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With Angela Merkel and our Hillary Clinton topping the ridiculously unbalanced  Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful Women,  I did not have much hope for a more serious list of Most Powerful Couples of 2012.   I was not wrong.  The Clintons top the list with the Gateses #2 and the Obamas #3, but beyond #5, Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols,  this list is as wildly incoherent as the list of powerful women – maybe more so.


Here is the gallery.

One might argue that this is a more difficult list to develop since both members must exert power, but like the 100 Most Powerful Women list, this one is most eloquent in who is missing.   Where are foundation head  Cherie and Quartet Envoy Tony Blair?  They are less important than entertainers, models, and sports figures?

Seriously?  Shakira and Gerard Pique?  Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady?  They merit appearing on this list?  Beyonce and Jay-Z outrank Christane Amanpour and Jaimie Rubin,  Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller, AND Tina Brown and Harold Evans?  Why Ellen DeGeneres and Portia?  Where is the “Portia power?”  Seems they were gratuitously included just to have a gay couple there, but to rank them above Tina Brown whose Newsweek endorsed Romney a few days ago and Evans, whose September Condé Nast Traveler features in depth coverage of a tour of Asia by the secretary of state seems patently ridiculous.

Forbes, please be serious.  We love seeing our Clintons honored, but give it some heft.

The World’s Most Powerful Couples In 2012

Jenna Goudreau, Forbes Staff

Who says women can’t have it all? On the 2012 FORBES list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, 70% are married, with an average 2.1 kids. Often, these women don’t do it alone. Some have the help of extended family or a stay-at-home husband. Others marry their power equals and scramble to make it work. Here’s a look at the world’s most powerful couples, and what it takes to house two top careers under one roof.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and current U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton together form the world’s top power pair. Hillary, the second most powerful woman in the world, made history as one of a handful of women to ever run for U.S. president. In her current role, she is the nation’s chief foreign advisor and is constantly on the go, traveling to over 40 countries in 2012 alone. Meanwhile, Bill served two presidential terms as ruler of the world’s largest economy and remains an active diplomat today.

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Statement of the Middle East Quartet

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 23, 2011

Following is the text of a statement issued after the meeting of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union Catherine Ashton in New York on September 23, 2011.

Begin text:

The Quartet takes note of the application submitted by President Abbas on 23rd September 2011 which is now before the Security Council.

The Quartet reaffirmed its statement of 20th May 2011, including its strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by United States President Barack Obama.

The Quartet recalled its previous statements, and affirmed its determination to actively and vigorously seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, 1850, the Madrid principles including land for peace, the Roadmap, and the agreements previously reached between the parties.

The Quartet reiterated its commitment to a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and to seek a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and reaffirms the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative.

The Quartet reiterated its urgent appeal to the parties to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions. But it accepts that meeting, in itself, will not reestablish the trust necessary for such a negotiation to succeed. It therefore proposes the following steps:

1. Within a month there will be a preparatory meeting between the parties to agree an agenda and method of proceeding in the negotiation.

2. At that meeting there will be a commitment by both sides that the objective of any negotiation is to reach an agreement within a timeframe agreed to by the parties but not longer than the end of 2012. The Quartet expects the parties to come forward with comprehensive proposals within three months on territory and security, and to have made substantial progress within six months. To that end, the Quartet will convene an international conference in Moscow, in consultation with the parties, at the appropriate time.

3. There will be a Donors Conference at which the international community will give full and sustained support to the Palestinian Authority state-building actions developed by Prime Minister Fayyad under the leadership of President Abbas.

4. The Quartet recognizes the achievements of the Palestinian Authority in preparing institutions for statehood as evidenced in reports to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, and stresses the need to preserve and build on them. In this regard, the members of the Quartet will consult to identify additional steps they can actively support towards Palestinian statehood individually and together, to secure in accordance with existing procedures significantly greater independence and sovereignty for the Palestinian Authority over its affairs.

5. The Quartet calls upon the parties to refrain from provocative actions if negotiations are to be effective. The Quartet reiterated the obligations of both parties under the Roadmap.

6. The Quartet committed to remain actively involved and to encourage and review progress. The Quartet agreed to meet regularly and to task the envoys and the Quartet Representative to intensify their cooperation, including by meeting prior to the parties’ preparatory meeting, and to formulate recommendations for Quartet action.

