Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Tales from the Trail:
So much for "Hilly-Milly".
Just last year U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gushed to Vogue magazine about former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, calling the young diplomat a dashing addition to the international scene.
"Well, if you saw him it would be a big crush. I mean, he is so vibrant, vital, attractive, smart. He's really a good guy. And he's so young!" Clinton said in remarks that provoked a spate of joking British tabloid headlines about the new "special relationship" between the United States and Britain.
Well, absence doesn't appear to have made the heart grow any fonder. Asked on Wednesday if she had any advice for Miliband following his decision to bow out of frontline politics after losing a Labour Party leadership contest to his younger brother, Clinton was brief.
"I have no advice for anyone in politics. I'm out of politics. I obviously wish him well and I am very intrigued by the interesting political dynamics that are occuring inside the United Kingdom," Clinton said, before launching into a positive assessment of the state of relations with Britain's current government.
“Self-confident”, “smart” and “rhetorically brilliant” – just some of the adjectives the media have lavished upon Germany’s favourite politician as he has covered thousands of miles traversing the globe on his country’s behalf since Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new centre-right administration took office late last month.
But Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is not in charge of foreign affairs — a position usually associated with voter popularity. He is defence minister.
The last time Germany went to the polls, Wolfgang Clement was deputy head of the Social Democrats (SPD), and one of the most powerful figures in government: the “super minister” in charge of both economic and labour market policy, who had previously governed the SPD heartland of North-Rhine Westphalia, home to 18 million people.
Four years on, Clement is urging the public to vote for one of the centre-left SPD’s most bitter rivals, the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her would-be allies, the opposition Free Democrats, did not waste any time putting their spin on the re-election of President Horst Koehler on Saturday – a razor-thin victory for the conservatives over the rival candidate put up by their coalition partners, the Social Democrats, in a vote four months before the parliamentary election.
Mere minutes after Koehler squeaked out a one-vote victory in the 1,224-seat Federal Assembly to win a second term as Germany’s ceremonial head of state, a beaming Merkel popped up on national television alongside FDP chairman Guido Westerwelle for a joint impromptu news conference rich with symbolism; it was the first time they appeared together in such a formal setting since the 2005 campaign.