From Dana Milbank’s “sketch” of Clinton’s confirmation hearing yesterday:

The questioning of Clinton, who sat at the witness table in an olive-brown jacket that brought to mind military fatigues, brought out a full complement of media heavies, including Joe Klein, Maureen Dowd and Andrea Mitchell.

(And you, Dana Milbank! And you.)

Thank goodness Dowd was on hand so that Times readers might today benefit from her first-hand report. In part:

Hillary showed the reasons she could be a star at state and queen of Obama’s hot nerds.

Come again? “Hot nerds?” Yes. According to Dowd, Tim Geithner is “the hot nerd tapped by Obama” for Treasury secretary. (You think Dowd fancies herself the “hot nerd” tapped by the Times for its op-ed page?)

Here’s how Joe Klein, another of the “media heavies” present, distilled the day and the nominee (“hot nerd,” in so many words):

I spent the day at the Clinton confirmation hearings and came away impressed, as always, with the woman’s sheer ability to process information. Not a missed beat…


… Wow. We’ve got people who are really interested in governing—who really love public service, who understand that foreign policy means more than simply issuing threats—coming back to your nation’s capital! Enthusiasm and care don’t always result in wise policy-making, but we’ve seen how fecklessness and carelessness works.

…Clinton will be confirmed, of course. And, I predict, she will be excellent in this role. (I am finding it fairly hard to play the role of cynical journalist these days. It may well be a transitory phenomenon—but it’s kinda fun to be hoping for the best rather than fearing the worst, for a change.)

UPDATE: Apparently, the whole hearing was too “dull” for Howard Kurtz’s taste, in large part due to Clinton’s voice (“there is something about Hillary’s monotone — as she droned on about ‘partnering with NGOs’ and ‘a global education fund to bolster secular education around the world’ — that brings on the need for a nap.”)

Not sure how to square that with Dowd’s voice-related observation of Confirmation Hearing Clinton that “not many women can talk about ‘the pathogen area’ with such authority and yet femininity.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.