Hillary Clinton snapped. It was unfortunate, because she is our secretary of state, and she blew a fuse while abroad; but it's only human to unload now and again, and it was all a misunderstanding, in any case. What I find dispiriting is how the media's treatment of situations like this has a decided partisan bias.
Unless you were on vacation and avoiding all media, you probably know the story. During her seven-nation tour of Africa, the former first lady lashed out at a student in Kinshasa, Congo, who apparently asked her a question about her husband's views on China and the Congo. (According to reports, the student claimed it was a mistranslation and he was asking about President Obama's views.)
Our secretary of state reacted: "Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state. I am. You ask my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband."
As it happens, the student's query wouldn't have been the most inappropriate thing to ask. Clinton's husband, we must recall, is a former president of the United States. And his own mission to North Korea to secure the release of two imprisoned journalists had just eclipsed his wife's trip to Africa.
In reporting the incident, NBC's Andrea Mitchell explained on the Today show: "A lot of jet lag, clearly. By then she was at the half point in a 12-day trip, seven countries, very difficult travel. She had done 22 speeches and five interviews and she was exhausted -- and clearly, some would say, having a bad hair day. So not an easy day for Hillary Clinton." Later in the morning, she repeated the bad-hair day observation and excuse.
If bad hair days account for international incidents, perhaps Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson needs to be nominated for the country's chief diplomatic position next time. Rogaine prohibited.
One liberal columnist, in defending Clinton, took the occasion for an additional defense of President Obama and his assessment of the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. In a line that became increasingly familiar in media circles, both the secretary of state and the president were coyly condemned for their authenticity, as if they were being "too real" for the sensitive, ethereal world of politics.