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Whatever you think about Hillary Clinton, you no doubt think something. Whether you want to pat her on the back or turn your back to her, the woman elicits powerful reactions. She also elicits respect on the world stage, and when she doesn’t get it, she demands it. That is one of the things that make her best suited for her job. (But we’ll get to that.)
Modern America loves its female secretaries of state—maybe the “softer sex” is seen as better suited to issues of diplomacy. And while Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright both brought tremendous experience to the job, neither packed a house like Hillary Clinton. She just brings a bigger microphone to the job, commanding the attention and respect of people and world leaders due in part to her high profile, sure, but also because of her resume. She was the first former First Lady to run for public office, the first female senator from New York, and the first woman to have a real shot at the presidency. She’s also been to more countries (80) and met with more heads of state (exact number unclear, but it’s a big one) than we have space to list. And that was all before she became our chief diplomat.
Clinton took over the State Department at a moment when entire continents seemed to hate the U.S. government. It was also a time when the world had any number of wars that needed ending, peace agreements that needed negotiating, and deals that needed brokering. Her to-do list includes stopping nuclear proliferation in Iran, halting the Islamic insurgency in Pakistan, promoting civilian projects in Afghanistan, getting us out of the quagmire that is Iraq, and alerting the world to the humanitarian crisis in Congo—to name only a few.
She has worked overtime on those relationships that are either tense or outright disastrous. She made nice with Russia, spoke publicly about Kim Jong Il’s successor, told India that climate change is its problem, too, and she quietly and successfully led 33 countries to set binding conditions for Cuba’s re-entry into the Organization of American States. To get all those jobs done, she persuaded the Obama administration to increase the foreign-affairs budget by 10 percent, boosting aid and bringing aboard more diplomats. And it’s only been nine months.
Here’s a theory: All the things about Clinton that rub people the wrong way—her candor, her outspokenness, her gumption, her ambition—are the very things that now make her so good at her job. To put it bluntly, she’s not full of shit. This could not have been made clearer than in that incident in Congo, when a young man asked the secretary of state, “What does Mr. Clinton think through the mouth of Mrs. Clinton?” Hillary was pure Hillary. “My husband is not the Secretary of State. I am. If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I’m not going to be channeling my husband.” And in one brilliant and honest moment, the point of her entire trip promoting women’s rights was made manifest. It’s not a slogan or a policy speech, it’s the necessity for men and women to be treated equally.
Finally, Clinton is a patriot. Not in that my-patriotism-is-bigger-than-your-patriotism sort of way. She’s the kind of patriot who believes America is an exciting, inspiring country that can be and has been a force for good in the world.
For decades it was as easy to argue against Hillary as it was to argue for her. But in her brief tenure as Secretary of State, a new Hillary Clinton has emerged—a highly intelligent, uncommonly thoughtful, and profoundly erudite leader who grasps the complexities of foreign affairs in a way that honors the job description.
“There is a hunger for the United States to be present again,” Clinton has said. And that’s the best thing about Hillary Clinton—she has a way of making sure everyone knows she’s there.
By Danielle Pergament at www.good.is
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BY ALAN J. STEINBERG: President Barack Obama is a man whose political fortunes have imploded. The national political rock star of 2008 has become the Democratic political albatross of 2010. Democratic candidates in the 2010 gubernatorial, U.S. Senate, and House of Representatives elections are running away from him, not with him.
Obama's approval rating reaches new lows every day, due to worsening economic conditions and a foreign policy of appeasement of hostile nations and downgrading of alliances with loyal friends. On the two leading 2010 "values" controversies, to wit, the Arizona immigration law and the Cordoba Ground Zero mosque initiative, the President is definitely on the losing side of public opinion.
That is not the worst news for Barack Obama. In August, 2011, his political fortunes and prospects may be far worse.
There are two looming political nightmares for the President. First, a growing number of mainstream economists are predicting a severe recession in 2011. Second, unless the tax reductions enacted during the administration of former President George W. Bush are extended beyond December 31, 2010, the American public will be subjected to the largest income tax hike in American history in 2011.
