert Gates and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gets good reviews from McChrystal's staff.
Seems like McChrystal's team is like the general American public in giving Clinton the highest rating among senior U.S. leaders.
Just last Friday, Clinton, in a news conference with the Danish foreign minister, made positive comments about progress in Afghanistan:
So we think that we're making progress. We know how hard it is. The Afghan military and police are improving, and we are working hard to provide the trainers and mentoring that they need. We are looking to see more results from some of the governmental reforms that we're expecting. But it is just not true that we haven't seen positive accomplishments. If you look at a lot of the indicators on education, on health, on government capacity, on agricultural output, on economic growth, on a revenue base for the country to function, there's a lot of positive indicators.
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton appeared on CBS's 60 Minutes yesterday and discussed the attempted bombing at Times Square, among other foreign-policy topics. Just like she did last year when she was visiting Pakistan, she said that somebody, somewhere, in the Pakistani government knows where Osama bin Laden is:
I'm not saying that they're at the highest levels, but I believe that somewhere in this [Pakistani] government are people who know where Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda is, where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is, and we expect more cooperation to help us bring to justice, capture, or kill those who attacked us on 9/11."
When asked by 60 Minutes' Scott Pelley why the Obama administration isn't putting more pressure on the Pakistani government to apprehend Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Clinton responded:
I have to stand up for the efforts the Pakistani government is taking. They have done a very significant move toward going after the terrorists within their own country."
On a lighter note, Clinton also talked about daughter Chelsea's upcoming wedding:
Secretary Clinton was on not one, not two, but three talk shows yesterday morning. They were:
While today's nuclear security summit is a step on President Obama's path toward reducing the world's stockpile of nuclear weapons, Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates made remarks that seem to be aimed at reassuring American defense hawks that the United States will not be weak on national security, especially in light of the new START treaty. A couple of Clinton's remarks on This Week:
[W]e'll be, you know, stronger than anybody in the world, as we always have been, with more nuclear weapons than are needed many times over. And so we do not see this as in any way a diminishment of what we are able to do."
Let no one be mistaken. The United States will defend ourselves, and defend our partners and allies. We intend to sustain that nuclear deterrent by modernizing the existing stockpile."
In the photo above, Clinton, Obama, and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel walk yesterday from the White House to the Blair House for bilateral meetings with world leaders who are in Washington for the nuclear security summit. Today, Clinton's schedule is packed with even more bilaterals.
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
After Canadians sounded off against Secretary Clinton this weekend, some have now come to her defense. Under the headline, "Hillary Clinton's 'fighting words' a plea to talk," the Toronto Star's deputy editorial page editor writes:
What was she thinking? And who does she think she is?
Forget the fulminations: at least Hillary Clinton knows her own mind. Canada, by contrast, doesn't quite know what to think about Afghanistan anymore. And doesn't want to talk about it.
Clinton's real motive was to go over the heads of [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper and [Foreign Minister Lawrence] Cannon to the Canadian people -- and get us talking about Afghanistan again. These weren't fighting words, nor even a finger-wagging lecture. This was a plea for straight talk between friends -- and among Canadians.
Another Canadian criticizes an April 2 political cartoon in Montreal's Gazette that accuses Clinton of being "pushy." The letter writer points out: "I hardly think a male politician would be demonized for being 'pushy' when he aggressively pursues an agenda he believes in."
Clinton is a gutsy tough-talker; she says what needs to be said.
ROGERIO BARBOSA/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton won't be able to attend President Obama's State of the Union address tonight because she's in London for a meeting about Yemen (today) and a conference on Afghanistan (tomorrow). She will, however, be featured on PBS tonight on Tavis Smiley Reports. It's supposed to air at 8 p.m. Eastern time, an hour before the State of the Union, but check local listings.
Here's what the news release that was emailed to me says (with my emphasis in bold):
A candid and revealing profile of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the focus of the first TAVIS SMILEY REPORTS, a series of four hour-long primetime specials premiering tonight on PBS. For this special program, Smiley leaves his studio chair in Los Angeles and goes on the road with Secretary Clinton. During the report - debuting one hour before the State of the Union in most markets -- Smiley and Clinton examine some of the country's defining moments, analyze the major events in President Obama's first year in office, and talk frankly about what's next for her career.