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The long thirst is over.  Well it really was not that  long, but there were not many good pictures toward the end of last week, and pictures from this week were enthusiastically anticipated by readers here.  So now you have it!  Here is Mme. Secretary wearing a charming Asian silk in a color that is simply divine on her.  We see her speaking with Lady Catherine Ashton, and at this evening’s working dinner with EU HIgh Rep Ashton, Tony Blair, Ban Ki-Moon, and Sergei Lavrov, all representing members of the Middle East Peace Quartet.

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Readout of Quartet Working Dinner

Special Briefing

Senior Administration Official
Administration Official
Via Teleconference
July 11, 2011

 


OPERATOR: Welcome, everyone, and thank you so much for standing by. At this time, all parties are on a listen-only line until the question-and-answer portion of today’s call. At that time, you may press * and 1 and record your name to ask the question. This call is being recorded, so if you do have any objection, please disconnect at this time.

And now I’d like to turn the meeting over to Mr. Mark Toner. You may begin, sir.

MR. TONER: Thank you, and thanks to all of you for joining us. And I apologize given the late hour – the bit of delay in starting this, but the dinner did run long.

As you know, members of the Quartet did hold a working dinner tonight at the ministerial level, and that was at the Department of State, in order to discuss the way forward and efforts to advance Middle East peace. And joining us tonight to give a readout of that dinner and to answer a few of your questions – and I emphasize a few given the hour – is [title and name withheld]. And just before handing it over to [Senior Administration Official], I just wanted to emphasize that this is on background as a Senior Administration Official, so henceforth he’ll be known as Senior Administration Official.

[Senior Administration Official.]

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, thank you very much, Mark, and let me just reiterate the apologies to everyone for the brief delay. But as Mark said, the dinner did go a little bit longer than planned. Let me just make a few comments at the beginning and then get into your questions, but I’d like to start by emphasizing that the Quartet principals felt that they conducted a good meeting over the dinner tonight, characterized the discussion as excellent and substantive with a full and complete exchange of views. This was an opportunity for them that they’ve not had in a little while to compare notes on recent developments and have a serious discussion on what next steps are necessary.

The Quartet principals once again expressed their support for the President’s remarks that President Obama delivered in May, and in light of that vision the Quartet principals are reiterating the feeling that they see that there’s an urgent need to appeal to the parties to overcome current obstacles and find a way to resume direct negotiations without delay or preconditions and to begin with a preparatory phase of talks to maximize the chances of success.

The principals concluded this evening, based on their recent conversations with the parties, however, that there are still gaps that are impeding progress. And they concluded that realistically, for the Quartet, more work needs to be done to close those gaps before the Quartet can go forth publicly with the kinds of statements that might allow the parties to actually break through the impasse.

But the members of the Quartet reiterated also that they remain committed as a group, collectively and individually, to continue this effort and continue their intense engagement with the parties. Clearly, as I said, more work needs to be done, and the members of the Quartet will remain in close coordination as they tackle this difficult challenge. And in fact, the envoys have agreed to meet again tomorrow morning to continue this discussion under the guidance of our principals.

We’re realistic about the gaps. We know that more work needs to be done. But ultimately, we have to say, of course, it’s up to the parties to make the tough decisions required for peace, and we’re going to stand ready to help and facilitate in any and every way possible and continue our close engagement. The Quartet will continue its meetings at various levels, and we look forward to doing all we can to advance this effort.

So I might stop there, Mark, and entertain any questions.

MR. TONER: Great. Thank you so much. We’ll open it up to questions, Operator.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Again, if anyone does have a question, please press *1, record your name clearly. And if you’d like to withdraw your question, you may press *2. Again, that’s *1 to ask a question.

And Elise Labott, your line is open.

QUESTION: Thanks for doing this at this late hour. I’m just – can you hear me okay?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah.

QUESTION: I was kind of a little bit confused by your comment. I mean, I think I know what you’re saying when you say that the gaps are such that you, as the Quartet, can’t make the statements that might move the parties to go forward. It sounds like there are enough gaps on the ’67 borders that you can’t endorse it as a kind of pre – as a starting jumping-off point for negotiations. Correct me if I’m wrong. But I’m confused by that because it would mean that, I mean, you’re just endorsing it because you know the parties will go for it. I mean, if this is an active group that’s trying to make forward diplomacy, aren’t you supposed to be making the kinds of statements that would push the parties in that direction? I mean, I don’t – and respectfully, because I’m not trying to make light of what you personally or what the U.S. is doing, but I fail to see whether – why you think that a statement from the Quartet would honestly, in all honesty, be the thing that’s going to bring the parties to the table.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. No, thanks for the question. While I don’t want to, either by omission or commission, get into a discussion in detail of what we perceive the gaps to be, but to answer your question, there’s a time and a place for public statements and there’s a time and a place for private diplomacy. And each has its limitations, each has its appropriateness for the occasion and the challenge that we’re facing.

