What a stupid question to ask the Secretary of State
It is 2009 and even Hillary Clinton has to remind people she thinks for herself.
Admittedly it was an African student who yesterday showed such stunning disrespect for the US Secretary of State, by asking her what her husband’s views were on Chinese contracts in the Congo.
I doubt very much anyone in the United States, or here, would dare be so brazen - to her face. But the rest of us put up with it all the time.
Mrs Clinton was in Kinshasa on an official visit when she was forced to put this idiot on his arse during a Q and A, which she did with great aplomb.
He said: “What does Mr Clinton think, through the mouth of Mrs Clinton?”
She said: “You want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state - I am. If you want my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband.”
Peeved is an understatement for facial expression during the exchange.
The former first lady has no doubt had a trying couple of days, after her husband, former President Bill Clinton flew home from Pyongyang accompanied by two American journalists he’d just rescued from the clutches of Kim Jong-il.
World-wide headlines yesterday such as: “Hillary Clinton: I’m secretary of state, not Bill”, “Hillary Clinton loses cool at question on Bill” and “Hillary snaps on student” must have just topped off her week.
Of course she lost her cool. She’s the Secretary of State, not an idiot, and I’m very glad she resisted the diplomat’s urge to ignore the comment for the sake of saving embarrassment. She’s done us all a bit of a favour.
The other day a good friend of mind told me she’d that during a recent pay negotiation she’d been asked by her manager how much her husband earned - because, you know, that’s relevant to what she should get paid for the job she does at the office.
I’ve had people question what I write because of who I was seeing at the time.
And my colleague Sue Dunlevy described the other day how Tony Abbott had once asked her why she was questioning him instead of being at home looking after her husband.
Sue, one of the most experienced journalists in the Canberra Press Gallery, was also the subject of a bizarre piece of sexism involving Malcolm Turnbull’s former media advisor Tony Barry.
According to The Australian, Barry was upset over something Sue wrote in The Daily Telegraph so confronted - you guessed it - her husband, who works for a television network.
Barry quit the Opposition leader’s office last week, just after Australian Story put to air his admission he’d have to look up the word “concocted” in the dictionary. I bet his wife, if he has one, knows what the word means.
Anyway, Hillary is a very smart woman who’s husband happens to cast a bigger shadow than most.
I hope if anyone every asks her a question like that again she tears them to shreds.
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