The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


On the Plane

Clinton's Maiden Voyage as Secretary

By Glenn Kessler
TOKYO, Feb. 17 -- Welcome to a new edition of the "On the Plane," The Washington Post's blog on overseas travel with the chief diplomat of the United States.

This is Hillary Rodham Clinton's maiden voyage as secretary of state. If you have been reading the news stories, you know what the main issues have been on her trip. But here are a few vignettes that have not quite fit into the news accounts:

  • On the plane flight over to Asia, the day after Valentine's Day, the secretary presented the traveling press with a tin of heart-shaped ginger snaps -- Mrs. Haanes Moravian Cookies, "hand rolled with love."

  • When Clinton landed in Tokyo on Monday morning, there was an elaborate welcoming ceremony, which included two female Japanese astronauts. "I admire you," Clinton said when she shook the hand of Chiaki Mukai. "When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be an astronaut."

  • Tuesday morning at another welcoming ceremony --at a Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji, who is considered the father of modern Japan -- Clinton seemed startled by the first loud bang of the drum.

  • Clinton's years as first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States and U.S. senator have given her connections that are unusual for a novice secretary of state. When she held a news conference with Foreign Minister Hirofume Nakasone, Clinton noted that they had first met 18 years ago, when Nakasone was a parliamentarian, happy to meet an up-and-coming state governor named Bill Clinton.

    Read more about Glenn Kessler's trip at On the Plane»

    Posted at 1:51 PM ET on Feb 17, 2009  | Category:  On the Plane
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