In Seoul, 'Dear Secretary'
By Glenn Kessler
SEOUL--Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had lots to say Friday at the world's largest university for women, making the case for greater gender equality and combating any backlash against women's rights; and, on a more policy-oriented note, expressing a desire to improve U.S.-North Korea relations if Pyonyang eliminates its nuclear program.
The mostly female audience of about 2,000 at Ewha Womans University--students, but also movie stars, politicians, designers and others from the cream of Korean female society--listened in rapture.
Then came the questions.
Was there anything else she wanted to be?
How does a woman balance marriage and work?
How does she deal with disappointment?
How did she know Bill Clinton was the one for her?
How much does she love Chelsea?
How would she define love?
For the diplomatic correspondents traveling with Clinton, it was a bit much. What would Henry Kissinger say?
"She's become special envoy for Dear Abby," quipped one reporter.
Clinton herself echoed the sentiment, exclaiming, "I feel more like an advice columnist than a Secretary of State today!"
But she handled the softball questions with aplomb. She spoke of the "discipline of gratitude," the idea that one should try to be grateful for at least one thing each day no matter how dark things seem, and earned appreciative giggles when she mentioned noticing the flowers trying to break through the snow as she headed off to her meetings with Korean government officials earlier in the day.
Joohee Cho, who was once an ace stringer for The Post in Seoul, explained that politicians in Korea never speak about such personal matters in public. But Clinton's memoir was a huge best seller in Korea, and because it was so personal, there was an expectation that she would be willing to handle such topics.
The university went all out for Clinton's town hall meeting, with massive TV screens, a specially designed backdrop and giant banners welcoming her. Officials noted that Clinton was joining the ranks of Queen Elizabeth and president of Ireland as honored guests who have visited the campus.
Cho predicted that the next day's news coverage would be huge.
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