September 26th, 2012
07:55 PM ET

Clinton maintains non-stop schedule at U.N. General Assembly

By Jamie Crawford

Things always move at a hectic pace during meetings around the annual U.N. General Assembly, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may raise that bar higher this year.

Within four days, Clinton had already met with 21 heads of state and government and foreign ministers during a marathon schedule of meetings on the sidelines of the annual conclave of world leaders.

Clinton's days this week have been a blur of back to back meetings in hotel suites and meeting rooms near U.N. headquarters.

She has spoken with the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, and Myanmar as well as the prime ministers of Israel, Turkey and Lebanon. Middle East monarchs and foreign ministers from Belgium, Greece, and Britain have also had meetings with Clinton.

These talks do not include the many speeches she has or will give on issues like the crisis in Africa's Sahel region, the greater involvement of women in the world economy, peace and security in the Middle East, and the importance of water security around the globe.

There also are the remarks before the annual gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative, a meeting with the so-called P5+1 group addressing Iran's disputed nuclear program, and various lunches and dinners with multinational guest lists.

Any down time in Clinton's schedule appears scarce. Her schedule regularly starts before 9 a.m. and usually stretches past 10 p.m. There are quick handshakes for cameras before heading into meetings that run close to an hour on average.

Her staff holds out the possibility of more than 10 additional bilateral meetings if time allows before she is scheduled to return to Washington on Friday evening – possibly 38 overall.

The packed schedule has not gone unnoticed. It has even raised a few eyebrows among some who wonder why Clinton is holding some meetings that would have been handled by President Barack Obama in past years.

In a briefing with reporters this week on Clinton's meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, a senior State Department official said that Obama "has very limited time here, and I think that he has to make choices."

A second official added, "these are also relationships that she has helped him to maintain all the way through."

Obama addressed the General Assembly on Tuesday.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also reminded reporters that Obama had telephone conversations with the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Libya and others in recent days.

Regardless of her schedule, this will be Clinton's last General Assembly as America's top diplomat. She has said she does not plan to serve in a second term if Obama is re-elected.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. MJF

    I love it. I never come here for news, but I thought I would check out what cnn looked like with everything going on in the world this week and it seems every story is slanted to prop up obama in one way or another or some stories are missing altogther. It's amazing to actually see with your own eyes. There was a time when the media was supposed to be on the side of 'we the people' to help keep the powers that be in check. Those days are so long gone and they aren't coming back. At least not on cnn.

    September 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
  2. Bea

    Hillary is doing Obama's job as well as her own, since he abrogated his responsibilities. Obama found enough time on Monday to meet with the ladies of The View, but not to meet with the prime minister of Israel and the president of Egypt (they both had requested meetings). Once again proving that Democrats chose the wrong candidate in 2008.

    It's ironic how after dissing Bill Clinton during the 2008 campaign, and mostly ignoring him during the first two years of his presidency, Obama had to ask for his help and advice. If Obama hadn't needed him, Bill would have never been given such a prominent spot at the Democratic Convention.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Reply
    • cleareye1

      This why Obama is the best choice. He knows that Hillary can hold down the fort at the UN and he can concentrate on winning an election so that she'll be in position to pick up the reins in 2012. Both Clintons are on board for that scenario. I watch how the candidate runs their campaign as a signal of how they will run the country. So far Romney has made Palin look competent! Not easy, but he's up to it.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
      • Bea

        The best choice would have been Hillary running for reelection. Since that's not an option, I'll be voting third party.

        September 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  3. w l jones

    Don^t we love our REAL hard working Fellow American Women. Bless.

    September 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  4. copernicus

    I'd vote for Hillary for President! But in the mean time i'll vote Republican. Nice job Hillary, keep up the great work.

    September 27, 2012 at 8:24 am | Reply

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