Our Calendar Girl is a gift to our country and the world. Aside from God and Hillary herself, I guess the person who deserves the most credit for her service is Bill Clinton, who almost a year ago, agreed to subject the Clinton Foundation to strict oversight and to restrict both its fund raising and his own activities within the foundation in order for Hillary to pass White House vetting for her position as Secretary of State. (Reminder: Last chance to make a donation for a 2009 tax deduction is today. Just thought I would mention it.) Hers was perhaps the strictest vetting of all. And what was Bill Clinton's "reward" for his sacrifices? His pretty little wife spends most of the year on some other side of the globe from him. Well, he is proud of her, and so it was sweet to see that December began with them together in New York City at the 100th Anniversary of the New York Amsterdam News. Really, how cute are they?
Early December was dominated by the unrolling of the Obama Administration's long-awaited policy on Afghanistan. The "War Council" as they came to be known, traveled together with the President from D.C. to West Point where the speech unveiling the policy was delivered. Over the next week Secretaries Gates and Clinton, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mullen, spent some time on Capitol Hill testifying before the House Foreign Affairs, the Senate Armed Services (Hillary's old committee), and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which had confirmed Hillary as SOS about 11 months earlier). The subject, of course, was the new Afghanistan policy.
Immediately after the last round of testimony, she was off to Brussels to solicit assistance from our NATO partners. She did very well, of course. How can you say "no" to her?
See what I mean about how she uses color? No trouble finding her in this photo!
There was another flurry of TV interviews recorded while she was in Brussels, of course. So we all tried to keep track of her appearances.
When she returned stateside, she kicked off a series of holiday parties she was to go on to host by inviting the 2009 Kennedy Center Honorees to a dinner at the State Department. One of the honorees was Dave Brubeck, so it was very good news that Bill Clinton not only accompanied his gorgeous wife to Foggy Bottom, but evidently was quite the jovial co-host! She wore that gown. You cannot let anyone who looks like this go anywhere unaccompanied. It would be criminal.
There are two pictures of her in this position. Occasionally I see her do something that causes me to wonder if that elbow still bothers her, even though it looks like it healed perfectly.
The Kennedy Center Honors aired this past Wednesday.
She remained planted on U.S. soil (for once!) to initiate her Diplomacy Briefing Series one morning. And then it was home to New York to speak at the American Pakistan Foundation's Inaugural Gala.
Mid-December saw the usual interviews and bi-laterals, as she continued to reach out to a world that had been treated rather coldly by the previous administration. But the seminal event for mid-December was her speech at Georgetown University outlining the administration's Human Rights Agenda for the 21st Century. It was a prodigious speech, typically thorough, well-organized, and masterfully delivered.
At that point something strange happened. With a packed week scheduled, her week was suddenly cleared, and she was off to the Copenhagen COP15 that seemed to be stalled in the process of seeking agreements among the participants. Poor countries opposed the rich ones, and the African countries staged a walkout for a time. Evidently, the administration felt Hillary could rescue the situation. So duty called, and she answered. The New York Times called Hillary's intervention "the charm offensive." It is not hard to see why! As we end this year and this review of 2009, she has (once again) topped the USA Today/Gallup Poll as the Most Admired Woman of 2009.
And so as this blog entry becomes an installment in its own archive, 2009 ends with the beautiful girl who dropped the ball in Times Square to ring it in having kept up the charm & brains offensive through the entire year. She was adorable last year on that below freezing night. It is no surprise that she blew away the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to become "Secretary of Awesome." Watching her this year was fun. I am looking forward to 2010 with Hillary Rodham Clinton in the spotlight.
Happy New Year, Secretary Clinton, President Clinton, and all readers of this blog. I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy 2010!!!
Well, that "Calendar Girl" line is so appropriate since I have said so often here how thankful I am that I am on earth at the same time as Hillary Clinton. Then if I get really selfish, yes, I am also thankful that in this global village we occupy, she is ours! Another thing for which I am eternally grateful is that she and I and all of you are on earth at the same time as all of this cool technology.
Moving on to November 2009: When we left her on October 31, she was in Israel where she carried out her duty of reaffirming the administration shift in policy regarding a freeze on West Bank settlement that President Obama established in September at UNGA meeting with both Netanyahu and Abbas. I am not putting pictures of her with Bibi here because as cute as she looked, he always looks so smug around her, like he has her under his thumb, or his heel. From there, she moved on to Morocco where she attended the Forum for the Future. She touched down very briefly back in the U.S. to meet with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle whom she would see again in just a few days in Germany.
And then a brief trip to New York to give the keynote speech at the commissioning of the USS New York (where, shallow comment alert, she looked stunningly beautiful).
She was in the air again the next day, Berlin-bound for the very festive, much anticipated Fall of the Wall +20. Where she met up with Guido Westerwelle again and his partner (and flirted outrageously with both - another art of hers that I could watch all day).
Accepted the Freedom's Challenge Award on our behalf.
She met up with Angela Merkel with whom she is always uncannily color coordinated. Those two knock me out. Female leadership in spades there!
She shared a stage with Guido again. And spoke at the big celebration of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Another thing I love about Hillary is that she always has a way of using color to help us pick her out in a crowd. She uses color in her diplomacy, we noticed over the year, wearing flag colors in honor of various countries. You see her with the flags, and it is very clear. She also uses color to help us find her. ;)
While in Berlin, she made a flurry of appearances on the Sunday morning and other news circuits here in the U.S. as well as in Germany. The interviews are in the archives here.
From Berlin, she was off to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Singapore.
But she seemed to have a hard time staying on the ground in November and took a side trip to the Philippines before returning to Singapore. She gave a townterview at the University of Santo Tomas and was greeted like a rock star.
And she visited the American cemetery outside Manila.
Then it was time to return to Singapore and APEC.
At this second leg of APEC, President Obama caught up with her in Singapore.
From there she was off to Shanghai where, in the rain, she spoke at the site of the U.S. Pavilion at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo. Hillary in the rain. She was in the rain in Berlin, too. Always beautiful under an umbrella.
After this, she was off on her second visit to Beijing as SOS to meet up with the President again.
She left Beijing for a visit to Afghanistan where she landed in this absolutely exquisite coat. You know, she is so gorgeous, and when she wears something like this, it has to attract attention. I am sure the simple fact that she was in Afghanistan would have been reason enough to put her on the front page of the New York Times. But I think it was for sheer aesthetic reasons that they gave the picture a four-column spread.
Dressed as the Afghan flag, she met with counterparts from many countries at the Foreign Ministry. She also met with troops, spoke to them and held a photo op which they seemed to have loved. She also spoke at the Embassy, of course, dressed in her signature American blue.
Finally, after nearly a month of spending time in the air, she touched American soil again She attended a cabinet meeting on a Monday. Despite the grueling month of travel, she looked beautiful if maybe a little tired.
*Added later* When I looked at this page again I realized that I really needed to add more about the second picture below. It totally grabbed my heart from the first moment I saw it knowing how tired she must have been, and even the President made special mention of "people who don't know what time zone they're in." She has a look on her face that simply grabs me. But I also realized, close and intimate as this photo is, that she is not really wearing any make-up. Just a little eyeliner and lipstick. I do not even see mascara. To look like that, after a month of travel, without even powder (that I can see - I can even see the impression of the nose piece of her glasses), is phenomenal! She really is a natural beauty! A heartbreaker!
This was followed by the very hyped (but not very secure) premiere Obama White House State Dinner for Prime Minister Singh.
Hillary, with Joe Biden, hosted a luncheon reception at the State Department in the afternoon.
We did not see pictures of Hillary at the State dinner, but a fleeting glance on news video indicated that she might be wearing the gown that is a hands-down favorite of Hillary followers the world over, the midnight blue number that she wore at the Intrepid dinner the year before. One picture at White House Flickr confirmed that this was indeed her choice. She could wear this every day and we would never get tired of it. Just stunning!
During the Thanksgiving break, the Hillary followers began officially to suffer (as they are now, which is why I am putting many pictures the past few posts) from Hillary-Withdrawal-Syndrome (HWS), so you will notice some extraneous posts in the archives for that period.
When Thanksgiving was over, she finished out the month of November meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, whom she will be visiting in mid-January, and by delivering an address marking International AIDS Day.
Among other bright spots from November, the Secretary of Style was featured in Vogue (OK, it was the December issue, but we got the e-advanced and the hard copy in November).
October and November were hugely busy months for the Secretary. But as we shall see tomorrow, she entered December energetically ready to take on still more challenging tasks.