If either one of these two situations occur, Obama will be in far worse political shape than he is in today. If in 2011 the American public experiences both a severe recession and a huge income tax hike, there is no way that the President will be reelected, regardless of who wins the Republican presidential nomination. Any of the prospective GOP presidential nominees — Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, or John Thune — would easily defeat Barack Obama under such a scenario.
The key political question would then be whether Hillary Clinton would challenge Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. If Obama looks like a sure reelection loser, I suspect that many Democrats would actually favor Hillary mounting such a challenge. She is the one Democrat who could possibly defeat any of the above mentioned GOP candidates if Obama's reelection prospects become moribund.
The question then would be how could Hillary Clinton step down from her present position as Secretary of State and then seek the Democratic Presidential nomination against the incumbent President who appointed her. A Clinton resignation from the position of Secretary of State would have to be based upon a fundamental disagreement with President Obama on a major foreign policy issue.
Such an issue might arise if Israel launches air strikes against Iran's developing nuclear weapon facilities.
Obama is less supportive of Israel than any other President since the Declaration of Independence of the Jewish State in 1948. If Israel launches such an attack, Obama will certainly condemn Israel's actions and maybe even seek sanctions against the Jewish State.
By contrast, both Bill and Hillary Clinton have been far more supportive of Israel than Barack Obama. Although they both have had disagreements with Likud Party leaders, they remain on very friendly terms with the major players in Israel's Labor Party. Obama is viewed negatively by an overwhelming majority of Israelis, right and left.
Furthermore, Hillary Clinton has been far more hawkish than Obama against the Iranian Ahmadinejad government. If Obama were to repudiate an Israeli preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, there is a significant chance that this would lead to a Hillary Clinton resignation as Secretary of State.
If Hillary then defeated Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, she would have at least an even money chance of defeating any of the above mentioned GOP Presidential candidates in the general election. The failures of Barack Obama have not adversely affected the standing of Bill and Hillary Clinton with the American public.
As a long time New Jersey GOP stalwart, I have a shameful confession to make. I had a surprisingly good working relationship with the then Senator Hillary Clinton and her staff while I served as Region 2 EPA Regional Administrator during the second term of President George W. Bush. I certainly would never support her for President, but if I had to have a Democratic President, I would far rather have her than a Barack Obama.
Hillary's concern for the environment was genuine, and unlike Obama, she was willing to work closely with Republican members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to achieve bipartisan goals. This was confirmed for me in a conversation I had with my closest friend in the New York State Republican Congressional delegation, the then Congressman Jim Walsh, who represented the Syracuse area.
Jim Walsh and I had similar experiences of bipartisan cooperation with Hillary Clinton. This was in sharp contrast to our working experiences with the disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer, a political Sonny Liston, who was a vulgar, offensive and profane cowardly partisan bully, without ethical scruples. Both of us had experienced ugly confrontations with the then New York governor - from which neither Jim nor I backed down. Unlike Hillary, who was gracious and dignified, Eliot Spitzer gave new meaning to the term "political thug".
Another distinguishing feature of the then Senator Hillary Clinton was her Senate staff. On the Democratic side of the aisle, she had the most competent staff of any Senator, with the exception of the late Senator Ted Kennedy's Labor Committee staff. Her record of Senate accomplishment stood in sharp contrast to that of the Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who established a record of substantial nonachievement.
So in late 2007, I was certain that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States in 2008. I had no doubt that she would have a campaign staff as competent as her Senatorial staff. I felt that with the supreme political skills of both her husband Bill and herself, she would easily defeat Barack Obama.
I was therefore shocked by the incompetency of both her campaign and campaign staff. I was even further surprised when she accepted Obama's appointment of her as Secretary of State.
Had Hillary Clinton remained in the U.S. Senate, I am convinced that she could have eventually achieved the stature of the late Senator Ted Kennedy or an Orrin Hatch, senators respected on both sides of the political aisle for their ability to achieve bipartisan cooperation in pursuit of the public good. Instead, she became the spokesperson for a failed foreign policy with which, I believe, she often disagrees.
If the opportunity to wrest the nomination from Barack Obama arises and the Clintons decide to take the political plunge, I am convinced that they would not make the same mistakes they made in the 2008 campaign. The Clintons never make the same mistakes twice.
All the above is a matter of sheer speculation, I admit. Perhaps Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid will find some way to extend the Bush tax cuts in a way to at least hold harmless middle class families. Perhaps the economy will not deteriorate further in 2011.
If my above described possible scenario develops, however, and if Hillary runs against Barack in 2012, remember you read about the possibility of it here first.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and seven federally recognized Indian nations.
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WASHINGTON: Senior government officials have joined scientists in blaming climate change for the devastating floods in Pakistan and other extreme weather events around the globe.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in an interview with Pakistan’s Dawn TV, said “there is a linkage” between the Pakistan floods and climate change.
In his address to a special UN meeting on the floods last week, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also said that Pakistan’s flooding “reconfirms our extreme vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change”.
Scientists have said the floods in Pakistan --- and the fires in Russia, the mudslides in China, the droughts in sub-Saharan Africa --- are enunciations of scenarios climate forecasters have long predicted.
“There’s no doubt that clearly the climate change is… a major contributing factor” in this “unprecedented sequence of extreme weather” over the past month, said Dr Ghassem Asrar, the director of the World Climate Research Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation.
Climate experts at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) endorse his claim, saying “this is what global warming looks like”.
“When you have the changes in climate that affect weather that we’re now seeing, I think the predictions of more natural disasters are unfortunately being played out,” agreed Secretary Clinton.
Both the UN International Panel on Climate Change and WMO have reiterated that point in light of the Pakistan floods.
Experts point out that the flooding and forest fires, which followed a historic drought, coincide with record heat elsewhere in addition to downpours and landslides in China.
Scientists warn that man-caused climate changes can contribute to those disasters happening more frequently.
A study published in 2006 in a prestigious journal called Science found the level of heavy rainfall in the monsoon over South Asia had more than doubled in the past 50 years, and the authors predicted increased disaster potential from heavy flooding.
In its 2007 report, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body created by the UN, concluded that “it is very likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent.”
IPCC chief R.K. Pachauri told Inter Press Service that “the floods of the kind that hit Pakistan may become more frequent and more intense in the future in this and other parts of the world”.
Earlier this month, WMO made a similarly qualified assessment.
“While a longer time range is required to establish whether an individual event is attributable to climate change, the sequence of current events matches IPCC projections of more frequent and more intense extreme weather events due to global warming,” it said.
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I’ve always been convinced that Hillary Clinton would find her way back to the Oval Office one way or another.
Therefore, the recently reignited chatter about her being considered as President Obama’s 2012 running mate is the most exciting news I’ve heard since…well, since the news broke that Levi Johnston is running for Mayor of Wasilla.
BUT, hold on just a minute, because it gets way better: Even more titillating than these two juicy nuggets is the less-reported Washington insider buzz that Hillary is actually…drum roll, please…plotting to run against President Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2012.
Did someone say, “DRAAAAMA!” (Now you’re speakin’ my language.)
My, my, my, which delicious Hillary rumor to devour first? Dare I be so gluttonous?
Let’s dig in: A 2012 hostile Veep takeover would be historic for sure, and even makes sense (though I bet Joe B. would disagree). However, the general consensus seems to be: Why in the world would Hillary want to play second fiddle to anyone?
On the other hand, it would elevate Hillary to savior status as she single-handedly injects Obama’s plunging popularity with much needed adrenaline, and it would allow her to collect another highly coveted title (She’s quite the collector, you know). Most importantly, the Office of the Vice President would naturally position her for a 2016 run.
