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Archive for May, 2011

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U.S.-Colombia High-Level Partnership Dialogue

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin
George C. Marshall Conference Center
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Please, be seated. And thank you so much for what I have heard has been a very productive day as we put some meat on the bones of the High-Level Partnership Dialogue. And I’m very pleased to be here with the foreign minister and the entire Colombian delegation. This is the second-ever U.S.-Colombian High-Level Partnership Dialogue, and we meet at a time when there is so much going on in our hemisphere and around the world, and we are inspired and greatly admiring of all that Colombia has accomplished.

For me, it is just a stark comparison. Where citizens once lived in fear to exercise their right to vote, now we have peaceful democratic elections that are really the envy of so many other countries that have not been able to make that transition. We see now not only Colombia consolidating gains internally, but reaching out to help neighbors in so many respects, and I am delighted that we are building on the strong relationship that we’ve had over the past years. Of course, we’re so committed to the passage of the Free Trade Agreement. We know – which is what President Obama has stated publicly and unequivocally – that this will bring jobs and growth to both of our countries. It will also help to support the security gains that Colombia has made, and, as our two presidents have agreed, it opens even a broader vista for greater cooperation on the spectrum of our shared challenges and opportunities.

Many of you have been involved in this conversation for a long time, and today, with the convening of five working groups, three for the first time, we hope there will be even greater contact between officials of our two governments and more creative approaches to cooperation. Human rights have been a focal point in our dialogue, and I am very honored that Vice President Garzon joined with Deputy Secretary Steinberg to continue the conversations which they started last October in Bogota. And we know that this is a high priority for the Santos administration, to improve on human rights, labor rights, and civil rights.

We also are strongly supportive of your efforts to return families who are displaced by violence to their homes and to end impunity for abuses, and I understand there was agreement to track, on a monthly basis, the progress of important human rights cases. This kind of whole-of-government effort, bringing together experts on security, development, and the rule of law – all of whom are with us today – is a way to really focus the attention of us all.

The Energy Working Group is working to expand our partnership on fossil fuels and clean energy, and the very promising ideas that Colombia has presented for linking electric grids across Latin America. For the first time, the Climate Change and Environmental Protection Working Group was convened. Colombia exercised leadership in Cancun, and we want to deepen our diplomatic cooperation at future climate talks and to find new ways to develop strategies for expanding development without increasing carbon emissions.

And an issue that is particularly close to my heart is inclusive development, and I am very impressed that the Santos administration has adopted this as a goal. The Social and Economic Working Group discussed Colombia’s national development plan, and the United States wants to support this impressive investment in the Colombian people and to look for how we can reach out to all Colombians, in particular indigenous and Afro-Caribbean populations. And I was at the OECD just a few days ago in Paris, and I want to underscore that we want to support Colombia’s bid to join the OECD.

And finally, the Culture and Education Working Group met on how each country can expand access to education, preserve ancient cultures, optimize people-to-people exchanges such as the Fulbright Scholarship that brought President Santos to the United States 31 years ago. We’ve been working closely together for a long time, but I really believe this dialogue represents a deeper engagement than we’ve ever had before. Certainly during the ’90s, an era that I am somewhat familiar with in American politics, we began a very close working relationship on behalf of security. But now, given the extraordinary gains that Colombia has made, the United States wants to support the priorities that President Santos is able to promote, to build on an environment that does provide more physical security, to move now to human security and all of the issues that go with economic growth, with social and cultural transformation.

Now, some I know say, well, when people come and talk, what happens? And I think it’s too simplistic a question, because one really never knows what can happen through this kind of engagement, through getting to know one another, through building relationships. I’m convinced in the absence of that, the answer is easy: Not much will happen. But given this level of engagement that we saw in action, I’m told, at lunch with so many different people coming from across our government and yours to discuss a way forward on the range of issues that are important, there is an extraordinary opportunity here.

And I thank you for your hard work on behalf of Colombia, and I thank my colleagues in government for your hard work on behalf of this very important relationship that we have between our two countries. I wanted to come this afternoon to underscore the importance that we place on it and to thank you not only for what you have done, which presents such an extraordinary model for so many others, but for the increasing role that you are playing in the region and the world.

Just in the last few months, the work that the president and the foreign minister have led on the reintegration of Honduras into the OAS, which we hope and trust occurs tomorrow – it could not have happened without creative diplomacy and Colombian leadership. The role that Colombia is playing on the Security Council, the strong support for standing against the abusive actions of Qadhafi in Libya, and of looking for ways to hold governments accountable for their mistreatment of their own citizens – again, Colombia is playing a global leadership role.

