Mini mystery: Where’s Hillary Clinton?

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Mini mystery: Where’s Hillary Clinton?

Post by ToddS on Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:22 pm

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Mon Apr 25, 10:48 am ET

Mini mystery: Where’s Hillary Clinton?

By Laura Rozen

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In more than two years as Barack Obama's Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has kept up a punishing schedule of near constant foreign travel, diplomatic outreach, White House meetings, and management of the large State Department bureaucracy. And in the process, she's emerged as one of the most popular figures in Obama's cabinet.

So it was very unusual when this week's State Department public "week ahead" itinerary described Clinton as having no public appointments at all on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Indeed, her first public appointment is not scheduled until Thursday morning—and that is a highly ceremonial appearance: officiating at a symbolic swearing-in of children of State Department employees participating in take your child to work today.

What's more, Clinton is conspicuously missing—even by videoconference—from the list of senior Obama national security advisers and cabinet chiefs due to meet with the President today on Afghanistan and Pakistan at 11:30 AM.

Asked about her absence from the list, a White House spokesman said he doesn't know why she's not participating in the Af-Pak powwow, directing a reporter to ask her office.

The Envoy has duly launched queries to the State Department. Readers are not advised to hold their breaths in anticipation of official replies, however: Both chief spokespeople at the State Department also appear to be out of the office this week, and the State Department notified the press that it is not holding its usual daily press conference today.

So is Clinton on a secret diplomatic mission? Has she slipped off for a quiet family get-away? Is America's top diplomat simply ground down by her brutal schedule, or laid up with a case of spring allergies, which she acknowledged suffering from last year?

A State Department source says Clinton's taking a little Easter break R&R, although he did not reveal her location.

However well-deserved the respite, Clinton, 63, is -- as one of the most famous and recognizable women in the world -- not a person who disappears so easily, at least not without a lot of help. So let us know if you spot her.

In the meantime, we also note in passing presumably unconnected reports via RFERL's Golnaz Esfandiari that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also not shown up at work for four days, and reportedly did not attend a cabinet meeting Sunday. Presumably an Easter long-weekend get-away does not explain the beleaguered Iranian leader's reported absence.

(Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talk during an interview by PBS' Charlie Rose, Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at the State Department in Washington.: Alex Brandon/AP Photo.)

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“We have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.”

Thomas Jefferson

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