Nation/World


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton holds up a football helmet presented to her at the State Department in Washington on Monday. (Associated Press)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton holds up a football helmet presented to her at the State Department in Washington on Monday. (Associated Press)

Clinton makes her return

WASHINGTON – Cheers, a standing ovation and a gag gift of protective headgear greeted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she returned to work on Monday after a monthlong absence caused first by a stomach virus, then a fall and a concussion and finally a brief hospitalization for a blood clot near her brain.

A crowd of about 75 State Department officials greeted Clinton with a standing ovation as she walked in to the first senior staff meeting she has convened since early December, according to those present. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, noting that life in Washington is often a “contact sport, sometimes even in your own home” then presented Clinton with a gift – a regulation white Riddell football helmet emblazoned with the State Department seal, officials said.

She was also given a blue football jersey with “Clinton” and the number 112 – the record-breaking number of countries she has visited since becoming secretary of state – printed on the back. Aides said Clinton was delighted with the gifts but did not try either of them on, and the meeting turned to matters of national security and diplomacy.

“She loved it. She thought it was cool. But then, being Hillary Clinton, she wanted to get right to business,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

At the meeting, Clinton stressed the need for the State Department to implement a review board’s recommendations for improving the security at high-threat diplomatic posts, officials said.

The independent Accountability Review Board, created after the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, harshly criticized leadership and management at two State Department bureaus that allowed the post to be inadequately protected.

Clinton also told her staff on Monday that she would testify before Congress about the report before she leaves office, officials said.


 

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