We discussed this tonight, and I think the upshot of it was that we need to do more work privately, quietly with the parties, in order to see if we can’t close these gaps. And then if we’re successful in doing that, there’ll be a time in which incorporating our progress and commenting on it publicly can help capture that. But we still need to do more work.

QUESTION: I mean, are you saying that you’re not ready – without getting into where the gaps are, are you saying that you’re not – and I think my understanding is that it’s the United States more so than maybe some of the other members – that’s not ready to make the President’s speech, the ’67 lines, as a kind of jumping-off point for negotiations a kind of international declaration?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the Quartet has already —

QUESTION: You endorsed them personally, but you didn’t say that they should be – you didn’t kind of make it your own. And there’s talk about maybe that this would be the kind of resolution that they discuss at the United Nations. It sounds like you’re not ready for that.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, just to answer the question about what we believe is necessary to get negotiations going, the President laid out a comprehensive vision on that. And as I mentioned earlier, the Quartet has expressed its support for that vision. So that’s not in dispute. There’s just a realization that there are gaps between the parties and we need to do more work on that before we can take a step forward with a new – into a new threshold. That’s the basic point where we are right now.

MR. TONER: Thank you. Next question.

OPERATOR: And Matthew Lee with Associated Press, your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks. I want to ask a question, but first I want to wait – ask everyone to wait half an hour before I do it. Can you explain, [Senior Administration Official], why the – how long the meeting went? It went over time obviously, which is why this took so long to happen. But also you talk about gaps, but the gaps aren’t just between the parties, are there? There seem to be gaps within the Quartet itself. So I know you don’t want to talk about the gaps between the parties, but what are the gaps between the Quartet that made this meeting unable to come up with a statement? I mean, it is not tough for a Quartet statement to be done. One was done on the Gaza– the flotilla; one was done after the President’s May speech, in support of it, and the principals hadn’t met then. So looking at it from the outside, if you guys are unable to come up with a statement now after basically having agreed on some main principles here, it doesn’t look good at all. So can you explain what the gaps are between the Quartet members, and also just – how long did the meeting actually go?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah. Well, again, my apologies for keeping people waiting. I’m quite sensitive to that personally, and I do sincerely apologize.

The dinner started with a conversation that began in an outer room at 7:00, and we then moved to the dining room table around 7:20. And I wasn’t watching my watch, but I think we broke up from the table at about 9:15, and then there was a good discussion amongst some of the envoys that continued for a little while after that, and I came downstairs and immediately joined this phone call. So you can add that up; I think it’s just a little over two hours, close to two and a half hours, maybe two hours and 15 minutes that the principals were together.

In response to your question about the gaps and the way in which the Quartet relates to statements, the truth is that you’re right; we’ve had statements when the ministers have not met because we felt that it was important and that we had something significant to say at the time that we felt was helpful for our diplomatic effort. And there have been times when the ministers have met and we’ve not issued statements because we had a different objective in mind. The Quartet doesn’t meet in order to issue statements. The Quartet – only, anyway. The Quartet meets in order to allow these principals to consult on some very complex and challenging issues and discuss how best to work and push them forward.

And this evening, the decision was that we needed to realistically acknowledge the fact that more work needs to be done with the parties on their gaps in order to allow us to get to the point where we might be able to have a productive public product by the Quartet.

MR. TONER: All right. Next question.

OPERATOR: Dmitri Zlodorev, your line is open.

QUESTION: My name is Dmitri Zlodorev. I am from ITAR-TASS news agency, Russia. How you would characterize the position of Russia in Quartet now? And what do you expect from Russia in the near future? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you, Dmitri. Well, we value greatly the Quartet as an instrument. It is the embodiment of the international community’s commitment to these issues and its strong desire to contribute what it can to making progress toward peace. And clearly, having such a strong international partner as Russia as part of that is something of great satisfaction.

So I don’t want to characterize exactly where we were in terms of each member of the Quartet this evening. You’d have to ask that of your– of the Russian participants. But I hope that answers your question in terms of how we regard Russian participation.