Smiley was granted exceptional access to Secretary Clinton and accompanied her on diplomatic missions abroad, to meetings on Capitol Hill, and within the State Department itself to give the American public an up close and comprehensive view of the inner workings of U.S. diplomacy and international relations. During the episode, Clinton discusses her relationship with the press, her thoughts on the surge in Afghanistan, and her views on how women are essential to improving developing economies.
In particular, Clinton notes a shift in attitude towards the United States since President Obama's election. She says: "Now, there's a lot of work to be done; we still face many threats and other issues that we have to deal with, but I think we've changed the tone, we've changed the attitude, and there's a great deal more openness to the United States."
Additionally, Clinton points out how reading the press' criticisms during her presidential campaign shed light on the larger issue of gender equity which needs to be improved across the U.S. She notes: "What I was not prepared for was a lot of the criticism that I thought had less to do with me and more to do with attitudes about women, that was surprising to me. I mean, it was 2007 and 2008, but you know, that's something we still have to work on in this country."
This is weird, but the New Zealand Herald has an online photo caption competition for a photo of Secretary Clinton at her swearing-in ceremony last year. She's on the verge of shaking hands with Vice President Biden in a photo similar to the one above. I'm not sure why the Herald selected an old photo of Clinton. Perhaps it's because she's traveling to New Zealand later this month?
Anyway, if you're the creative and humorous type, have a go at it. The best caption gets published in the print edition of the Herald.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton will be on a National Geographic Channel special called "Inside the State Department" that will air this spring. Cameras have been following Clinton as she has traveled to places such as Pakistan, Africa, and Jerusalem. They've recorded her meetings with officials and private moments. The special will also show the extraordinary efforts made to protect Clinton's securtity, as well as the IMAX-size video screens at the State Department Operations Center.
The specific airdate isn't available yet, but should eventually appear on the National Geographic Channel's website.
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
•Regarding the three American hikers detained in Iran who are to be tried there for espionage, Secretary Clinton today said: "[W]ith respect to the three hikers, we consider this a totally unfounded charge. There is no basis for it. … We appeal to the Iranian leadership to release these three young people and free them as soon as possible." (Will husband Bill have to fly over for a rescue mission, as he did with the American journalists detained in North Korea.)
•In remarks Friday at the American Pakistan Foundation's inaugural gala benefit, Clinton said, "Pakistan is a nation close to my heart," but added that the United States and Pakistan have a "trust deficit":
During my October trip, I experienced the skepticism felt by many in Pakistan about America's motives and commitment. This trust deficit holds us back from working together as well as we could and as well as we must."
•Clinton is featured in this month's issue of Vogue, with the headline "Her Brilliant Career" and an intro that reads, "As Obama's surprise (and reluctant) pick for Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton brings her star power and stamina to the global stage." Commentary is available at Slate's Double XX.
•A recent book about women in politics mentions Clinton in the subtitle: You've Come a Long Way, Maybe: Sarah, Michelle, Hillary, and the Shaping of the New American Woman.
•A Clinton supporter in Texas received a personal letter from the secretary of state that has motivated her to search harder for a "Hillary" bumper sticker to replace the one that was stolen off her car.
Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton, above talking with Pakistanis in Islamabad today, will be on PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer tonight (check local listings for the exact time). She was interviewed in Islamabad today by the NewsHour's Margaret Warner. I've read the transcript, and Clinton says a lot of important things about her time in Pakistan this week and U.S. and Pakistani efforts to go after extremists. I'm not allowed to post the entire transcript, but here's how the interview begins:
Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images
Warner: Secretary Clinton, thanks for being with us. Now you've been to Pakistan many times but never as Secretary of State, never at such a volatile time.
Warner: Was there anything unexpected that you found here? Something that you didn't imagine?
Clinton: Well, Margaret it, it wasn't that I found here anything unexpected. It was that I knew before I came that we had our work cut out for us, that there was a level of um, mistrust and misunderstanding uh that I wanted to tackle head-on. I have a great deal of admiration uh, for uh, the culture and the history and the struggle of the people of Pakistan. But what became clear in the time that I've been Secretary of State, is that there was an enormous number of questions about our motive, our intention, our actions that had been built up over the last 8 years. So I wanted to try to address those and go out and meet people and hear and listen and have a really, a good dialogue which I think we've had.
