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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Odd Couple: Bill and Kim (and Hillary)

Op-Ed Columnist - Let the Big Dog Run -
Maureen Dowd writes:

Kim Jong-il’s bright smiles were not returned by Bill Clinton. It was strange to see the reclusive Kim so eager and the raffish Clinton so disciplined. Yet the grinning North Korean and stony-faced American were no doubt both savoring their moment of mutual relevance.

The price set by Kim for releasing the two captured American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, was a few hours basking in the presence of the ex-president who most wanted to visit North Korea. Bill Clinton was willing to bow but not scrape.

Hillary sparked an international spat when she said that, as a mother, she understood that the North Koreans were simply unpopular and unruly children misbehaving to get attention.

Now, less than two weeks later, those bad-seed children had managed to command the full attention of her husband.

Maybe it was some clever North Korean revenge plot, giving the limelight to Daddy to punish Mommy. Just as Hillary muscled her way back into the spotlight, moving past her broken elbow and grabbing the focus from her bevy of peacock envoys, she was blown off the radar screen again by an even more powerful envoy: the one she lives with.

It was a moment unique in the annals of diplomacy. Bill was being hailed as a dazzling statesman who might have changed the stormy weather between the U.S. and North Korea, just as Hillary was beginning an 11-day trip to Africa designed to highlight the subjects she most cares about: do-gooder development and women’s issues.

The one in charge of world affairs disappeared from the news all day on Tuesday. The one out of office dominated the news. His plane is rolling down the runway in Pyongyang with the two pardoned women on board? Zowie!

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