Hillary Clinton to-do list: mother of the bride, avoid nuclear war

In the months leading up to Chelsea Clinton's Saturday wedding in New York, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton juggled diplomacy in places like the Korean Peninsula while checking flower arrangements and dress options on her Blackberry.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, in this July 19 photo.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is a busy woman, so she can be grateful that the New York Daily News settled one of the more time-consuming questions revolving around daughter Chelsea’s wedding on Saturday.

The New York tabloid decided that Miss Clinton’s wedding to investment banker Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, NY, is merely the “wedding of the decade.” [Editor's note: The original version of this story misspelled Marc Mezvinsky's name.]


Earlier characterizations in the same publication’s pages had included “wedding of the century” and “wedding of the millennium.” (No Daily News reporter had apparently been dismissive enough to call it the “wedding of the day,” although presumably that would still have been quite a distinction).

IN PICTURES: Chelsea Clinton through the years

With this issue off the table, the secretary of State could get back to solving the Middle East conflict, sanctioning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and getting tough with China over economic policy.

Except that Secretary Clinton’s schedule has included no public appointments all week. It was easy to deduce why.

For weeks, the nation’s top diplomat has honored her mother-of-the-bride duties as best she could, even as she trotted ‘round the globe, from Europe to East Asia (even setting foot at one point onto North Korean soil).

Clinton told her staff to differentiate between her two sets of duties by calling her MOTB (mother of the bride) for her wedding assignments. She has told inquiring foreign journalists of receiving flower arrangement photos and descriptions of potential wedding reception faire on her Blackberry and office computer.

While abiding by her daughter’s apparent desire for as much privacy for the nuptials (of the decade) as possible – and, for that matter, her and husband Bill’s established pattern of keeping their only daughter out of the limelight as much as possible – Clinton has also shared what few tidbits she apparently felt she could.

What proud mom (or dad) could resist?

Clinton told Polish TV of her gratitude for e-mail, which has allowed her to review wedding particulars and help make crucial decisions, like dress selections, remotely. While in Asia earlier this month, she acknowledged that traveling extensively while trying to plan her daughter’s wedding “is proof … that I may be lacking in common sense.”

Perhaps she was at her most honest when she told her Polish interviewer in early July that the wedding “truly is the most important thing in my life right now.” And who could begrudge the MOTB that?

Still, this particular MOTB has managed to squeeze in a little global peace talk even as she has clucked over a cherished daughter’s wedding gown. When NBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked Clinton in Islamabad about the significance of the interfaith marriage – Chelsea is Christian, Mr. Mezvinsky is Jewish – Clinton answered in the universal language of the diplomat and the mom.

“Over the years, so many of the barriers that prevented people from getting married, crossing lines of faith or color or ethnicity have just disappeared,” she said. “Because what’s important is: Are you making a responsible decision? Have you thought it through? Do you understand the consequences? And I think in the world that we’re in today we need more of that.”

IN PICTURES: Chelsea Clinton through the years


of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.