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Hillary Clinton now most popular figure in Obama administration

As war rages on several fronts and much of the Middle East and northern Africa is in turmoil, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoys a favorable rating higher than President Obama, Vice President Biden, or Secretary of Defense Gates.

By Staff writer / April 2, 2011

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron listens as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the London Conference on Libya, Tuesday March 29. Clinton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the Arab League, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and up to 40 foreign ministers attended the talks, seeking to ratchet up the pressure on Muammar Qaddafi to quit.

Stefan Rousseau/AP

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As war rages on several fronts and much of the Middle East and northern Africa is in turmoil, the most popular figure in the Obama administration is Hillary Clinton – an activist Secretary of State who seems to be all over the world, participating in if not directing every aspect of US foreign and military policy.

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Secretary Clinton has been a chief spokesman for President Obama’s position on Egypt and Libya as well as a behind-the-scenes force in getting the United States to lead a coalition of nations providing the bombs and missiles necessary to keep the Libyan rebels from being overwhelmed by the forces of Muammar Qaddafi.

Apparently, most Americans approve.

Hillary Clinton: A quiet brand of statecraft

Gallup reported this week that Clinton's favorable rating is now 66 percent, up from 61 percent last July and her highest rating to date while serving in the Obama administration. She’s rated more positively than Obama (54 percent), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (52 percent), and Vice President Joe Biden (46 percent).

“Clinton's popularity may be partly due to the nature of the secretary of state position, which is somewhat above the fray of partisan politics and focused on defending US interests globally,” writes Lydia Saad of the Gallup polling organization. But Ms. Saad also notes that Clinton “is seen in a favorable light by 45 percent of those who separately say they disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president.”

Free from the need to deal with domestic issues or the rough-and-tumble of economic and budgetary matters, Clinton is not tethered to Washington.

“Two years into her tenure as America’s 67th secretary of state, she has out-traveled every one of her predecessors, with 465,000 air miles and 79 countries already behind her,” reports Newsweek in a recent lengthy piece headlined “The Hillary Doctrine.” “Her Boeing 757’s cabin, stocked with a roll-out bed, newspapers, and a corner humidifier, now serves as another home as she flies between diplomatic hot spots, tackling the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, tensions with Iran and North Korea, the Arab-Israeli peace process, and, now, the serial Middle East upheavals.”

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