So on so many fronts, this is a relationship that is on a solid foundation but has the opportunity to become so much more for the benefit not only of the people of Colombia, but I would say for our own people in the United States the kind of positive, open relationship that we hope to see even stronger in the future, we think is very much in the interests of the United States as well as Colombia. We actually have a lot to learn from you, and we look forward to the opportunities that this partnership dialogue provides to do just that.

Let me now invite the foreign minister to the podium for her remarks and, as she comes forward, to thank her for her leadership also in the last months. Thank you. (Applause.)

FOREIGN MINISTER HOLGUIN: (Via interpreter) Madam Secretary Hillary Clinton, Mr. Ambassador McKinley, Mr. Ambassador Gabriel Silva, esteemed members of the U.S. and Colombian delegations, I would like to express my satisfaction with the work conducted today during the Second Session of the High-Level Partnership Dialogue that got started in Bogota on October 25th. These dialogue working groups in democracy and human rights, energy, environment and climate change, economic opportunities in society, culture and education, have allowed us to get to know the broad range of issues that we need to work on a bilateral agenda together.

Colombia has a strategic relationship with the United States based on historic and shared values, and this is perhaps one of the most successful cases of cooperation. Over the last eight years of our Democratic Security Policy, we’ve been able to move forward towards democratic prosperity and to think about issues that go beyond the internal security situation, which continues to be our national priority, to move forward and think about our country’s comprehensive development.

We’ve faced scourges like drug trafficking and terrorism for decades. We have shared a vision, and we have been consistent in our cooperation and international positions on the matter. Our joint search for solutions will be current among our priorities, and we will continue to build with the U.S., with the forum – the international forum against terrorism. Colombia has become a partner, given the priorities it has developed in the international fight against terrorism. That is why today we can develop a cooperation strategy against a lack of security in the fight against transnational crime, which we can work on together in response to Mexico’s needs as well as Central America. In the Caribbean’s needs, we are undertaking ambitious cooperation projects in this fight, cooperation that we’re also extending to countries in western Africa, countries that are no doubt your great partners as well.

And the respect for differences and the search for common destiny with equity and equality for all when giving priority to the fight against – priority against – fighting poverty make our region a peaceful region. Based on cooperation and respect, we’ve been able to recover and strengthen our relationship with our neighbors without declining in our main priority in national security. We are a bridge country in the Americas. We join north and south. We are a platform for dialogue, and in that sense we will continue to build a political and economic joint space that seeks our well being. The selection of a Colombian and appointment as the general secretary of UNASUR is a testament to the positive role that Colombia can play in the region. We have established same goals with Chile, Peru, and Ecuador, countries with whom we share an economic and political vision. And to ensure sustainable development, we are also developing an interconnection scheme with Peru, Ecuador, and Chile, as well as with Panama, towards Central America.

We are an energy-generating country, and as infrastructure projects develop, we will be providers of energy to an important swath of the continent. Our role is not limited to fossil fuel production or hydroelectric production, and the production of bio-fuels and the potential for wind energy in these areas has increased significantly, and we hope to see projects come into fruition in this area soon. Our conviction with democracy backs the unrestricted support of human rights protection. The land law for victims will drastically change the structure in our country and will set new goals for development and progress for all. It is a great challenge that lies ahead. And during the October meeting, I mentioned this as a possibility. Today, it is a reality.

I invite all U.S. sectors to understand the changes and challenges that we face and to join our country’s willingness to change and solve the problems that have marred us for decades. If you look at us differently, I know that you will find the values and the integrity of a society that has not let adversity beat it. And as a country – Colombia is a country that is a permanent ally of the United States, and we are grateful for the support we’ve received. We want to continue to move forward with this cooperation in the framework of a broader and more innovative agenda that will allow us to move forward for the development of our countries.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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Secretary Clinton is visibly upset about the little boy in Syria who was tortured horrifcally and murdered. He was 13 years old.  His name was Hamza Ali al-Khateeb.  His blood is on the hands of Bashar Al-Assad.

Since I do not in fact work for the government,  which is supposed to work for me,  tonight I am wondering why the president bypassed the secretary of state and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and appointed an ambassador to Syria during the Christmas recess in exchange for NONE of the agreements that State Department had been negotiating for six-plus months.   I am wondering .

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Remarks With Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin After Their Meeting

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining me and the foreign minister. We’ve just had an excellent meeting that capped a day of intensive dialogue between our governments. The foreign minister and I addressed our delegations earlier, and I certainly underscored how impressed and inspired we are by Colombia’s progress and eager to expand our work together on the full range of issues that we have common concerns about.

