Saturday, February 2, 2013

America: Clinton says 'bye; Kerry steps into her shoes

Hillary Clinton formally resigned on Friday as America's secretary of state, capping a four-year tenure that saw her shatter records for the number of countries visited. John Kerry was sworn in to replace her.
John Kerry take the oath of office as U.S. Secretary of State
In a letter sent to President Barack Obama shortly before she left the State Department for the last time in her official capacity, Clinton thanked her former rival for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination for the opportunity to serve in his administration. Clinton said it had been an honour to be part of his cabinet.

"I am more convinced than ever in the strength and staying power of America's global leadership and our capacity to be a force for good in the world," she said in the letter.

Her resignation became effective at 4pm Friday, when Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan swore in John Kerry as the top US diplomat. The former senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate is the 68th secretary of state.

"I'm just very, very honoured to be sworn in and I'm very anxious to get to work," Kerry told reporters after the private ceremony at the Capitol.

"I'll be reporting Monday morning at nine o'clock to do my part," he said, but refused to reveal which global hotspot he would visit first.

In the State Department's main lobby, Clinton had to make her way through a throng of American foreign service workers who clamoured for handshakes and smartphone photos with her and gave an emotional goodbye speech.
Last handshakes as Clinton leaves the State Department
She told them to continue to "serve the nation we all love, to understand the challenges, the threats and the opportunities that the United States faces, and to work with all our heart and all of our might to make sure that America is secure, that our interests are promoted and our values are respected."

Clinton, however, also left office with a dig at critics of the Obama administration's handling of the September attack on a US diplomatic mission in Libya. She told the Associated Press in an interview on Thursday that critics of the administration's handling of the attack don't live in an "evidence-based world", and that their refusal to "accept the facts" is unfortunate and regrettable for the political system.

Clinton told AP that the attack in Benghazi was the low point of her time as America's top diplomat. But she suggested that the furore over the assault would not affect her decision to run for the presidency in 2016.

Although she insisted that she has not yet made up her mind what her future holds, she said she "absolutely" still plans to make a difference on issues she cares about in speeches and in a sequel to her 2003 memoir, Living History, which will focus largely on her years as secretary of state.

Reproduced unedited from: 

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai