International Women's Day: Michelle Obama shows Hillary Clinton some love
For International Women's Day, there's a Google doodle, sure. But it is also an occasion for the US to honor 10 courageous women from around the world – and for Michelle Obama to sing the praises of Hillary Clinton.
Michelle Obama went to the State Department Thursday to honor 10 courageous women from around the world on International Women’s Day. But she lavished some of her most enthusiastic praise on the woman who almost denied her and her husband the White House: Hillary Clinton.Skip to next paragraph
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After saying and then repeating what an “outstanding” secretary of State Mrs. Clinton has been, and what an “inspiration” she has been “to women and girls around the world,” the first lady said, “She is a role model for me in so many ways. I don’t think she realizes how what she has done has made what I am doing partially possible.”
She then added that, “with all the respect and admiration that I can give her, I will be wherever she needs me to be, whenever she needs me to be there.”
Mrs. Obama’s words went well beyond comments she made at a similar International Women’s Day event last year, when she said Clinton had been a “heckuva” secretary of State.
Clinton had her own words of praise for Obama, saying she is "so grateful to both President and Mrs. Obama for all they have done” to make women’s empowerment a priority. Clinton went on to explain how she and the first lady have used their high offices to further a mutual cause. “What Michelle and I have tried to do in our own ways is to lift up the voices of others,” she said, “because we want a great crescendo of voices, an international chorus that says clearly and unequivocally that women and girls deserve the same rights and opportunities as their fathers and brothers and sons.”
The sisterly love fest couldn’t help but conjure up the less sunny climes and less effusively praiseworthy estimations that typified relations between the two women a few short years ago. At one “Women for Obama” campaign event in Chicago in 2007, Mrs. Obama had meowed, in a clear reference to Clinton, “If you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House. Can’t do it.”
But Mrs. Obama’s enthusiasm Thursday for the job Clinton is doing for the country – and for husband’s presidency – was so extensive, and her praise so ebullient about the secretary’s work for women and girls around the world, that the past seemed deeply buried.
Indeed, Obama’s words carried such an undertone of commitment – “I will be where she needs me to be” – that it raised a question: Is Obama looking ahead to 2013 and encouraging Clinton to stay on in what she (the first lady) expects will be a second term?