Then again, that would mean Hillary would have to waste another four years before she could finally have a shot at claiming the real prize. She’s 62 now…While it would be very Reagan of her to kick-off her twilight years with another White House run, she certainly doesn’t want “The Old Gray Mare, She Ain’t What She Used to Be” as her campaign slogan. So why wait?!
ENTER the whisperings of a sizzling rematch:
Talk about a sensational game-changing sequel to 2008 (John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, I hope you’re taking notes here). I’m salivating just thinking about it!
I recently met with my very own Deep Throat who’s perched high up on the Beltway power grid. I was told that Capital insiders are all atwitter with what they consider a Clintonian conspiracy of epic magnitude – the final act to end all and to cap off everything the Clintons have worked for (aka, world domination).
In what is the most underreported, hottest rumor EVER, it’s believed that Bill and Hillary Clinton have spent the last few years setting her up to launch a challenge to Obama in 2012 (As in, SURPRISE, she never actually stopped running for president). When you really think about it, they’ve been doing it in plain sight right under our noses.
Consider how she graciously conceded to Obama after what was anything but a tiptoe-through-the-tulips race for the nomination, and then publicly supported him with unbridled enthusiasm and smiles (What a good sport she is! No sore loser here! WINK-WINK).
Next, Hillary surprisingly accepted the position of Secretary of State, essentially getting in bed with the enemy (Translation: All to gain unprecedented access to the new administration and the world – literally). She then spent the last two years crisscrossing the globe as our top diplomat, gaining critical acclaim and even more followers from abroad and at home – all on Obama’s dime.
And, lest we forget, those 18 million cracks are still in the glass ceiling right above her head waiting for one more teeny-tiny little nudge (while the president’s groundbreaking cracks have long since been shattered and swept away).
Meanwhile, Clinton 42 certainly doesn’t like losing, so no doubt he views the 2008 defeat of his wife (aka, the would-be Clinton 45) as all the more reason to covertly forge ahead to grasp victory, and to seek the ultimate revenge on the campaign trail.
Aaaaand, was it mere coincidence that the Clintons recently hosted THE Wedding of the Year, making the world collectively go “Ahhhhhh”? Cue the wedding photo, showing them ensconced in that rarified Kennedy-esque glow. That pic was worth every penny of the multi-million dollar price tag (which should be reimbursable or at least written off as a campaign expense, or would that be a little too obvious?).
Back to all this recent 2012 Veep talk. What of it then? Isn’t the buzzing that Hillary may be/is challenging Obama much bigger news?
My chatty Deep Throat has a spicy insider’s take on this as well: Perhaps the Veep thing is actually a smoke screen being floated by a nervous Obama administration to maintain control and lessen the impact of any stories about her challenging him for the top spot. After all, something like that could go viral fast, at which point all control will be lost amidst a new tidal wave of Clinton-mania.
OK, Obama White House, I can take a hint, so listen up:
First Bit of Advice: Never-never-EVER underestimate the Clintons (You should know this all too well by now, but it never hurts to be reminded). They’re made of 100% pure grade Teflon and they’ll bite you when you least expect it if you’re not careful.
Second Bit of Advice: Never-never-EVER forget that Hillary wasn’t called “The Lady MacBeth of Little Rock” for nothing! (Somewhere Shakespeare is nodding with approval.)
The looming question then: If this Veep switch-a-roo talk is a diversionary tactic (or, better yet, if it isn’t), exactly who will the joke really be on (because someone here is going to find themselves on the butt end of this one very soon)?
If you’re like me and gobble this poli-drama stuff right up, here’s some parting food for thought on this brewing intrigue:
It’s a win-win-win for Hillary. In this electrifying cliffhanger, she’ll end up as either Vice President or President (or both), or simply remain the most famous woman in the world.
Joe Biden? You can bet your (BLEEP!) that if this mother-(BLEEP)-ing! swap goes down, he’ll be (BLEEP)-ing! paid-off (BLEEP)-ing! BIG-TIME.