MR. TONER: All right. Next question.

OPERATOR: James Kitfield, your line is open.

QUESTION: Yeah, I appreciate you doing this. Could you talk a little bit about this September deadline where it’s supposed to be a UN vote with the Palestinians on statehood? And what sort of urgency that is lending to your efforts – does the Quartet think that that would be a really negative step? And if so, I mean, again, address me how that is contributing to a sense of urgency of these talks, please.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, it’s not entirely clear at this stage what it is that the Palestinians will be seeking in September. We’ve heard a lot of different statements publicly. I think that they’re actually still evaluating what it is they want to do. But we’ve heard a consistent message from the Palestinian leadership that they prefer negotiations, that they see the ultimate goal of a two-state solution coming through a negotiating path.

So that’s where I think the Quartet and the international community and certainly the United States is putting its emphasis – on exploring whether, by closing gaps between the parties, we can give the alternative of a negotiation real traction and be the right path forward. You know what the President said about this.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Excuse me? You know what the President has said about our view on New York – I don’t need to repeat that now here today – but that’s unchanged. But I think all of us would like to find a constructive way in order to accomplish our common goals.

MR. TONER: Okay. Thank you. Time for just, I think, one or two more questions.

OPERATOR: Okay. Arshad Mohammed, your line is open.

QUESTION: Hi, three quick things: One —

OPERATOR: Mr. Mohammed, if you’re on speakerphone, could you please get off the speakerphone? Because we’re not able to hear you.

QUESTION: Yes, sorry for tormenting all of you.

OPERATOR: (Laughter.) Thank you.

QUESTION: Just to be quick, you said that you need to do more quiet diplomacy. Are there any plans for Dennis Ross or Acting Special Envoy Hale to travel to the region to try to do that kind of quiet diplomacy anytime soon?

Second, are you now willing to say that the President’s hope of getting a framework agreement or the outlines of an agreement within a year of his September announcement last year have evaporated, that there isn’t really the time or perhaps the will in the seven and a half weeks that remain to get that done?

Those were my two questions. Thank you.

OPERATOR: And Said Arikat, your line is open.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. Hello?

MR. TONDER: I don’t think [Senior Administration Official] had a chance to answer the —

OPERATOR: Sorry.

MR. TONER: That’s okay.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the first question was regarding what our specific travel plans might be by U.S. officials in connection with the – excuse me, my phone’s ringing – in connection with following up on this. I guess the answer is: We’ll have to get back to you. This evening, I can’t say with any certainty what our specific officials’ travel plans may be. They travel frequently, almost constantly, and we’ll make sure that you’re well informed of those plans as they develop.

Look, the President outlined in May a very detailed vision of what it would take in order to be able to break through the impasse that we’re facing. He did not, in those remarks, establish deadlines for this effort. He said that when the parties are ready, we are ready to be of assistance. I don’t have the speech in front of me, so forgive me if those aren’t word-for-word quotes. But basically, he said that we stand ready – when the parties are of like mind, we stand ready to assist them, and we would do so as soon as we had clear indications.

I think as we proceed, as the Quartet proceeds individually and collectively to try to close these gaps, we’ll have a clearer sense of what’s possible in terms of timelines.

MR. TONER: Okay. Thanks. And it looks like our last questioner is maybe Said Arikat.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. Thanks.

MR. TONER: Sorry to cut you off there.

QUESTION: Thank you, [Senior Administration Official], for taking my question. Sir, you have had back-to-back meetings, first with Mr. Ross in Palestine and in Israel, then Mr. Molho came to town, then Saeb Erekat. So how far have you come in terms of closing these gaps, say, between three, four weeks ago and today? Where do you stand? How far are we to the breakthrough, so to speak?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, as I think we’re admitting this evening, we have a lot of work to do. More work needs to be done. I think that what’s been established in our discussions with the parties in recent weeks is that they too want us to continue this effort, that they too favor the alternative course of negotiations, and they too continue to look to the United States and the Quartet for assistance in moving forward. Though we’re not – we have – still have a lot of work to do. I can’t measure it for you. You’re asking for sort of a specific measurement which I don’t think is possible given this work.

But I have to say, ultimately, it’s up to them. They’ve got to make the tough decisions. All we can do – and it’s important, but what we do is offer a way to help, and we’ll keep – and be persistent and keep that effort alive.

