Secretary Clinton: Style, Humility and a Lot of Baggage

By Tamika Thompson

President Barack Obama talks with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Oval Office of the White House shortly after she was confirmed and sworn in on January 21, 2009.

When I first heard that Tavis was doing a primetime special about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I wondered how her first year at the State Department compared to secretaries of state from the past.

After all, she is both well loved and well hated, has been called a “pop feminist icon” and is so different from any secretary of state that I have known.

So, I called up a few State Department and foreign relations historians to get their take on her first year. Not so much on her job performance, but more about what she brings to the department and what, if anything, sets the current department apart from its predecessors.

My first conversation was with Dr. William Taylor Fain, history professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and author of American Ascendance and British Retreat in the Persian Gulf Region. From my conversation with Fain, I learned that Clinton brings style, humility and a lot of baggage to the State Department. Listen to audio clips from my conversation with him and be sure to check out Tavis Smiley Reports, Wednesday, January 27 on PBS.

Related Audio


Sec. Clinton’s Unique Foreign Policy Challenges

Clip One: Dr. Fain addresses whether Sec. Clinton faces any unique foreign policy challenges that other secretaries of state haven’t encountered (0:58).

Using High-Profile Special Envoys

Clip Two: Dr. Fain discusses the use of high-profile special envoys by President Obama and Sec. Clinton (1:14).

Sec. Clinton’s Diplomatic Style

Clip Three: Dr. Fain talks about Sec. Clinton’s diplomatic style and whether it has worked to improve the U.S. image abroad (0:37).


Last modified: March 25, 2014 at 4:08 pm
Home | About | Schedule | Pledge | PBS Privacy Policy | Shop