Finally, as for President Obama, if he doesn’t continue to keep one eye on the Clintons while turning around his poll numbers, he might just end up becoming so two thousand and late.
John Schlimm is a member of one of the oldest brewing families in the United States, meaning he sees life through sudsy, gold-colored glasses. A former celebrity publicist, educator, and artist, John is the award-winning author of several books, including his latest, Harrah’s Entertainment Presents…The Seven Stars Cookbook as well as The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook (named “Best Beer Book in the U.S.” and “Best Beer Book in the World” by the international Gourmand Awards).
By John Schlimm - The Daily Caller
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Speculation is bubbling at the prospect of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of Defense upon Robert Gates retirement in 2011.
Gates, the only Republican holdover from the Bush Administration, recently told "Foreign Policy" magazine that he planned to step down next year.
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in an e-mail to reporters, "This is not Secretary Gates announcing his retirement. This is the secretary musing about when it would make sense for him to finally bow out. He has long said he would not serve the whole term and now he has told Foreign Policy that he thinks it best to leave with enough time on the administration's clock for his successor to be effective."
Still, it was enough to set off a name game of possible replacements, including Clinton. If Clinton accepted the position, she would be the first woman to hold it – another milestone in a historic political career.
On CNN Monday, William Cohen, the Republican Defense secretary during President Bill Clinton's second term, said Obama should go for bipartisanship and choose a Republican. That might not set well with Democrats since the last one of them to have the job was the late Les Aspin, a former Wisconsin congressman, who gave way to technocrat William Perry in 1994.
Possible candidates aside from Clinton include former Navy secretary Richard Danzig, who also served as a Obama campaign adviser, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) have also been touted as possible replacements.
Only one person – George C. Marshall – has held both the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense positions. The Marshall Plan was named for him and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
Hillary Clinton was an early supporter of the Bush's administration invasion of Iraq. In 2004, she said she did not regret her vote but did regret "the way the president used the authority." She later said that she would not have voted for the war if information on weapons of mass destruction had been clearer.
As Secretary of Defense, Clinton would be in charge of executing policies of military defense including all things Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since becoming Secretary of State, Clinton has certainly won plaudits from generals at the Pentagon and former military leaders.
Leslie Gelb, a onetime senior official at State and former chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, floated a "Hillary for Defense?" balloon in a Wall Street Journal article in June, saying she had "terrific relations with the military brass."
The controversial Rolling Stone article that cost Gen. Stanley McChrystal his military career quoted one of his advisers as saying, "Hillary had Stan's back during the strategic review. She said, 'If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.'"
Clinton has also been touted as a possible vice-presidential candidate if Obama chooses to replace Joe Biden. Clinton could be ideal for Secretary of Defense, says long-time Clinton watcher, Lara Brown, assistant professor of political science at Villanova University.
"Hillary Clinton's long track record of governmental service and engagement with world affairs – from her UN speech on behalf of women's rights to her position on the Armed Services committee in the Senate to her appointment as Secretary of State – makes her well-positioned to step into the Secretary of Defense position," Brown, told Politics Daily.
"Still, Clinton is likely to experience a learning curve should she move from Foggy Bottom to the Pentagon and from managing career-service diplomats to high-ranking military officers because the cultures of the two departments are significantly different," said Brown.
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(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration is focused not just on health-care reform in the United States – but also on improving health care systems around the world, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Monday.
The new plan has a “woman- and girl-centered approach,” according to an administration fact sheet.
Speaking at Johns Hopkins University, Clinton outlined the six-year, $63-billion Obama administration initiative to bring global health care services “to more people in more places.” The administration’s Global Health Initiative has “everything” to do with foreign policy, she said.
“This is a signature of American leadership in the world today, Clinton said. “ It’s also an issue very close to my own heart.”
