Friday :: Jan 23, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

by eriposte

Yesterday was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first day at the State Department. CNN reported the event as follows: "Reporter's notebook: Clinton gets rock-star welcome". I'd encourage readers to watch this video below, if you haven't already seen it. Remember as you watch this that the majority of the people in the video are State Department employees - about 1,000 or so according to some media accounts.

Of course, a lot of employees usually show up when their big boss shows up for the first time. So, I wondered if this kind of reception to her was normal. Well, it wasn't that normal when Condi Rice entered the State Department's headquarters in 2005 - you can see by comparing this photo taken (via) on Rice's first day as Secretary of State to a photo taken yesterday from a somewhat similar angle. Notice the thinner crowd upstairs in the former case, for example. As the CNN article observed (emphasis mine):

 The State Department is no stranger to rock-star secretaries, and Clinton's welcome was reminiscent of Colin Powell's eight years ago. And like Powell, Clinton really rallied the troops.

The thunderous applause grew louder when she told the group she would be seeking their advice and welcomed a "good debate." Clinton was swarmed by employees trying to shake her hand and take her picture as she made her way through the State Department's C-Street lobby.

One longtime ambassador told us he hadn't seen anything like it in his decades-long career. If that wasn't enough, President Obama dropped by with Vice President Joe Biden, standing alongside Clinton as she announced the appointment of special envoys -- former Sen. George Mitchell for the Middle East and former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke for Afghanistan and Pakistan (rock stars themselves in the diplomatic community).

Frankly, I have no idea what to make of it, but it was fascinating to see. All I can say is, I'm looking forward to Secretary Clinton's tenure at State.

P.S. The State Department blog is Dipnote. The latest post is on the special envoys announced yesterday.

eriposte :: 6:27 AM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!