Tales from the Trail

Clinton sees diplomats of the future in cargo pants as well as pinstripes

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Congress to finance a major new U.S. push on overseas development aid, arguing that only by building up a global middle class will the United States increase its own national security.

Clinton, in an article in Foreign Affairs magazine which previews a pending State Department report on diplomacy and development, says it is essential for Congress to keep the money flowing even as the United States grapples with its own financial problems at home.

“The American people must understand that spending taxpayer dollars on diplomacy and development is in their interest,” Clinton wrote, saying it was time to put to rest “old debates on foreign aid.”

“It is time to move beyond the past and to recognize diplomacy and development as national security priorities and smart investments in the United States’ future stability and security,” Clinton said. “These missions can succeed, but only with the necessary congressional leadership and support. Congress must provide the necessary funding now.”

Clinton’s article comes ahead of the expected release of the State Department’s first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), a study launched in July 2009 which aims to set the framework for how U.S. diplomacy and overseas aid efforts will work together in coming years.

Clinton to gay youth: “hang in there”

Hillary Clinton has joined a growing list of celebrities and politicians reaching out to gay, lesbian and transgender youth following a rash of suicides prompted by bullying. USA/

“I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future:  First of all, hang in there and ask for help,” Clinton said in a video message available on YouTube.

“So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone.  Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength.  Count me among them.”

Hillary Clinton stops to see Bill’s statue in Kosovo

Hillary Clinton stopped on Bill Clinton Boulevard to view one of Kosovo’s main attractions: the Bill Clinton Statue.

Clinton, on her first visit to Kosovo as secretary of state, on Wednesday received a rapturous welcome from the crowd waving U.S. flags and cheering on the Clinton Brand, which many Kosovars see as key to their country’s independence.

KOSOVO/Clinton stopped and looked up at Bill — now 12 feet high and a shimmering gold — and expressed her satisfaction with the likeness.

I’m not forcing Bill to eat tofu and I don’t want to be VP- Hillary

Is  she forcing her husband to eat tofu? No.

Did Bill cry at the wedding? Not really.

Does she want to be vice president? Absolutely not.

On Wednesday, Hillary Clinton graciously handled softball questions about her husband’s diet and her daughter’s wedding at Fortune magazine’s  “Most Powerful Women” conference — before moving on to quash persistent rumors that she  might be interested in the vice presidential slot in a second-term Obama administration.

Ann Moore, the chairman of Time Inc., launched a Q+A session at the summit of 400 leading women in politics, business and the arts with an assessment of Bill Clinton’s successful drive to slim down ahead of his daughter Chelsea’s wedding in July.

“He looked so trim, and he said that’s because you and Chelsea were forcing him to eat tofu!”  Moore said.

White House Intrigue: Could Hillary Replace Joe?

OBAMA/Could Hillary replace Joe as Barack’s main squeeze in 2012? That’s the juicy bit of palace intrigue enlivening today’s U.S. political melodrama.

It started when author Bob Woodward told CNN that the idea of a Clinton-Biden switch was “on the table” — at least among some Clinton advisers. A switch would mean Hillary becoming President Obama’s vice presidential running mate and Joe taking up her State Department chores.

“President Obama needs some of the women, Latinos, retirees that she did so well with during the 2008 primaries. And so they switch jobs,” explained the veteran journalist whose new book, “Obama’s Wars,”  offers an inside look at the administration. 

Mideast peace veterans and handshake diplomacy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly referred to them as “veterans” of the Middle East peace process.

That description is probably one thing everyone can agree on. The process to bring Israelis and Palestinians to a lasting peace agreement has been going on for decades and every U.S. president hopes he’s the one who will finally achieve what those before him tried and failed. PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/

President Barack Obama is the latest to take up the baton. He’s already won the Nobel Peace Prize, but will he be The One to triumph on Middle East Peace?

Of diplomacy and baseball…

Timing is everything in diplomacy and baseball.

After months of prickly talks aimed at coaxing Israelis and Palestinians into direct peace talks, U.S. envoy George Mitchell finally had news to share.
MIDEAST/
But when the U.S. mediator par excellence took the stage for questions Friday at the State Department, reporters tossed him one out of left field.

“As tempted as I am to ask you about Roger Clemens…,” his first questioner began, to chortles from reporters and State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Mitchell, of course, between peacemaking stints in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, took a stab back in 2007 at resolving the conflict between Congress and Major League Baseball over the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Clinton: do you really need all those SUVs?

Emma Ashburn covered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in which she  defended international health spending at a time of domestic belt-tightening.

“At a time when American unemployment is recorded as slightly less than 10 percent, and we know structural unemployment is worse, and we’re asking hard-working, maybe unemployed Americans, to keep paying their taxes, some of that money will go to fund our development and diplomacy efforts worldwide.”

“I have to be able to look them in the eye and tell them they’re getting their money’s worth,” Clinton said. USA/

Even Obama didn’t make the cut for Chelsea’s wedding

Friends of Bill and Hillary Clinton who didn’t get invited to daughter Chelsea’s wedding now have something to take the sting off.

President Barack Obama didn’t get invited either (and the mother of the bride is a member of his Cabinet).

OBAMA/Barbara Walters asked him bluntly on ABC’s “The View” whether he was invited to the wedding of the year.

Hillary’s mango diplomacy in Pakistan

Hillary Clinton has lots to worry about in Pakistan, but she has found one thing she can wholeheartedly embrace: Pakistani mangos.

The U.S. Secretary of State was treated to a mango dessert during dinner with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and they clearly won a fan — Clinton repeatedly raved about the fruit. PAKISTAN-USA/

“We’ll get a lot of people hooked on Pakistani mangos,” Clinton told a “townhall”-style meeting in Islamabad, where she was on an official visit.