Rich Galen

·One of the memories people have shared about Robin Williams is his trips to visit troops in war zones. When I was young(er) I used to watch the Bob Hope specials from Korea or Vietnam or wherever.

·I would wonder why the service members in the audience would yell and scream and laugh and clap over his corny jokes.

·Then, in 2003 at Christmas I wrote this from Iraq;

David Letterman is in Iraq. He stopped by the Palace and did about 20 minutes with Paul the piano player and another guy whom, I was told, was a regular on the show. Letterman has a 7 month old baby. He joked that the kid's first words to him were, "Hi, Grampa." He is missing his baby's first Christmas to be with troops in Iraq.

That says a lot about Mr. Letterman.

·There was no joke too corny. No bit too hackneyed. He was there. With us. And I was in the audience. Yelling, and screaming, and laughing, and clapping.

·I’m sorry Robin Williams is gone.

Main Topic

·The other day we briefly discussed Hillary Clinton’s more-or-less blistering condemnation of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. As you remember she said, in part:

"Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."

·I didn’t take the space to explain, but the word “stuff,” in this construct, is a euphemism for … poo.

·Naturally the press corps (and people like me for whom an “Era of Good Feeling” means I have to start writing doggerel for holiday cards) jumped all over this tectonic split between the Obama and the Clinton teams.

·Just as naturally, Mrs. Clinton backed off her statements and her spokesman, Nick Merrill, as reported by, said:

“The secretary called President Obama to make sure he knows that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him, his policies, or his leadership … She continues to share his deep commitment to a smart and principled foreign policy that uses all the tools at our disposal to achieve our goals.”

·Apparently that commitment to a “smart and principled foreign policy” that she shares now includes “Don’t do stupid [stuff].”

·All that was standard walk-back-the-cat spin that every communications person in Washington has had to do at some time or another.

·The part that made me uncomfortable was when Merrill went on to say that Obama and Clinton would be “hugging it out” at a party they were to have attended on Martha’s Vineyard last night.

·“Hugging it out” is Kum-By-Ah on steroids.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at