Clinton said in her world travels, she’s met “countless people who are proof of what successful global health programs can do.” She mentioned HIV-positive farmers in Kenya who are able to continue farming, thanks to antiretroviral drugs; children in Angola who now sleep under bed nets to ward off malaria; mothers of healthy babies who were delivered by trained midwives; and people who survived into adulthood because of childhood immunizations.
Clinton then outlined the “new approach” to global health care, which is aimed at “saving the greatest possible number of lives” by expanding existing health programs “to help countries develop their own capacity to improve the health of their own people.”
Clinton said the administration’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) would build on the groundbreaking work of the George W. Bush administration’s PEPFAR program (President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief). The Obama administration, Clinton said, will expand the PEPFAR program to provide anti-AIDS retroviral drugs to more people in developing countries.
The new GHI programs will have what the Obama administration describes as a “woman-centered” approach, providing funding for neonatal care, family planning services, and infant health care.
Making global health care local
The centerpiece of the Obama administration’s Global Health Initiative will be to encourage and help developing countries run their own health care systems instead of relying on foreign aid workers. This part of the plan will have U.S. aid workers and diplomats work with foreign governments to design locally administered health care systems that – while funded through international aid networks – will be run by local governments.
Clinton explained that this aspect of global health addresses not just a humanitarian concern but a geopolitical one as well, since poor, weak states often are crippled in part because of poor public health.
“We invest in global health to strengthen fragile or failing states,” Clinton said. “We have seen the devastating impact of HIV-AIDS on countries stripped of their farmers, teachers, soldiers, health workers, and other professionals.”
Clinton said improving health care in developing countries also fulfills other foreign policy goals – such as promoting social and economic progress in countries that may be able to help the U.S. solve regional and global problems. Investments in global health protect U.S. national security, including the threat posed by disease outbreaks; and those investments also serve as a tool of public diplomacy, boosting the U.S. image in the eyes of people who receive health care they might otherwise go without.
The Obama administration’s GHI will develop data-tracking systems to measure the efficacy of U.S. foreign health aid. Part of the $63 billion in new funding will go toward developing ways to test and evaluate existing global health programs to determine which ones are effective and which are not.
Clinton said these initiatives would take U.S. aid programs “to the next level” by making them more efficient and effective and less reliant on foreign workers.
“We’re shifting our focus from solving problems one at a time to serving people by considering more fully the circumstances of their lives and ensuring they can get the care they need most over the course of their lifetimes,” she said.
Clinton highlighted the expansion of family planning services, saying that the administration would pressure other countries to reform child marriage laws and would also work to expand access to contraceptives and family planning education.
According to the government’s fact sheet, one of GHI’s goals is to “prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies by meeting unmet need for modern contraception.”
Clinton said family planning – including pregnancy prevention – not only will improve women’s health but also will reduce the poverty that often afflicts large families in poorer countries. She said women must be given more control over when they become pregnant.
“We are scaling up our work in family planning and maternal and child health, areas in which the United States can and must lead,” Clinton said. She noted “Every year, hundreds of thousands of women die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth – nearly all of them in the developing world.”
“Family planning represents one of the most cost effective public health interventions available in the world today. It prevents both maternal and child deaths by helping women space their births and bear children during their healthiest years and it reduces the deaths of women from unsafe abortions.”
Clinton said that GHI will be “making up for lost time” in funding family planning services – boosting existing programs whose funding has diminished in recent years.
Clinton also said the administration was “moving beyond” the ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful, Correct contraceptive use) anti-AIDS approach adopted during the Bush years to an “A to Z approach to [HIV] prevention” that includes measures such as “male circumcision [and] the prevention of mother-to-child transmission” as well as better HIV screening and education.
The administration’s Global Health Initiative also will address lesser known tropical diseases such as guinea worm as well as increase funding for child nutrition programs and malaria and tuberculosis treatment and prevention.
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RHINEBECK, NY - JULY 31: In this handout image provided by Barbara Kinney, (L-R) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her mother Dorothy Rodham and Chelsea Clinton pose during the wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky at the Astor Courts Estate on July 31, 2010 in Rhinebeck, New York. Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, married Marc Mezvinsky today in an interfaith ceremony at the estate built by John Jacob Astor on the Hudson River about two hours north of New York City.