Secretary Clinton will be on ABC's Nightline at 11:35 p.m. (U.S. Eastern time) tonight. Her interview was taped earlier today in Moscow, and if you can't watch it, you can read an edited transcript here. In the interview, Clinton discusses important issues such as Afghanistan strategy and Iran. As the clip above shows, she also mentions that she "absolutely" would have asked Barack Obama to be in her cabinet had she been elected president last year.
Secretary Clinton hasn't been shy about pushing for human rights and openness in Russia. Yesterday she met with human rights activists and opposition journalists in Spaso House, the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Russia. Today, she did an interview on Ekho Moskvy radio (great photos here) in which she continued to press for human rights.
During the interview (transcript here), she said:
I have no doubt in my mind that democracy is in Russia's best interests, that respecting human rights, an independent judiciary, a free media are in the interests of building a strong, stable political system that provides a platform for broadly shared prosperity. We will continue to say that and we will continue to support those who also stand for those values."
Referring to the killing of journalists in Russia, which she discussed at Spaso House, Clinton said:
I mentioned the killings of journalists, and I said that this is a matter of grave concern not just to the United States, but to the people of Russia, and not just to the activists, but to people who worry that unsolved killings are a very serious challenge to order and to the fair functioning of society, and that we did not believe that enough was being done to make sure that no one had impunity from prosecution who might have been involved in any such criminal acts."
It's great that Clinton spoke up for human rights and didn't let realpolitik get in the way, as some accuse her of doing in China in February.
Photo: Valeriy Yevseyev, U.S. State Deptartment
GQ magazine has published a list of the 50 most powerful people in D.C., and Secretary Clinton is only No. 18! As my colleague Blake Hounshell writes at FP's Passport, it's a snub to rank her after CIA Director Leon Panetta, former Vice President Dick Cheney (who's no longer in office), and various members of Congress (such as Barney Frank). I guess it gets back to that whole low-profile question.
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.
Secretary Clinton was on NBC's Today show this morning. She made some boilerplate remarks that President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize due to "his attitude toward America's role in the world" and that the award is "not going to influence" his decisions regarding Afghanistan. (She of course has to say those kinds of things; Obama's her boss.)
Then Clinton addressed the thorn-in-her-side issue that she supposedly has too low a profile in the Obama administration. She said the claim was "absurd" and that it was "so at variance with what I do every day." (She did just save the day on the Turkey-Armenia accord and promote peace in Northern Ireland -- all in the one weekend after Obama won the Nobel.) She explained that U.S. foreign policy doesn't have to be "me, me, me" 24/7, stating:
Maybe there is some misunderstanding which needs to be clarified. I believe in delegating power. … I am not one of those people who feel I have to have my face in front of the newspaper and on the TV every moment of the day. … It's just the way I am. My goal is to be a very positive force to implement the kind of changes that the president and I believe are in the best interest of our country, but that doesn't mean that it has to be me, me, me all the time. I like lifting people up."
When asked if she'll run for president again, she laughed and simply stated, "no."
Video: Today show, NBC
A roundup of Clinton-related news:
•Former first lady Laura Bush expressed admiration for Secretary Clinton during a talk in Dallas on Monday:
Our [political] campaigns are so long and so brutal that the people who finally win are almost self-selected because they have emotional and physical stamina to run for office. As I watched Hillary Clinton during her run, I had and have a lot of admiration for her. It's tough every day. It's not just physical or emotional, but just the chance of saying one thing that gets blown up by the media."
•Clinton spoke with CBS' Katie Couric yesterday.
•"Criminality of the greatest degree" is how Clinton has described the rapes and killings by government forces in Guinea.
•Clinton met yesterday in Washington with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Medmood Qureshi, above, to discuss U.S. aid to the Pakistani government and the Afghanistan situation. Clinton stressed that the $7.5 billion Kerry-Lugar bill, which provides nonmilitary aid to Pakistan for five years and was approved by U.S. Congress last week, will not infringe on Pakistan's sovereignty.