Colombia has emerged as a regional and global partner. It sits on the UN Security Council, trains police to help 16 other nations to meet their security challenges, and through the leadership of both the president and the foreign minister, has played the leading role in bringing Honduras back into the inter-American system. At home, President Santos and his government are taking bold steps to heal Colombia’s wounds, redress grievances, consolidate democratic freedoms, and promote human rights. And of course, we are absolutely committed to passing the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement to open new markets and create jobs and opportunities for both of our peoples.

Since the first High Level Partnership Dialogue last October, Colombia has made significant progress on human, labor, and civil rights. And we are committed to working with Colombia as they continue their progress. We also discussed social and economic development, climate change, environmental protection, energy, education, and culture.

We had a very productive and wide-ranging dialogue, and Colombia’s progress is a testament to the courage and vision of the Colombian people and their leaders. And it’s also a reminder to the United States about why we sustain investments in our friends and our partners even through tight budgets and tough times.

So, Foreign Minister, thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you on these very important issues.

FOREIGN MINISTER HOLGUIN: (Via interpreter) Thank you, Secretary Clinton. To me, to us, it’s a great pleasure to be here today working at the State Department. We truly value the effort and support that the United States has shown Colombia over the course of many decades.

I believe that the success that Colombia has had in the fight against terrorism, against drug trafficking, is due to U.S. support. We have a well-trained police. We have one of the strongest military forces in the region. And today we are happy to take a second step to take drug trafficking or reduce the importance of drug trafficking and think about other issues that are important for us as well – energy, education, science and technology, environment – and to focus on these issues that are important to both of us in our relationship.

We believe that the work that both delegations have undertaken today lead us to developing a specific agenda on a number of issues that will help us further consolidate the relationship that has been strong in the past.

I want to thank Secretary Clinton for supporting Colombia’s aspirations to accede to the OECD. It’s a great opportunity for us to improve practices in our country, and we thank the United States for their support in this endeavor.

As Secretary Clinton said, we talked about the region, we talked about Honduras, and Colombia is very happy to have given its part to reestablishing Honduras within the organization and to do its part to strengthen democracy throughout the region.

And we talked about the issue of security, and Colombia here has cooperated greatly with Central America and the Caribbean on issues related to the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking. And as we talked before, we can continue to be great allies in helping the region, and we believe we can truly contribute to improving the situation throughout.

We thank Secretary Clinton for her support on the FTA, for support on the preferences. We are abiding by the commitments that we achieved during the April agreement, and we are happy to see that our dream that we’ve held for so many months is about to come into fruition.

We also talked about the Summit of the Americas. Colombia will be a host of the summit in April of 2012, and we’ve been talking with many countries about the organization of the summit and we have U.S. support to this end. We want to have discussions on a number of issues that join us, and we hope to have support in the region and throughout the continent, and we’ll see you in Cartagena next year.

I thank you for the work today. I think this is an important step towards strengthening our relationship, a relationship that is no doubt strong already, but there is always room for improvement. Thank you very much.

MR. TONER: We have time for just a few questions. The first goes to Elise Labott from CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. On Pakistan, the Pakistanis have said they’re going to take a new offensive into North Waziristan. Do you see this as a positive sign in response to some of the things that you discussed on your trip in terms of the Pakistanis needing to take action?

And then there are some very troubling signs in the Middle East today. There’s been reports in Syria of the torturing of a young boy, and in Yemen as well the violence is – the government is cracking down on the opposition even further. And it seems as in this second wave of the Arab Spring, if you will, the dictators are really digging in. And in fact, even as you call for them to make a transition, they’re cracking down even further and furthering their oppression. I was wondering if you had some thoughts on that.

Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Elise, first with regard to Pakistan, as I said on our recent visit, Pakistan is a key ally in our joint fight against terrorists that threaten both of us as well as the region and beyond. And when I was there, we discussed our cooperative efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and to also drive the associated terrorists who are targeting both Pakistanis and, across the border in Afghanistan, Americans, coalition troops, and Afghans. So we are discussing a number of approaches that we think could assist us in this very important fight.

I would also add that there is no doubt that the progress we have made against al-Qaida and terrorists could have not have happened without Pakistani cooperation between our governments, our militaries, our intelligence agencies. And there’s still a lot of work to be done, so we are in the process of discussing what more the Pakistanis could do. We will continue to do our part working together.

