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 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.

Clinton also had the rare honor of seeing Empress Michiko at the imperial residence on this trip. The Empress, who personally came out to greet Clinton and eagerly clasped her hands, was described an "old friend." The two women first met in 1994, when Clinton was first lady.

By Washington Post Editor |  February 17, 2009; 9:18 AM ET  | Trip:  Clinton in Asia, February 2009
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Comments

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Oh, yes, Mrs. Clinton has a long history. The current economic collapse of Japan is essentially of her doing also. Economy of Japan mainly crashed because of the close tights with the USA economy. the same happened in the 1929 depression. And I cannot name another person, even R. Cheney, who had contributed as much as Mrs. Clinton has done to the collapse of the USA economy. However, Mr. Bush is still her strong competitor in the race, is he not?

Posted by: aepelbaum | February 17, 2009 10:39 AM

Mrs. Clinton better keep in mind that she is not the POTUS & she needs to stop talking about the "OBAMA administration." The Obama administration is the U.S. government.
That said, thank you President Obama for getting this showboat out of New York. Got any slots for the rest of her New York cronies. e.g. Schumer as ambassador to Italy, home of the paparazzi. He'd love it.

Posted by: Miri | February 17, 2009 12:46 PM

"...a few vignettes that have not quite fit into the news accounts:"

The reason for that must be obvious to everyone but Glenn Kessler. Let me guess, while utterly insignificant, moments like these speak volumes about the character and motives of the SecState. Right, Glenn? What a joke.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 17, 2009 8:42 PM

It would be nice if this was a more regular blog (not just once every few months). Something along the lines of the tidbits that are included in the pool reports. that stuff is priceless.

Posted by: Snidely | February 18, 2009 8:14 AM

aepelbaum-

I would love for you to explain how Ms. Clinton is single handedly responsible for the world financial meltdown- because as a statement it seems assenine- she was first lady who on record opposed deregulation- but even if she didn't- she was FIRST LADY- not president; Bill had a republican senate and house for 6/8 years and an uncooperative Dem. one for 2 years- so he signed Phil Grahms law- he did not push for it.

In her time as a senator she has had a fairly progressive record- for the last 4 years she has only voted differently from Barack on 6 items of importance and on 4 of those, she took the more progressive position- I don't see her as the main senator for deregulation.

Deregulation is what allowed these financial companies to make the awful investments and loans that led to this mess. That and a country that is culturally fixed on living beyond it's means- borrowing ridiculous sums-
Bush/Cheney are overall responsible for that.

But if you need to find a woman to blame- atleast look for one who has a conservative record- perhaps Thatcher? More likely, just work out your blame issues for women in therapy...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 18, 2009 11:53 AM

Miri-
did you note that in Indonesia, HRC sent regards from Barack- she understands her job- maybe you should read the article-the campaign is over- stop your hating-

Actually, the majority of us in NY miss her as senator-she was immensely popular here with a 70% approval rating. She was a good senator- she worked hard- if anyone was showboating it was a senator from Illinois, look at the records, dear.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 18, 2009 11:57 AM

Incredible! Empress Michiko doesn't go out of her way to meet ANY ONE important or not! She 'clasped' Hillary's hands and met her personally?

This is a great sign for American diplomacy abroad and Hillary Rodham Clinton is probably going to be the best Secretary of State ever appointed. She is truly well-connected throughout the World and her "personal" connections will bear fruit for American policy and diplomacy.

Posted by: mary | February 18, 2009 2:59 PM

Well, I can't believe the lack of knowledge and sheer inability to confront facts as up here with EapelBaum's shortsighted, erroneous, misleading comment!

What in heavens' name did Hillary Clinton have to do with Japan's and current American economic mess! Ask Bush and Cheney with their total lack of REGULATION on the markets, you incomprehensibly dunderheaded commenter! Or is your HIllary=-hate too strong to open your mind to some much needed facts?! Grow up, Aepbaum and start thinking!!

Posted by: AepelBozo | February 18, 2009 3:03 PM

Come on, now, Aepelbaum, quit your HIllary-and-woman-hatred!

What did Hillary have to do with the economic collapse? Read some reports, quit using this a forum for your sick, misogynist, Obamyopic views!

Read Synthetic Terror, and read Kathleen Parker's Feb.9 WashingtonPost column:

"So Far, (Obama's) Amateur Hour"....

Aepelbuam learn how to read and write, sweetie, and call mom....

Posted by: SexistAeplbaum | February 18, 2009 3:05 PM

GLENN KESSLER,

This is a great column. Far better to keep us informed on the SoS's visits and 'vignettes of substance'than the boring usual reports written by bureaucratic or "pseudo-media" hacks!

Why doesn't Foreign Post's bloggers get Glenn to write for them.

FP's Carolyn used to write the Madam Sec. blog. Why doens't Glenn take over!

Glenn, please keep on keeping us IFNORMED! Thanks....

Posted by: SoS vignettes | February 18, 2009 3:09 PM

GLENN KESSLER,

This is a great column. Far better to keep us informed on the SoS's visits and 'vignettes of substance'than the boring usual reports written by bureaucratic or "pseudo-media" hacks!

Why doesn't Foreign Post's bloggers get Glenn to write for them.

FP's Carolyn used to write the Madam Sec. blog. Why doens't Glenn take over!

Glenn, please keep on keeping us IFNORMED! Thanks....

Posted by: SoS vignettes | February 18, 2009 3:09 PM

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