Photo: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images
Last night, I was able to watch in person their interview at George Washington University and, as expected, they gave intelligent responses to important questions on Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. At the end, a young man -- presumably a GWU student -- screamed, "I love you, Hillary Clinton!" (You probably won't see that part on CNN.)
Clinton once again reiterated that she, Gates, and President Obama have a harmonious working relationship, saying:
Henry Kissinger … said that it was the first time that he found that the, you know, State Department, the White House, and the Defense Department mostly through Bob [Gates] and me and -- and General [James] Jones -- were all saying the same thing.
"Now that doesn't mean we don't have differences of opinion or see issues from slightly different perspectives, but we have an enormous amount of respect for each other, we listen to each other, and we work through, give our best advice to the president and then support the president's decision."
Referring to the recent talks in Geneva between Iran, the United States, and five other countries over Iran's nuclear program, Sesno asked, "Do you think the Iranians actually want to resolve this?"
Clinton candidly replied, "We don't know yet. We don't know."
When Sesno asked about criticism that the talks were just another way for the Iranians to buy time, Clinton responded:
Does it buy time? It buys time. It buys time for us to consider carefully their response, the sincerity of their actions, and, you know, we're moving simultaneously on the dual track. I mean, we always said we had a track of engagement, and we have begun that with this process, but we also said we would be working with like-minded nations and convincing others to stand ready with tougher sanctions were we not successful."
Meanwhile, Gates said on Iran:
The only long-term solution to this problem, at the end of the day, is the Iranians themselves deciding having nuclear weapons is not in their interest. And if we can't convince them of that, then an array of other options are open."
Also a giant, approving applause burst out when Gates said:
The American toolbox should contain something other than hammers."
To learn about the other tools that Gates and Clinton think should be in the toolbox, check out CNN today.
Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
Dick Morris -- who has something personal against the Clintons -- was at it again yesterday on Fox News' Hannity. His far-fetched analysis of Secretary Clinton's behavior is that it's all motivated by a desire to run against President Obama in the 2012 Democratic presidential primary. I don't need to explain how ridiculous his words are; just read them yourself:
Let me decode the Clintons these days for you. Have you considered it unusual that Hillary, the No. 1 spokesperson on health-care reform, the fundamental element of her curriculum, has never talked about the Obama health-care reform bill, is not campaigning for it, is not out there? And she's not out there on Afghanistan. … I think the Clintons are playing an act. I think that she's the industrious secretary of state following Obama's line but not saying anything about his areas of vulnerability, keeping her record clean, while Bill is out there promoting the Clinton name … so that if Obama's ratings drop into the 30s, she remains clean on Afghanistan and health care and she can run a primary against him."
Source: The Frontrunner, via Nexis
This weekend, the Washington Post (published by the Washington Post Co., which also owns Foreign Policy) ran a huge A1 story, "A Team Player Who Stands Apart," about Secretary Clinton. It says that Clinton is torn in two directions, between being a leader on signature issues such as women's rights and being a team player who works harmoniously with other members of the Barack Obama administration.
Those of you who are tired of the "Hillary in the shadows" theme probably won't be too crazy about this piece. Here's a taste:
By all accounts, she is the consummate team player and is often the best-briefed, most prepared person in the room. President Obama's aides say he values her advice and appreciates her dedication, dampening speculation that he and his erstwhile rival would not work well together.
But after eight months in office, Clinton, 61, sometimes seems torn between her inclination to lead and her need to function effectively within the administration, creating a certain tension between her aspirations and her status.
She has been prone to making pronouncements and blunt comments that have put her ahead of, or out of sync with, the rest of the administration. She maintains a robust public persona -- her lengthy overseas trips are filled with town hall meetings and softball television interviews -- but she is largely invisible on the big issues that dominate the foreign policy agenda, including the war in Afghanistan, the attempt to engage Iran and efforts to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Interestingly, during her interview, Clinton hinted that she might not be secretary of state for eight years. The end of the article states:
Asked if she would be sitting in the same office for eight years, Clinton shuddered.
"Please! I will be so old," she said with a shake of her head.
The full transcript of Clinton's interview with the Post is here, along with audio clips.
