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Monday, June 09, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton make their way through the Colonnade to deliver a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House September 12, 2012. | Getty






"In private meetings and public statements ahead of her book’s publication, Hillary Clinton and her allies have presented a united front with President Barack Obama, highlighting their transition from campaign rivals to Cabinet confidants. Yet in the weeks before her memoir, 'Hard Choices,' hits the shelves, news accounts have detailed instances of substantive foreign policy disagreements between the two while she was secretary of state – from the Russian reset to Syria to the U.S. embargo against Cuba.Clinton’s relationship with Obama presents a delicate challenge for the former secretary of state as she rolls out her book this week and potentially a presidential campaign months from now. She does not want to appear disloyal to her former boss but could use some separation given his anemic poll numbers. She’d have to have Obama supporters enthusiastically on board a presidential campaign, while fending off Republican attempts to depict her as representing a third Obama term. Her allies dismiss as simplistic the prism through which Clinton is seen as either with Obama or against him, but Republicans are already seizing on any ray of daylight between them, which further complicates her challenge.'Her record is our record,' former National Security Council and Obama adviser Tommy Vietor, who has joined Clinton’s team to handle response to her book, told Democrats at a recent briefing in Washington. In her book — a manuscript of which was sent to the White House for review before it was printed, two sources told POLITICO — Clinton writes about some of the foreign policy debates in which she differed with the president, from whether to arm Syrian opposition rebels to whether Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak should leave office quickly amid the Arab Spring protests. Foreign policy is not typically an issue at the forefront of voters’ minds in presidential races, but that may be different if there’s a former secretary of state on the ballot." (Politico)





"President Obama and Hillary Clinton have begun a delicate dance to 2016. As the former Secretary of State edges toward a presidential run, she is putting some daylight between herself and the man she would succeed, on issues ranging from the release of Bowe Bergdahl to the civil war in Syria. In Clinton’s new book Hard Choices, to be released Tuesday, she says she disagreed with Obama on Syria and advocated in vain for the arming of rebels fighting the forces of President Bashar Assad. On the Bergdahl swap, Clinton has said she would not second-guess Obama’s decision, even as some former administration officials have told reporters that she would have driven a harder bargain with the Taliban. Adding to the intrigue, Obama and Clinton had lunch at the White House two days before the Taliban handed Bergdahl over, a meeting that did not appear on the president’s official schedule. Once rivals, Obama and Clinton both profess that they are now strong allies — the president referred to her recently as a 'really, really good' friend.Yet already, they are sometimes at cross-purposes, with Obama’s team guarding his legacy, even as he struggles with low approval ratings, and Clinton’s team readying for a possible White House run in which she would inevitably have to distance her political brand from that of her old boss.The two camps have the power to inflict damage on one another, and Clinton, Obama and their loyalists will have to work carefully to prevent old wounds from reopening.The release of Hard Choices presents an opportunity to show how far they’ve come. By common consent, the enmity in the wake of the 2008 primary was felt more acutely by the respective staffs than by the candidates.Now, the leading liberal super-PAC that supported Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, Priorities USA Action, has been retooled as a pro-Hillary vehicle with Jim Messina, who managed Obama’s 2012 bid, serving as co-chairman. Other Obama loyalists, such as field directors Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart, are working with the Ready for Hillary super-PAC.Another core Obama player, Tommy Vietor, who bashed the Clinton camp in the 2008 primary and went on to serve as an assistant press secretary at the White House, is working directly on Clinton’s publicity campaign for her book." (TheHill)




REX USA/Tim Rooke/Rex


"Juan Carlos, king of Spain, announced last week—in a surprise decision—that he would be abdicating the throne, handing the proverbial royal baton to his 46-year-old son, Felipe. At 76 years old, Juan Carlos, per reports, had decided he wanted to let his son rule while he was 'in his prime,' and many outlets last week couldn’t help but compare the Spanish succession to the situation across the water in Britain, where Prince Charles, 65 years old, now the oldest heir to the throne in Britain in over 300 years, continues to wait. And now Juan Carlos has, per reports, made this comparison even more explicit, reportedly telling Rafael Spottorno, chief of the royal household, 'I do not want my son to wither waiting like Prince Charles,' according to Spain’s El Mundo newspaper. 'He saw, above all, that his son was in his prime and didn’t want to see him like Prince Charles who will be 66 in November,' the newspaper claims." (VanityFair)





"Saturday night I went, as a guest of JH, with his wife Danielle and mother-in-law Kathleen, to the Park Avenue Armory to see Shakespeare’s 'Macbeth' starring Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston. This version was commissioned and produced by Park Avenue Armory and Manchester International Festival (where it was performed last July). This New York production was produced in association with Colin Callendar, and it’s not a secret among theatre-goers. It is spectacular. Ben Brantley in the Times reviewed the production last July when it was performed in a cathedral in Manchester, England ... The whole evening was like that. A two-hour play, as you may know (although some have made it longer in their productions). The one thousand guests including some children sat rapt throughout. One little boy, probably no more than 8 or 10, with his father, never took his eyes off the performance. There are battles and rains (yes, real rain and real mud)and thunder and fires and blood bursting. A doomed fright. All because of the Thane of Glamis and Cawdor and the imagined promise of power. Amazingly this is the stage debut of the great Sir Kenneth Branagh in New York, as well as his leading lady Alex Kingston. It’s a limited run, through Sunday, June 22nd. I hear it’s sold-out -- although try and see, if you can. You won’t forget it." (NYSD)

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