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Clinton to be second Cabinet member skipping SOTU

By Al Kamen
Madame Secretary sends her regrets.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a pass last week from President Obama to skip Wednesday night's State of the Union speech. (We had heard she begged to be excused, but apparently it didn't come to that.)

Seems that there's an important international meeting in London Wednesday on battling radicalization in Yemen and then another, long-planned, conference on Thursday on development and security in Afghanistan.

When the Wednesday meeting was "locked in" recently, we were told, the State Department and the National Security Council staffs agreed she had to be in London. These are both big administration priorities. Key allies will be gathering there for Yemen, an uber-concern of late, especially since the Christmas airplane bombing attempt.

And everyone who's anyone -- including maybe the neo-Soviets and the Chicoms and possibly even the Iranians -- will be there for the Afghanistan confab.

Clinton laid out the situation in a meeting last week with Obama and he agreed she should go.

But London does not qualify as an "undisclosed location." So this means there will be two Cabinet officers not attending the speech: Clinton and the designated hold back in case of terrorist attack. (Or in case everyone falls asleep at the same time.)

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 26, 2010; 2:07 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , In the Loop  
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Comments

With all the crazed tea baggers running around with guns these days, and all the "conservative Christian" (oxymoronic) pastors praying for the president's demise, it's probably a good idea to hold back several successors from a big joint event like this.

In fact, until American fully deals with its domestic Taliban problem, vigilance should probably be a continuing priority.

Posted by: B2O2 | January 26, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I am impressed, Hillary! Smart move! I don't plan to be at the State of the Union address, either (watching it on television, I mean). I have a prior engagement. There's a really great sale on navel oranges at Wal-Mart.

Posted by: georges2 | January 26, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

love the header -- the implication being the distancing of high profile dems from the president. because, of course, why in the world would the secretary of state put precedence over a silly international meeting to discuss afghanistan -- a black hole of billions in u.s. treasury (not to mention blood) to sit in the chamber for what has become an increasing farce.

Posted by: mycomment | January 26, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Boycotting the State of the Union is smart, since the majority view his speech as talking about Obamaland instead of the USA.

Showing yourself there is the worst idea.
Every one might consider coming down with what "might be swine flu" tomarrow.

Represntatives of the people shouldn't go. Empire builders of Obamaland will.

TV sets will be off to show a boycott "will of the people" to networks.

"Can you hear me now?" will just have to be his new mantra for a while now. The people are tired of trying to be heard.
He won't listen, so neither will we.

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Posted by: sfdgerygyhjujedtgfhfg | January 26, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Boycotting the State of the UNIOn is smart, since the majority view his speech as talking about Obamaland instead of the USA.

Showing yourself there is the worst idea.
Every one might consider coming down with what "might be swine flu" tomarrow.

Represntatives of the people shouldn't go. Empire builders of Obamaland will.

Posted by: dottydo | January 26, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Boycotting the State of the UNIOn is smart, since the majority view his speech as talking about Obamaland instead of the USA.

Showing yourself there is the worst idea.

Represntatives of the people shouldn't go. Empire builders of Obamaland will.

Posted by: dottydo | January 26, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Hillary has already heard enough Obama BS to last a life-time.

Posted by: JCM-51 | January 26, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

She won't be at the SOTU address because she's mapping out her campaign plans for 2012. Obama is clearly a one-termer, and he's going to face a challenge if he runs again. Hillary sees this, and is preparing her future. The only question now is whether she quits as Secretary of State in 2010 or 2011.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | January 26, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Good for Hillary not wasting time listening to Obama making excuses for his pathetic performance. Sounds like she is engaged in greater endeavors that have far more meaning for Americans.

Posted by: mgd1 | January 26, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Probably Hillary knew she would be hard pressed to keep the smile from tugging at her lips during Obama's view of his accomplishments.

Posted by: prossers7 | January 26, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

These issues that Hillary will be dealing with abroad certainly warrant her absence from the SOTUS. The SOTUS is mainly political theater, so Hillary's time and efforts are better spent on something substantial.

Posted by: bjbprice | January 26, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is probably gearing up to challenge Barry the incompetent boob Obama in the 2012 Democrat primary elections.

One Term Barry is going to be gone one way or the other, so Hillary might as well run while she is still young enough to manage it.

Posted by: screwjob11 | January 26, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

too funny WAPO does not allow any posts on articles on WAPO about the fallout of the US Military being used to get a foot in the door in Haiti. But the SOTU yep ... post away.
The new media and the new economy can not come fast enough to KILL this old world order which is the new world order.
People Power. "storm the gates"

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | January 26, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Hillary will be in good company because I will not be watching Barry's snoozefest either. I already know what this headless chicken has accomplished in his first year, which has been a three-ring circus of blunders since Day One.

Posted by: screwjob11 | January 26, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Much ado about absolutely postively nothing!!!

Posted by: rlj1 | January 26, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

They have to get through a few people before they get to Hillary. This is the succession list (in order):

Vice President
Speaker of the House
President pro tempore of the Senate
Secretary of State
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Attorney General
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Secretary of Homeland Security

Posted by: russtom1 | January 26, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

See no problems with it. Okay with the president okay with me. When I tune out as voter then he has reasons to be concerned.
Really! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NZCWsbvS50

Posted by: Victoria5 | January 26, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

See no problems with it. Okay with the president okay with me. When I tune out as voter then he has reasons to be concerned.
Really! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NZCWsbvS50

Posted by: Victoria5 | January 26, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I would guess that because Clinton's location is known, it does pose a continuity of government problem and thus requires another cabinet member to be away at an undisclosed location. Granted, these are probably nightmare scenarios bordering on "24" plotlines, though.

Posted by: exerda | January 26, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

If the Secretary of State is already not going to be present, why does another if the direct succession officials need to be absent? It does not matter that her location is disclosed. Just because she is outside the country does not set up a succession problem. Maybe someone needs to rethink the security behind this event.

Posted by: old_sarge | January 26, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

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