With respect to Syria, I too was very concerned by the reports about the young boy. In fact, I think what that symbolizes for many Syrians is the total collapse of any effort by the Syrian Government to work with and listen to their own people. And I think that as the President said in his speech last week, President Asad has a choice, and every day that goes by the choice is made by default. He has not called an end to the violence against his own people and he has not engaged seriously in any kind of reform efforts. And I have here the name of the young boy whose body was so brutally affected by the behavior and the conduct of those who had him in detention: Hamza Ali al-Khateeb. And I can only hope that this child did not die in vain but that the Syrian Government will end the brutality and begin a transition to real democracy.

QUESTION: Have they completely lost legitimacy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s up to the Syrian people themselves. We’ve obviously, along with others, imposed sanctions, spoken out. We’ve closely coordinated with allies and partners. We’ve imposed an arms embargo. We’ve led the call for a special session in the United Nations. But I think that every day that goes by, the position of the government becomes less tenable and the demands of the Syrian people for change only grow stronger. And therefore, we continue to urge an end to the violence and the commencement of a real process that could lead to the kinds of changes that are called for.

MR. TONER: Our next question goes to Sergio Gomez Maseri of El Tiempo.

QUESTION: Thanks, Madam Secretary and Minister Holguin. You just mentioned that the U.S. is absolutely committed to the passage of the FTA. However, the FTAs – and I mean Colombia, Panama, and Korea – are all hostage of an internal dispute between Republicans and Democrats that has caused deep frustration in Colombia and also questions that come in that you were talking about. So can you tell us if you’re still confident, as you say a couple months ago here, that the FTAs are – are these FTAs going to be passed this year?

And a question for both: Can you comment on what’s expected tomorrow on the general assembly of the OAS regarding Honduras?

FOREIGN MINISTER HOLGUIN: (Via interpreter) On the issue of Honduras, I can say that we are convinced that Honduras will be brought back into the OAS tomorrow, and there has been negotiations on the resolution that took place last week and today. And I can say that most countries, if not all, wish to see Honduras return to the OAS and wish to see the strengthening of democracy in that country, and I can say that the only surprise that we can expect tomorrow is Honduras coming back to the organization.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And yes, I am confident that we are going to pass the Free Trade Agreement. I hope that the people of Colombia do not lose heart in watching the activities of our Congress, because there always is a lot of rhetoric and skirmishing between the parties before they finally hit the deadline to get the work done. And so I am absolutely sure we’re going to get it passed.

QUESTION: Can you (inaudible) Honduras?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I agree with the foreign minister. And I commend Colombia for the leadership role that it has played in enabling us to reintegrate Honduras tomorrow at the OAS.

Thank you all very much.

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Another award for our Mme. Secretary and travel to Africa are in the offing.


Secretary Clinton to Receive 2011 Marshall Foundation Award on June 2

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will receive the 2011 George C. Marshall Foundation Award at a dinner on June 2 at approximately 6:30 p.m. at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

The Award program will include remarks by former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright; former Chilean President and current Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet; General Raymond Odierno, Commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command; and Michael Strianese, Chairman, President and CEO of L-3 Communications. Christiane Amanpour of ABC News will serve as the master of ceremonies.

Secretary Clinton to Launch Women’s World Cup Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports

 

Notice to the Press

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

 


 

On June 6, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will launch the Women’s World Cup Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports, at the Department of State with members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and youth soccer players from around the world.

This joint initiative by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues harnesses the power of sports and international exchanges as a means to empower women and girls worldwide.

The event will take place at approximately 9:30 a.m. in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the Department of State. The event will be streamed live on www.state.gov .

The Women’s World Cup initiative includes:

– Sports Visitor Program
Through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Office, 18 teenaged female soccer players and their coaches from Bolivia, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories and South Africa will travel to the United States May 31-June 9 through the Sports Visitors Program for a 10-day exchange. During this time, the young athletes will travel to New York City and Washington, D.C., where they will meet with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and play soccer with local teams. The delegation will also meet with local community organizations that provide sports opportunities for youth with disabilities and mentorships through a soccer and literacy initiative.

– Sports Envoy Programs
Partnering with U.S. Soccer, former Women’s National Team players Briana Scurry and Amanda Cromwell traveled in May as Sports Envoys to Germany to lead soccer clinics and engage young audiences in Berlin, Dresden, Wolfsburg, Sinsheim and Frankfurt. Additional Sports Envoys will travel to Brazil this summer.