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It's no state secret anymore: Chelsea Clinton is a married woman.
The former First Daughter, resplendent in a strapless white Vera Wang gown before a star-studded crowd, exchanged vows with longtime beau Marc Mezvinsky at a lavish wedding on a gorgeous summer evening.
"We watched with great pride and overwhelming emotion as Chelsea and Marc wed in a beautiful ceremony ... surrounded by family and their close friends," said Chelsea's parents, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Clinton, in a statement announcing the marriage.
"We could not have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate the beginning of their life together, and we are so happy to welcome Marc into our family."
Bright sunshine and tight security greeted the 500 A-list guests at the year's most exclusive wedding, held on a 50-acre estate overlooking the Hudson River.
The site was sealed off from the public, but the family released wedding photos late last night.
One shows the newly slimmed-down former President in a dark suit and tie, escorting his daughter arm in arm down the aisle as row after row of relatives and friends look on.
Chelsea's billowing, floor-length gown had silver beading around the waist and she carried a bouquet of white flowers. Her mother wore a fuchsia Oscar de la Renta dress.
The groom wore a black tuxedo, white prayer shawl and yarmulke. A horseshoe of white roses decorated the gazebo where the couple exchanged vows.
The storybook wedding was conducted by a rabbi and a minister - Chelsea is Methodist and Mezvinsky is Jewish - and included the reading of a poem titled "The Life That I Have," the family said.
The poem, by Leo Marks, begins:
The life that I haveIs all that I haveAnd the life that I haveIs yours.
Actor Ted Danson and his Oscar-winning wife, Mary Steenburgen, dress designer Wang and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright were among those joining the Clintons at the nuptials for their only child.
"I'm sure Bill will be crying," predicted Danson, a longtime friend of the Clintons, after driving to tiny but tony Rhinebeck for the gala affair.
Chelsea's uncle Roger Clinton sidestepped questions about whether his brother teared up during the ceremony, only saying it was touching.
"It was a very emotional moment between a mother, daughter, and a father. Hillary was very emotional," Roger Clinton said.
Other rumored guests for the big day included Clinton pals Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand.
Security was hyper-tight as the former White House preteen - long used to life in the spotlight - was wed with nary a reporter, news photographer or network camera crew in sight. Security measures for the elegant ceremony at sprawling Astor Courts included the Secret Service, state police cruising for paparazzi on the Hudson, road closings and a no-fly zone over Rhinebeck.
Mezvinsky, 32, got a wedding day shave from a local barber to remove several days of stubble. After 25 minutes with a steaming towel and some hot lather, he was good to go.
"He didn't seem nervous," said Peter Morfea, owner of Iconic Hair. "Marc seemed like a regular nice person. He seemed chill."
Steenburgen, an Arkansas native and friend of the Clintons since Bill's days as governor, said she was thrilled for the newlyweds.
"I've known her since she was a little girl," Steenburgen said of Chelsea. "She's a beautiful girl, and he's a wonderful guy."
Other early arrivals included close Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan and entertainment impresario Steve Bing - a major Democratic Party donor.
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|On March 1, 2009, |
this panel appeared in
The Washington Times
as part of Alex Hunter's
"The Big Picture."
As Democrats continue to attack and blame each other for their poor poll position heading into November's elections, there is one dog that hasn't barked: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
One year ago today, I wrote about her in these pages:
"As Mr. Obama grows increasingly vulnerable, his poll numbers slide, the economy worsens, and our enemies take advantage of his weakness, she will take notes, keep a record, and then run against him [in 2012]."
I was the first to pose that theory last year, and a lot of people scoffed. Now, many folks are picking it up.
