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Hillary Clinton, cover girl

By Ed O'Keefe
Hillary Clinton

The secretary of state gets the TIME Magazine cover treatment this week, as correspondent Joe Klein traveled with Hillary Clinton during her recent overseas tour. Klein's report includes some interesting insights on the roles of the nation's top diplomat:

The job of Secretary of State is more thankless than glamorous; in some ways, the Department of State, a noble antique, is still trying to come to terms with the invention of the telephone. In an era when Twitter haiku-messaging rules, diplomacy moves at the speed, and requires the nuanced complexity, of literature. Power has drifted from State to the National Security Council and the Pentagon, especially in wartime. Only a few of Clinton's recent predecessors have distinguished themselves. Henry Kissinger, a National Security Adviser who belatedly became Secretary of State, was Richard Nixon's schizophrenic alter ego; George Shultz was a strong policy voice in the Reagan Administration; James Baker had clout because he was George H.W. Bush's best friend and a world-class dealmaker. Most of the others have been frustrated or forgettable. And yet this is Hillary Clinton we're talking about -- the second most popular American in the world, an eternally compelling and supremely talented character, the subject of constant speculation, a walking headline. Her very presence in the job makes it crucial once more.

Incidentally, Clinton has now appeared on TIME's cover at least 16 times. Read Klein's full report here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 5, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, FY-Eye  
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