Friday, January 23, 2009
Hillary’s Star Quality Shines Attention on State Department
Tom Brune at Newsday.com reports:
"WASHINGTON - On her first day as secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday did what she does best: She used her star quality to shine attention on a State Department that felt it had been in the shadows for far too long.
"With a broad smile, Clinton won excited, almost giddy, applause and cheers from hundreds of diplomats, foreign service officers and staff as she worked a rope line in the department's packed main lobby yesterday morning.
"As if to underscore Clinton's role both as the high-profile public face of U.S. diplomacy, and as a member of his team of rivals, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden paid an unusually early visit to Foggy Bottom.
After taking credit for naming Clinton as secretary of state, Obama stepped aside as she introduced George Mitchell newly assigned to the Middle East and Richard Holbrooke to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"She showed up at 9:15 a.m. and after a short ceremony, went to her office and phoned her counterparts in other countries, including Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. She then took an intelligence briefing and toured the building before holding a closed meeting with Obama, Biden and national security advisers."
'"Though it was a day of smiles and camera flashes, the uncertainty and gravity of international affairs weighed heavy. "This is not going to be easy," she said, upon arriving. "I don't want anybody to leave this extraordinarily warm reception thinking, 'Oh, good,' you know, 'this is going to be great!' It's going to be hard."'
It occurs to me this morning that naming Hillary Clinton as secretary of state may turn out to be the smartest decision Obama has made since elected president.