The conditions I mentioned for a possible Hillary run have been bourne out. President Obama's job approval numbers - on everything from his handling of the economy to his administration's lawsuit against Arizona - are tanking. Polls routinely show that majorities of voters oppose his signature legislation, from Obamacare to the stimulus to financial regulatory reform. As a result, his party is gathered in a circular firing squad. Meanwhile, the economy is still shaky, while spending, unemployment, the deficit and debt, the southern border, the Gulf oil disaster and Afghanistan are out of control.
Mrs. Clinton is watching this with a keen eye. Her ambition to be president has not evaporated. She knows she'll be too old to run again in 2016, so she's starting to move now. Consider just some of the evidence:
In most polls, Hillary has a 10- to 25-point favorability edge over Mr. Obama, and some show that voters now believe she's more qualified to be president than he is.
Mrs. Clinton cleverly kept her name out of the Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal debacle, even though her State Department people - ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and special envoy Richard Holbrooke - were deeply engaged in the infighting.
She also deftly stayed quiet during the debate over Obamacare, sensing the public's rejection of it.
Clinton loyalist James Carville has blasted Team Obama for its mishandling of the Gulf oil spill and just released a poll showing that 55 percent of Americans think Mr. Obama is a socialist.
Mrs. Clinton herself took a swipe at Mr. Obama recently, saying that foreign leaders are complaining to her that the U.S. economy is "in a ditch."
Her political team stays close as they run a foundation, No Limits, dedicated to burnishing her image, supporting her policy interests and maintaining her huge databases of political contacts.
And then there's her husband. Former President Bill Clinton has started to go rogue, endorsing Democratic candidates not preferred by the White House and offering very public - and contrary - advice on the oil spill.
Here's the key to a 2012 Hillary run:
Mrs. Clinton knows that a lot of voters have buyer's remorse about having chosen Mr. Obama. They regret dissing her for him, and they'll want to make it up to her. She'll exploit that brilliantly by creating the illusion that she's the more responsible choice. She'll position herself as the adult who can fix Mr. Obama's messes. Her unsubtle message will be: "You had your fun on the Obama joyride, and now Mama is here to take the keys."
She'll offer herself as the safe harbor for disillusioned Democrats and others. The murmurs have already begun: "Hillary wouldn't have been as bad as he is." And notice: She's neither discouraged that sentiment nor credibly denied that she's running.
Of course, she believes in bigger government, socialized medicine and higher taxes, just as Mr. Obama does, which is why you need to know now how she's going to run the game.
In 2008, Mr. Obama fooled legions of voters into thinking he was a moderate who would govern as a centrist. She'll fool them again with the same faux "centrist" scam. After all, she's described herself as a proud "modern progressive" who's just as far left as he is. But she's letting him get attacked as a socialist so she can look like she's riding to the rescue. And for those who think she can't win the primary without the black vote, recall that she beat Mr. Obama in late 2008 primaries by 30-40 points. She can build a different, winning coalition - all by fooling voters that she's moderate, just as they were fooled by Mr. Obama.
She has one other big weapon in her comeback arsenal. She knows that a woman has the best chance to replace the first black president. As Shelby Steele, the author of "White Guilt," says, many Obama voters didn't actually want this kind of radical, big-government change. Rather, they simply wanted to document the change toward race that had already happened over the past five decades. For them, Mr. Obama was elected as much as a feel-good cultural figure as a political one.
Mrs. Clinton can play the same card on gender. Like Mr. Obama, she will peddle "change," but this time, many voters may want to document that we have risen above gender inequality. She will cast herself as another "first" about whom those same voters can get excited. And by subliminally reminding people of the budget surpluses and relative peace and prosperity of the Clinton years, she'll offer a no-regrets alternative to independents who might otherwise lean Republican.
This is how Mrs. Clinton will run the table, starting after the midterm elections. Mr. Obama has tried appeasing the Clintons with big jobs, campaign trail gigs and White House confabs. He - like the rest of us - should heed Winston Churchill's warning: "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Monica Crowley is a nationally syndicated radio host, a panelist on "The McLaughlin Group" and a Fox News contributor.