Monday, October 4, 2010


If I woke up as Hillary, what would my day be like? Could I do what she does? No! Could she do what I do? No! But miles and miles of brain links -- thousands, millions of things make it impossible for me to pretend to be her for a day.

What about today, last week, or Monday two weeks ago?

Her schedule: 8:30 a.m: "Bilateral meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister, Seiji Maehara, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City."

"At the Waldorf" means the meeting was in an elegant suite, prepared for the occasion with a dining table and chairs, and breakfast foods. I instinctively think of things a woman has to do before a meeting, but I'm sure Hillary has a staff that handles things like that in the State Department at the Harry S. Truman Building in D.C. There's a $16.4 billion annual budget for Hillary and two executive deputy secretaries to run the show --the State Department involves about 50,000 people in various US missions abroad and at home.

Okay -- she got up (I'd say 7.a.m.). Aside from morning ablutions, there were the typical female decisions -- hairdo, makeup, what color outfit to wear -- no heels (long day, walking down long halls would be involved). These days, her outfits are more tailored, more subdued colors (probably weight gain and awareness that she's not the "star" of the show).

Did she phone a good morning to Chelsea, or Bill? Were there other personal things on her mind? I hope so, even as I hope not -- whew -- if I were Hillary I'd have awakened at 6, and studied information about the people at today's meetings -- reviewed names of wives, kiddies, hobbies. But Hillary doesn't need to -- she's just doing what she did for years and years in Arkansas, D.C, New York, and in every state in the union during her campaign.

After breakfast with Seiji, she was off to the UN -- the President was in New York City for 3 days and 2 nights of meetings and events.

The issues -- peace in the middle east, nuclear non-proliferation, new foreign aid policies, our commitment to an active role in the Sudan and Asia tension -- Hillary knows all the nooks and crannies of prior discussions, and who needs to be handled how -- what to say to Iran's President, Ahmadinejad, after his shocking remark about us spearheaded the 9-11 attacks?

Did she thank him for releasing American hiker, Sarah Shourd? Did she smooth it over with that tight-lipped, strong, eye-to eye look or hers, letting him know his remarks were offensive was part of her job? (I'm sure she did!)

At 3 p.m, Hillary spoke at the UN Security Council Summit on Peacekeeping. Was there time to review her remarks? It was a summary of what the US has done to re-establish relations with anti-American countries. She and the President don't sell, or promote what they've accomplished -- things the media is too busy to mention (busy with midterm election predictions, negative opinions about what's not being done the White House.)

At 6:15 p.m. (did she have a snack, visit a restroom, repair makeup, tuck in loose ends of her hair -- yes, I keep thinking about grooming but that's what a woman has to do), Hillary was back at the Waldorf where she spoke at the Millennium Challenge Cooperation signing ceremony for Philippine President, Benigno Aquino III.

My head's awhirl. I never heard of the MCC, but Hillary knew and praised their $434 million (much needed), grant to the Filipino people.

Okay, she's wonderful. She remembers stuff. She can give speeches. She smiles --she's gracious, and conveys friendship with hundreds of strangers. She IS astounding. And 45 minutes later, at 7:00 p.m., she was at a bilateral meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, reassuring him, after the our withdrawal of combat troops, Iraq will have the protection of security council funds.

All her meetings are referred to as "bilateral," which means the U.S.'s objectives, and the other guy's objectives are on the table, discussed, and exchanged. (Maybe that's why this is turning into a bilateral 'how-does-she-manage,' 'how-would-I- manage,' sort of post.)

8:15 p.m. Secretary Clinton held a bilateral meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister, Zalmay Rassoul, to help him prepare for his speech at the next the Millennium Challenge meeting.

Rassoul said: "Afghanistan is aware, perhaps more than many, of exactly how much we can accomplish when working together. Our responsibility, as world leaders and as human beings, is to persevere in our quest to improve the lives of our fellows. I am convinced that, with commitment and focus, we will succeed."

Good words, for the end of the UN session. The long day was over. No mention was made of where, when, or with whom the Secretary of State had dinner, and what was on her agenda for the next morning. I don't know who helps, informs, prompts, guides, or praises Hillary.

Or who kisses her goodnight. Except me, in my mind -- I've admired her for years and watched her evolve. The warmth that's in her eyes, in her smile, the cheerful hopeful energy she projects -- "tidings of comfort and joy" -- the incredible positiveness Hillary radiates -- I am astonished by this woman who uses herself all day long and every evening, and then, by herself, alone, rests to prepare herself to do what Hillary Rodham Clinton does again tomorrow and tomorrow.
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