Hillary Clinton welcomed Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the State Department this afternoon for the official announcement that George Mitchell would be made a special envoy for Middle East peace and Richard Holbrooke would be advancing the adminstration’s efforts in Aghanistan and Pakistan.
Hillary had the pleasure of introducing Biden, announcing the nominations of Mitchell and Holbrooke, respectively, and then President Obama. Clinton, the nominees, and Obama himself all mentioned that the president visiting an agency for this kind of announcement was a rare occurrence and was intended to highlight his commitment to peace in the Middle East and a solution to the problems on the Afghan border. It was also, undoubtedly, yet another morale booster on a morale-boosting day, which either means that the transition team discovered exactly how low morale really was after the Bush years or the Obama administration is trying to build some good will really fast.
As with Clinton’s speech this morning, Obama used the opportunity to take a few swipes at the previous administration’s diplomatic efforts, such as they were, calling for employees to join Clinton and him in a new “principled, focused, and sustained American diplomacy.” If the applause (and the receiving line, not to mention the sheer number of employees taking pictures) is any indication, he and Clinton will probably have plenty of help in that.
Saul Loeb/Getty Images