Hillary Clinton may have lost the Democratic primary to Barack Obama back in 2008, but this week in New York, she was Secretary of State and Commander-in-Chief all rolled into one as she acted as the president's surrogate at the United Nations General Assembly.
Clinton, who arguably has closer ties with many of the world's top leaders than the president, took over many of the tasks usually left to the president during this week.
President Obama only spent 24-hours in the city, choosing to eschew formal meetings with world leaders to return to his campaign schedule. He was the first president in over 20 years not to meet with a foreign leader at the conference.
The president's schedule this year was in stark contrast to last year's, in which he had no fewer than a dozen bilateral meetings with foreign leaders.
This year, the president used his time in New York to give his speech on the general assembly floor, deliver a speech to Bill Clinton's Global Initiative gathering and tape an appearance on "The View."
Each of these stops - excluding the GA speech, which is all but mandatory - fit into the president's current top goal of re-election. Although some world leaders were surprised by the schedule, most did not show any outward disagreement with it.
The most widely discussed meeting that did not take place this year was the bilateral with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
While Secretary Clinton did meet Netanyahu Thursday night in New York, the State Department canceled a late-night briefing on the meeting, instead issuing a detail-less statement calling it "an open, wide-ranging constructive conversation."
The lacking meeting readout came after the Israeli Prime Minister, known for his contentious relationship with Obama, firmly contradicted the U.S.'s Iran policy in his GA speech earlier that day, saying there was no time left for diplomacy with the budding nuclear nation.
"[Clinton and Netanyahu] had an in-depth discussion on Iran, and reaffirmed that the United States and Israel share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," the State Department statement read.
"They agreed that we will continue our close consultation and cooperation toward achieving that goal," it added, without giving any substantial information.
Other than the Netanyahu meeting, Clinton played the presidential role fluently in New York, meeting with foreign ministers and heads of state. She even sat in on UN Secretary-General's heads of state luncheon, which Obama last year said he would attend four more times after his re-election.
Clinton also gave remarks Monday at her husband's annual event, jumping into the election game by delivering a rare political rebuke to the "elite" of all nations who "do not contribute to the growth of their own countries."
When asked whether his wife will run for political office again in 2016, Bill Clinton said he had "no earthly idea" but then added, "I think she demonstrated as senator and as secretary of state that she has extraordinary ability."
Hillary, who has signaled she will step down as Secretary of State if Obama is re-elected this year, will remain in New York through Monday for additional meetings with world leaders.
by RTT Staff Writer
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