MR. TONER: Great. Well, thanks. Thank you, [Senior Administration Official] for doing this tonight at the – given the late hour, and thanks to all the journalists who joined us. And again, our apologies for keeping people on hold for such a long time.

And thank you again to everyone. Just – again, just a reminder, the – this is on background with a Senior State – or a Senior Administration Official, rather, and thanks again to everyone, and have a good evening.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you.

OPERATOR: That concludes today’s conference. Thank you for participating. You may disconnect your lines at any time.

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I have nothing official from the State Department, but a few news stories popped up to give us an idea of what early February is going to look like with regard to travel plans for the Secretary of State.

Mideast Quartet to meet in Munich next month

BRUSSELS (EJP)—The Quartet of Mideast Peace Process mediators are to meet in Munich, Germany, on February 5, on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said this week.

The Quartet is made up of Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US State Secretary Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend the meeting with Ashton, who is also European Commission Vice President, and Quartet Mideast envoy Tony Blair.

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And Cafebabel used one of my all-time favorite pictures of the lovely HRC for this story.

Hillary Clinton to visit Greece and Turkey on February

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State is about to visit Athens in early February. Although still no official announcements have been made, the U.S. Secretary probably will be in Athens on Sunday the 6th.

Clinton is going to visit Greece and Turkey, according to the Turkish newspaper «Zaman», where she programs meetings with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu.

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This is just a review of the past week on a slow Hillary-news day when I hope Mme. Secretary is resting up after her whirlwind week in New York City. There were so very many photos taken of her this week, I plucked out my favorites.

Sunday, September 19, 2010:  Arrival day.  We see her friend and Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmoud Qureshi in the background here.

Hillary and blue: Perfect together!

Monday, September 20, 2010:  Here she is speaking at a function for Haiti earthquake recovery.

At the same event with Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive whom I like very much for being on the ground on the Champs-de-Mars where the people had gathered the day after the earthquake.  He was the one member of government who made himself visible to and among the traumatized Haitian people.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 with her fella at the 6th Clinton Global Initiative.  Wolf Blitzer did a long interview with the former POTUS and said that CGI is beginning to overshadow UNGA!

These beautiful photos are with one of her very dear friends from SEWA whom she has known for many years.

Bill looked like he was hanging on her every word.  You can see the love in his eyes when he watches her speak.

Later that day arriving at a meeting of the Quartet.

With Tony Blair at the Quartet meeting.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 as UNGA gets off the ground she greeted her UK counterpart William Jefferson Hague.  I always refer to him by his full name since I find it so incredible that he is only a surname away from Bill Clinton (who has a much better head of hair).

I do like pictures of her with her hand on the back of a chair.  One day I will round up all the ones I have like this for a slideshow.  Beautiful smile!

This is another posture I love along with the cute face.  Everything about these pictures reminded me of those adorable pictures from NATO last December when she was also wearing red and David Miliband was so obviously taken with her.

Hillary is gorgeous and really does not need make-up at all, but she takes pains to look her best representing us.  I love this picture with the Turkish PM looking over her shoulder.

This is my very favorite of the whole week.  She is absolutely exquisite!  Could not be lovelier!

I do not know what it is about this one that sucks me in.  Her hands, the way she is holding the paper and pen?  Her hair, pretty without being fussy? The shawl?  I love her shawls.  They had the A/C up too high for the sensitive little SOS.

Friday, September 24, 2010 at a meeting in New York City with President Obama.

On the same day at her bilateral with Mahmoud Abbas.

What a week, Mme. Secretary!  You came through it all looking gorgeous – my Keatsian commentary for the week.

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Looking beautiful as always, the Secretary of State and her Special Envoy George Mitchell accompanied President Obama to the White House Rose Garden today for some comments to the press. Fully understanding the gravity of these talks, I must remark … Mr. President, the secretarial merchandise … you touched Bill’s secretarial shoulder! Who is she texting? The fifth guy down the line? And finally, face! With Tony Blair .. cute face! *becomes serious again* 😐

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Wow! So cheerful in the early afternoon with Abbas and how serious, almost grim, with Bibi! A 180 from the attitudes in the pictures I put up last night from last October when she was so serious with Abbas and jubilant with Bibi! Ah Hillary’s face! It always speaks volumes. If videos come up I will post them.   I would love to know what they said.  Probably this was about the settlers that were killed by Hamas.  As always, cheerful with Tony!










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