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All in All, a G'Day for Hillary

"I need all the sympathy I can get," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton confessed early this afternoon.

Apparently so. Trailing Sen. Barack Obama in delegates, the popular vote and opinion polls, the New York Democrat chose an unusual shoulder on which to cry -- that of Australia's new prime minister, Kevin Rudd.

The two were planning to talk for five or 10 minutes at the Brookings Institution at noon, after a speech the prime minister gave and before Clinton traveled to Harrisburg, Pa., for a campaign event. But the pair spent a half hour behind closed doors, and they emerged smiling and whispering for the mostly Australian cameras.

Rudd immediately offered the former first lady the pity she was seeking.

"I have every sympathy for Hillary today," he said.

The prime minister, in granting his sympathy, was referring to the rigors of the campaign trail. But it is widely suspected that his Clinton sympathies go deeper than that.

The source of this speculation is Rudd's appearance last November on a show called "Rove Live," hosted not by Karl Rove but by Australian comedian Rove McManus. During an interview that included the question "who would you turn gay for?", Rudd was asked whether he preferred Clinton or Obama. He chose Clinton.

That, however, was before the Labor leader defeated incumbent Prime Minister John Howard. Now in office, Rudd must be more circumspect. An Australian reporter asked the prime minister, with Clinton at his side, whether he stood by his endorsement.

"I'm a good friend of Senator Clinton's," was his vague reply.

That's not a denial. It should also be noted that Obama won't be getting the face time Clinton got with Rudd. Though the prime minister is scheduled to meet on Tuesday with presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, he is doing his meeting with Obama by telephone.

Too bad for Clinton that foreign heads of government don't have superdelegate status.

-- Dana Milbank

By Dana Milbank  | March 31, 2008; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  Hillary Clinton  
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