We are all aware that speeches and addresses from the president and other high-ranking officials are carefully worded. If not written out and prepared in advance, they are at least parsed to be as politically correct (in the literal sense) as possible. Maybe it's that awareness that makes moments like the one captured in the video above so charming.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were caught on a live microphone in between their speeches at a ceremony today for the slain ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. A rare moment of whispered courtesy.
Across Washington today reactions, both personal and political, have been raw and often volatile to the violent attacks against U.S. diplomatic workers in Egypt and Libya.
But particularly noteworthy was the measured, informed, and emotional response from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Speaking this morning from the State Department, Secretary Clinton talked about the four Americans who died in Libya including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Secretary Clinton reminded us all, "We must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya."
Her remarks stand as a clear example of how leaders should respond to tragedy.
Even in New Dehli, India, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton couldn't avoid questions about whether she'll run for president again. During the town hall meeting today, Clinton said she's hopeful that she will see a woman president in her lifetime, but she insists it won't be her.
I think that there will be an election that will elect a woman, but I think our political system is about the most difficult to navigate for men and women, but particularly for women. So we're going to keep trying to encourage that final glass ceiling to be broken.
When pressed about whether she'll be the one to break the highest glass ceiling in 2016, she said:
I'm very flattered, but I feel like it's time for me to kind of step off the high wire. I've been involved at the highest levels of American politics for 20 years now.
Just because she's adamant about taking a break from politics doesn’t mean everyone else has to stop dreaming.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have both rooted for Clinton to run in 2016. The tumblr "Texts from Hillary" gave us a glimpse of what she'd look like as commander in chief. And even her husband, former President Bill Clinton, says he doesn’t know what she will finally decide to do, but says he will support her either way.
Hillary Clinton got in on the meme action today by submitting to Texts from Hillary. Her photo caption reads, I kid you not, "ROFL @ ur tumblr! g2g — scrunchie time. ttyl?" Translation: Rolling on floor laughing at your Tumblr! Got to go — scrunchie time. Talk to you later?
Not the typical statement from our Secretary of State, though it shows off a more playful side of Clinton after the Texts From Hillary meme exploded on the web last week. The page depicts a sunglasses-clad Secretary of State replying and sending snarky text messages on her Blackberry to politicians and celebrities.
The new Tumblr feed quickly lit up the Internet on Thursday. It depicts a sunglasses-clad Secretary of State replying and sending snarky text messages on her Blackberry to Condoleezza Rice, Oprah and even her boss, President Obama.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday.
The Obama administration sent a strong message on gay rights to other nations. The president announced today the U.S. plans to consider how countries treat gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens when giving out foreign aid.
"I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world," Obama said in a memorandum. "Whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations or killing men, women and children for their perceived sexual orientation."
Obama said, "I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed those parallels of universal rights during a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. “Some have suggested that gay rights and human rights are separate and distinct,” Clinton said."But in fact they are one and the same.”
Not many specifics were given on the initiative. Each embassy will receive a toolkit in the coming months. According to Clinton, they "created a program that offers emergency support to defenders of human rights for LGBT people."
Clinton received a standing ovation for her moving speech. It's worth a watch.
Hillary Clinton's camp shot down a Reuters report, claiming the Secretary of State "wants the job" as the head of the World Bank. Current president Robert Zoellick is scheduled to vacate his post when his term ends in mid-2012.
Clinton spokesperson Philippe Reines called the story "completely untrue." Reines said she hasn’t talked to President Obama "or anyone else about moving to the World Bank. She has expressed absolutely no interest in the job. She would not take it if offered."
The World Bank had no comment.
Secretary Clinton visited the United Arab Emirates this week for talks on Libya, as part of a four-stop tour of the Middle East and Africa.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended Dilma Rousseff’s inauguration this week because she had to hand over the mantle of most powerful woman in the world to the new Brazilian President. Her attendance also underscores the crucial partnership between the Americas in maintaining the prominence of the connected continents during the 21st Century.
The Obama White House desperately needs President-elect Rousseff to be a stalwart ally if they want to advance their international and domestic agendas. Brazil is leaping ahead of other world superpowers with its innovative energy system and pragmatic economic policies. The country has already achieved better cooperation with Venezuela, Cuba and, most importantly, Iran than other Western countries. The victories Obama rakes in internationally with the help of Rousseff’s true grit will only make him stronger at home.
