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WaPo's Kornblut Goes From Belittling To Praising Hillary Clinton In Three Days

First Posted: 09/18/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:50 PM ET

Clinton Africa

This afternoon on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell was joined by the Washington Post's Ann Kornblut, to talk about the goings on between President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here's how they ended their exchange:

MITCHELL: And we have to say, for all of the talk of Bill versus Hillary and all of that, we shouldn't lose sight of what she did. She really has elevated as Mary Beth Sheridan wrote in the Washington Post today, really has elevated the whole aspect of women. I talked to Richard Engel about the women in Afghanistan, but women around the world is very much a part of Hillary Clinton's diplomatic mission.


KORNBLUT: Yeah, absolutely, and has been in her life for a long time. Going back to the famous speech she gave in 1995 in Beijing when she was First Lady and she said women's rights are human rights and vice versa. She has been an international celebrity. And even though there have been two previous female Secretaries of State, she's elevated that role, she's given women around the world someone that they're familiar with to look to and this trip to Africa, that was a great deal of her focus and has been at the State Department since she's been there.

This was, in a word, jarring, considering the take Kornblut offered this past Sunday on ABC's This Week, which, for my money, was some of the most asinine and belittling analysis I've heard in a long time. It all stemmed from Hillary Clinton's now-endlessly repeated, "My husband is not the Secretary of State, I am," statement. Purely the stuff of silly seasons and slow news Augusts! Here's how Kornblut summed up Clinton's trip.

KORNBLUT: [W]e reported out that there was no mistranslation. That she was asked about her husband. The reporters who were there said it was very hot. She was very tired. So maybe her demeanor is not the one she would have wanted, but that the underlining sentiment that she's the secretary of state is one that she intended to convey, especially in a region of the world that is so male dominated.


But the incident is kind of bigger than that. It's sort of the perfect encapsulation of the burden of being Hillary Clinton. That you are seen in relation to your husband wherever you go, not just by the media, but by the world and asked questions about him. And it reminded me a lot of the campaign, when she was seen in relation to him and having to respond and trying to be her own person. But it also raises the question of what kind of secretary of state she is going to be. And if she is going to be able to harness the celebrity, which of course is the reason we're all talking about it, in a - to a larger purpose. Some people, when this whole incident happened said to me, you know, she looks kind of like a first lady on this trip. She's out there. She's been gone for 11 days, 7 countries. She's away from the center of action here. So I expect we may see some shorter trips from her, ones where she's not going to get as tired when she's on the road. But at the end of the day, I think her, again the underlining sentiment is one that certainly the White House and she defend that she had the right to say that.

Oh, my stars and garters! An adult woman responds, with strength and confidence, to what she perceives to be a belittling, sexist remark, and I'm supposed to believe that this is a career-defining oddity that calls into question whether she will effectively "harness her celebrity?" And that maybe she needs to take shorter trips, to maybe keep her hysteria in check? And so she doesn't end up looking "like a first lady" to some unnamed hosebag that Ann Kornblut happened to talk to, one day?

Yes, truly this incident alone "raises the question" of "what kind of Secretary of State she is going to be." Because surely this one statement entirely offsets whatever work Hillary Clinton has done as secretary of state for the past two hundred days, work that Kornblut demonstrates no awareness of, at all!

Thankfully, if her comments today are any guide, Kornblut is now certain that Clinton has used her "celebrity" to "elevate" her "role," and that she's been diligently raising the profile of women in the world as "a great deal of her focus...at the State Department since she's been there." I have to wonder: maybe it's because MSNBC's Chris Matthews, of all people, put the mad kibosh on the silly talk over Clinton on Hardball yesterday:

MATTHEWS: Also, I think one story that's been overlooked recently is Hillary Clinton's terrific work in Africa. We'll give her the credit she's due...tonight.

Remarkable turnaround for Kornblut, one day to the next, one network to the next!

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