Slow News Day?
As I said over the weekend, Secretary Clinton has a few days without public appointments (until Thursday). Good for her, she deserves a break because she works her a** off. But that hasn’t stopped some from pulling the “where’s Hillary” silliness:
In more than two years as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has kept up a punishing schedule of near constant foreign travel, diplomatic outreach, White House meetings, and management of the large State Department bureaucracy. And in the process, she’s emerged as one of the most popular figures in Obama’s cabinet.
So it was very unusual when this week’s State Department public “week ahead” itinerary described Clinton as having no public appointments at all on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Indeed, her first public appointment is not scheduled until Thursday morning—and that is a highly ceremonial appearance: officiating at a symbolic swearing-in of children of State Department employees participating in take your child to work today.
What’s more, Clinton is conspicuously missing—even by videoconference—from the list of senior Obama national security advisers and cabinet chiefs due to meet with the President today on Afghanistan and Pakistan at 11:30 AM.
Asked about her absence from the list, a White House spokesman said he doesn’t know why she’s not participating in the Af-Pak powwow, directing a reporter to ask her office.
The Envoy has duly launched queries to the State Department. Readers are not advised to hold their breaths in anticipation of official replies, however: Both chief spokespeople at the State Department also appear to be out of the office this week, and the State Department notified the press that it is not holding its usual daily press conference today…
That excerpt above was from Laura Rozen.
Why can’t the woman take a few days off without the entire world knowing where she’s going? In this technological age, whether she has public appointments or not she’s most likely working at some point. There is email, videoconferencing, conference calls, cell phones etc. Whenever she has taken a mini-vacation (or anything else) the State Dept. NEVER informs the media where she is going or what she is doing, nor should they. And if she wasn’t at the AfPak meeting then it’s a sure bet someone was there from the State Dept. on her behalf- in other words, she’s not out of the loop.
What is annoying is that predictably, a lot of right wing blogs and people with CDS are running with this story and trying to turn it into something other than the SOS simply not having public appointments for a few days. This would not happen with Colin Powell or Condi Rice- it would just be “oh, they are taking a few days off, ok.” But with Hillary, now we have to endure stories about a rift between the State Dept. and White House, or rumors about her jumping ship or not being part of the inner circle etc. etc.
For the record, I really like Laura Rozen- she’s usually objective, factual and usually stays away from gossip. She’s also always been really great to me when I’ve peppered her with foreign policy questions, particularly regarding Israel-Palestine. As many know she left Politico not long ago and is working over at Yahoo’s news site where she has her blog The Envoy. But this post from Laura [yesterday] must have been the result of a slow news day, although there really is no such thing when you cover foreign policy and the Middle East is exploding in revolution and we are involved in 2.5 wars.
Besides, hasn’t Obama taken a bunch of vacations? Ok, then.
UPDATE: During a briefing yesterday it was revealed that Secy Clinton took a few days off with her family. So, the non-mystery is solved. The End.