Andrea Mitchell Attributes Clinton’s “Lost in Translation” Response to a “Bad Hair Day”

So Hillary Clinton displayed a rare show of public anger yesterday during a town hall in Kinshasa, Congo—after a university student asked her what “Mr. Clinton” thought of a World Bank concern about a Chinese loan proffer to the government of Congo. (The student later explained that the translation had been wrong; he’d been meaning to ask about Mr. Obama’s thoughts.)

But: “You want me to tell you what my husband thinks”? Clinton shot back. “My husband is not Secretary of State, I am. So if you ask me my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband.” (Yes. As Drudge has it in the site’s current banner headline: “SNAP.”)

So: what made Clinton momentarily abandon the “diplomacy” side of “public diplomacy”?

Andrea Mitchell, discussing the matter on this morning’s Today Show, has one explanation: in addition to fatigue from difficult travels and the possible frustration at the media frenzy over Bill Clinton’s super-hero-tastic “rescue” of Laura Ling and Euna Lee last week…Clinton the Mrs. was also, Mitchell suggests, experiencing a challenge during her time in the Congo that, really, would put any would-be diplomat over the edge: she was having a bad hair day.


MEREDITH VIERA: This was definitely an uncharacteristic response by the Secretary of State, leading some to suggest that either she is jetlagged or jealous of her husband and the huge shadow that he casts, most notably last week in North Korea, where he negotiated the release of those two American journalists. What are insiders saying about this this morning?

ANDREA MITCHELL: Insiders would tell you probably a little of both. A lot of jetlag, clearly. By then she was at the half point in a twelve-day trip, seven countries. Very difficult travel. She had done twenty-two 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.


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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.