– Women’s Sports Management
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ International Visitor Leadership Program will lead a parallel 10-day international exchange program for five sports management professionals. With an emphasis on the administration of women’s and girls’ soccer programs, the program will allow the visitors to exchange ideas and best practices in the management of sports and recreational programs with their American counterparts. They will examine how athletic programs for women and girls promote leadership, teamwork, respect, self awareness and life skills, and how sports and recreation programs can make a positive impact on at-risk and underserved youth.

Visit www.exchanges.state.gov/sports for more information.


Secretary Clinton to Travel to UAE, Zambia, Tanzania, and Ethiopia

Press Statement

Mark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will go to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a meeting of the Libya Contact Group on June 9. This meeting will build on the last Contact Group meeting held in Rome and will allow the United States to discuss with its international partners the range of issues with respect to addressing the situation in Libya, including the ongoing implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

Secretary Clinton will then travel to Lusaka, Zambia, on June 10 for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial Forum, where she will showcase this centerpiece of our trade policy with Africa and engage with government, private sector, and civil society representatives from 37 different countries. While in Zambia, she will also meet with Zambian President Rupiah Banda as well as participate in events to highlight U.S. government initiatives to improve the lives of the Zambian people.

From there, Secretary Clinton will travel to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to meet with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. In Tanzania, she will highlight our successful bilateral engagement including a host of programs including Feed the Future (FTF). In Ethiopia, Secretary Clinton will focus on regional issues, visiting the African Union (AU) headquarters and meeting with AU Chairperson Jean Ping, in addition to bilateral meetings. She will also meet with civil society to draw attention to their innovative and enterprising work.

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Public Schedule for May 31, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
May 31, 2011

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

9:15 a.m.  Secretary Clinton meets with the Assistant Secretaries, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

4:05 p.m.  Secretary Clinton delivers closing remarks to the U.S.-Colombia High Level Partnership Dialogue, in the George Marshall Conference Center at the Department of State.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)


4:25 p.m.  Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Colombian Foreign Minister Holgiun, at the Department of State.


6:00 p.m.  Secretary Clinton hosts a dinner for Partners for a New Beginning, at the Department of State.

(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

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Having tried and failed to find pictures of the former POTUS and current SOS in this year’s Memorial Day Parade, I decided to offer this retrospective from last year’s Memorial Day in Chappaqua. If I do find pics from this year, I will definitely share them. For now, we can enjoy these one more time.

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Well, Amy Dugan did find a slideshow of the Clintons at the Chappaqua parade today.  I cannot down load the pics and am not familiar with how this website works.  It takes awhile to download, but is worth waiting for.  Here is the link to the Cooliris slideshow.

Oh, Ok.  I managed to grab them!

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This beautiful anniversary tribute from Boowitch simply cried out to be shared. On this sad anniversary of the Rules and Bylaws Committee’s flawed, unfair, and undemocratic ruling on 05.31.08, we celebrate P.U.M.A. Solidarity! In all of my many years of witnessing campaigns both victorious and defeated, I have never, ever seen a group of people stick together behind a candidate the way P.U.M.A.s have stuck with Hillary Rodham Clinton who still, after two-and-a-half years has a better sense of what to do for this country than the candidate the “Democratic” Party chose in her stead.

If the DNC thinks that the incumbent will simply coast into a second term, it needs a reality check. That GOP field is not as weak as they think it is. Pawlenty is not actually more boring than Obama is, and he has a few things to say. Huntsman is bright, respectable, and rather moderate. He could capture Indy votes. Romney has never really been an outlier. These are formidable adversaries who intend a strong challenge. The one individual who could give them a run for their money is not the incumbent. He will struggle. Hillary Clinton can and should glide in.

All of these past three years we have remained a tightly woven force for Hillary, and so my fellow P.U.M.A.s, happy anniversary, from Boowitch and me. You rock! Every single one of you! Love you all!

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Although some of these are not new, the more recent ones exemplify what is a growing theme in Hillary Clinton iconography, Hillary waiting in the wings. We do not know whether this growing series is initiated by one or more photographers or by the subject herself striking postures that cry out to be immortalized. While HRC is ever-conscious of cameras around her, it is quite possible that she merely likes to take a moment to compose her thoughts before speaking and enjoys peeking through curtains. Whatever the case, they communicate in a subtle way, that as the year rolls on, if declared candidates for POTUS do not meet with public satisfaction, there is an alternative in the person of the very dedicated, knowledgeable, qualified, brilliant, experienced, and awesome Hillary Rodham Clinton.

If the theme grows, so will this slideshow. It might be back, bigger and better!  I hope Hillary for President will be too… in 2012!

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