Tales from the Trail

Clinton jokes about Yemen stumble

Call it the Trip.

USA-YEMEN/Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wrapping up a high-stakes trip to Yemen to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation on Wednesday, stumbled briefly upon re-entering her airplane. Clinton was unhurt and newswise it was a non-event — except that it was captured by television cameras.

Clinton’s video misstep ended up going out on YouTube and became a minor Internet sensation, prompting snarky headlines from some of the world’s headline writers (“Unexpected trip on Clinton plane!” joked one).

It’s the kind of pointless fingerpointing that public figures (and sometimes journalists) loathe because it distracts from real news, in this case Clinton’s effort to broaden the U.S. relationship with Yemen, which is gaining notoreity as one of the world’s main incubators of al Qaeda.

But Clinton obviously decided to take control of the meme, because she mentioned it herself on Thursday during a meeting at her next stop in the Gulf  state of Qatar.

Qatar’s ruler, welcoming Clinton to his palace, spoke about how he had fallen in his home and Clinton responded with her own story.
“It happened to me just yesterday actually. I was going up the stairs to the airplane and I was looking over my back and waving and then I turned and there was a bump in the, in the entry into the plane. You know, those things happen,” she added.

United States 0-2 in world sports arena

The United States has now lost out on two huge world sporting events in the past two years. And in each instance to first-time winners.

It may be an unintended consequence of the fight against terrorism. The very security policies aimed at protecting the United States from attack, might be working to bench it in contests to host world sporting events due to some concerns that foreign fans, players, even officials may have trouble entering the United States for the games. SOCCER/WORLD

FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, the smallest country ever to host the soccer finals,  over competitors Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

State Department revs up NASCAR Diplomacy

MOTOR-RACING/

Foggy Bottom, rev your engines.

The U.S. State Department, for the first time ever, is turning to NASCAR to help get America’s message across.

The department said 11 young motor enthusiasts from Bahrain and Qatar will participate in the inaugural “motorsports exchange” this month, including a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in North Carolina and a stop in Miami for races at the Homestead-Miami speedway.

The young delegates from the Gulf, who are all involved in auto racing as drivers, mechanics or car or track performance technicians, will receive briefings on “NASCAR research and development, track safety, crew diversity and community and family involvement,” the department said in a press note.