•As for interviews, Clinton is on PBS' NewsHour with Jim Lehrer tonight. A preview clip is above.
•And, the full video and transcript of Clinton's Friday speech at Brookings is here.
Secretary Clinton, seen above with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on Sept. 16, will be giving a speech Friday morning at the Brookings Institution. I've RSVPed to attend, so I'll report back what I can. The speech is supposed to outline the United States' goals for next week's U.N. General Assembly session. In today's press briefing, Clinton's spokesman said she would discuss nonproliferation, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, food security, and violence against women and girls.
Other Clinton news:
•Clinton says the United States will discuss nukes during talks with Iran on Oct. 1. Iran is saying that won't happen.
•Matt Latimer, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, says that Bush thought Clinton would end up as the Democratic presidential nominee. In GQ magazine, Latimer claims that Bush said the following about Clinton:
"Wait till her fat keister is sitting at this desk," he once said (except he didn't say "keister").
•Clinton is concerned about Venezuela's arms purchases.
•Is Clinton scheduling a visit to Pakistan for this fall?
•Clinton will lead a U.S. delegation at a conference on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the first time the United States has attended the biennial conference since 1999.
Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton is thinking about quitting her secretary-of-state job to run for New York governor, according to a one-sentence post written by Weekly Standard blogger Michael Goldfarb, who was deputy communications director for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign last year. Goldfarb's source? His "boss" (presumably editor William Kristol), who heard it from two sources.
As a Gawker blogger put it, "If Bill Kristol says it, than [sic] it is the opposite of true. That is the only constant in American Politics."
Other Clinton news:
•Clinton will be at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York tomorrow -- Sept. 11 -- to receive the Roosevelt Institute's FDR Four Freedoms Award, which "honors a lifetime of distinguished service and an unwavering commitment to these freedoms." (Those four freedoms being "freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.") If you have $1,000 and cocktail attire, you can attend the gala dinner.
Photo: ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images
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
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
Forbes magazine has ranked Secretary Clinton as the 36th most powerful woman in the world.
Forbes states that the rankings are based on "a combination of two scores: visibility -- by press mentions -- and the size of the organization or country these women lead." If Clinton had received more press coverage, then she would likely have been ranked even higher.
The rankings don't seem to incorporate how much global influence these women have -- which would be a strong indicator of how "powerful" they really are. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ranked No. 35, but how much global influence does she have, given that this is a list of the most powerful women in the world?
Further, check out how Clinton's rankings have varied through the years:
2008: No. 28
2007: No. 25
2006: No. 18
2005: No. 26
2004: No. 5
Could Clinton, as U.S. secretary of state, traveling the world as the United States' top diplomat, really be so much less relatively powerful this year as she was in 2004, when the then-senator was No. 5 in the world?
Understandably, measuring global influence would be subjective and tricky. At the end of the day, every ranking is going to have its methodological weaknesses. (And that goes for FP rankings, too, such as the recent Failed States Index, which received a critique in the July/August issue.)
Women in government who were in the top 50 this year:
1. Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany
2. Sheila Bair, chairman of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Co.
11. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of Argentina
13. Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress party
17. Christine Lagarde, France's minister of economy, finance, and employment
22. Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile
35. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
36. Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. secretary of state
40. Michelle Obama, first lady of the United States (technically not a government position)
44. Gloria Arroyo, president of the Philippines
47. Yulia Tymoshenko, prime minister of Ukraine
48. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Secretary Clinton should drink "Mad Bitch" beer suggests Washington Post journalist Dana Milbank in a video that was later pulled from the newspaper's Web site. [Foreign Policy, by the way, is owned by the Washington Post Company.]
The humorous video related to the discussion about what type of beer would be consumed at last week's "beer summit" between President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Sgt. James Crowley. "We won't tell you who's getting a bottle of Mad Bitch," Milbank says while dispaying a photo of Clinton about 2:35 into the video.
The Washington Post's communications director told Talking Points Memo via e-mail: "The video was a satirical piece that lampooned people of all stripes. There was a section of the video that went too far, so we have removed the piece from our website."
The video isn't that funny, and Clinton laughs off this kind of ridicule anyway. It's probably getting pretty old for her by now.
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.