Brazil is the future. Preparations to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics are already transforming its main cities and, when they do happen, everything will be Brazil-all-the-time. If its youngest generation knows how to get down this like Brazilian babv doing the Samba on a table, imagine what they'll be like as adults.
President Jimmy Carter says he disagrees with Hillary Clinton's characterization of the WikiLeaks fallout.
"I don't agree with Secretary Clinton that it's that significant it has torn up the fabric for our diplomacy," Carter said today in an interview on The LastWord with Lawrence O'Donnell. "In the future, there's going to be a lot more caution as leaders send them dispatches into the State Department and as our own ambassadors send reports back into the State Department if they suspect that their words might be revealed."
The 39th President downplayed the massive document dump, saying nothing too "serious has happened that would be damaging to America's policies around the world."
The whistle-blower website WikiLeaks posted more than 250,000 classified documents online on Sunday. The reports detail a range of subjects from U.S. recent spying efforts to in-depth social commentary on world leaders, putting the Obama administration in damage control mode.
"I think the long-term damage will be much more minimal than is presently ascribed by maybe the White House spokesperson," said Carter. He said being out of office gives him more a perspective than the current president.
"I don't have any doubt that I look on it with more equanimity than President Obama, who's suffering from the consequences. But, also, maybe after you've been out of office for 25 years or so, you look at it with a little bit more objectivity than if you're right in the heat of the diplomatic or policy-making battles."
The release addresses American foreign policy on North Korea and Iran, two nations which also caused concern during Carter's presidency.
The White House says the U.S. government is not ruling out the possibility of taking legal action against WikiLeaks.
Hillary Clinton came out swinging today in response to the release of classified documents. The Secretary of State said the document leaks "tear at the fabric" of responsible government and the U.S. "deeply regrets" the disclosures.
The controversial whistleblower WikiLeaks posted more than 250,000 documents on its site yesterday, airing tons of America’s dirty laundry.
The White House says the U.S. government is not ruling out the possibility of taking legal action against the organization. The reports go into detail on a range of subjects, from James Bond-type spying efforts to in-depth social commentary on countries. Opinions on world leaders came up, which is putting the U.S. government in major damage control mode.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was described as playing “Robin to (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin’s Batman.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai was said to be "an extremely weak man who did not listen to facts but was instead easily swayed by anyone who came to report even the most bizarre stories or plots against him."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was referred to as "Hitler" in one U.S. diplomatic cable. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt referred to Iran "as 'evil', an 'existential threat' and a power that 'is going to take us to war.'"
French President Nicolas Sarkozy was described as an "emperor with no clothes."
North Korea's leader was described as a "flabby old chap" suffering trauma from a stroke. (Our government called Kim Jong Il fat!)
A U.S. diplomat described German Chancellor Angela Merkel as someone who “avoids risk and is seldom creative.”
One doc called Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi "physically and politically weak" and said his "frequent late nights and penchant for partying hard mean he does not get sufficient rest."
Kind of feels like the ultimate diary leak. It's definitely an embarrassment for the U.S., not only the content but also the manner in which this went down.
How will this leak play into long-term diplomacy abroad? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Hillary Clinton takes diplomacy very seriously. In an interview with Aussie comedians Hamish and Andy, the U.S. Secretary of State put aside talk of war and peace to discuss takeout food. She explained the drawn out process of ordering in the Clinton household.
"We practice different models of negotiation around important issues like that," said Clinton. "If I were to say to [Bill] 'what shall we have for dinner tonight?' If he says to me, 'oh I don't care, you choose,' I know that's a really bad answer — because then I'm stuck with the responsibility." They go in circles like that until she finally picks.
Clinton did not specify what types of cuisine she prefers, perhaps, as a matter of fairness. Though, she proudly declared herself an "eater of chips."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the latest to join the online movement in support of gay and lesbian teens. She released a video telling those being bullied to “hang in there and ask for help.”
The "It Gets Better" campaign started last month after a gay male couple in Seattle posted a video for troubled teens. They said their lives lives will eventually improve despite the issues they’re experiencing now at school.