Obama and Clinton off to Cartagena gabfest

April 11, 2012

A police helicopter flies this week over San Felipe castle in Cartagena. (Jose Miguel Gomez/Reuters)

Secretary of State Hillary “The Texter” Clinton, will be taking her plane — then heading from there to meetings in Brasilia and Brussels.

And Hill folks will also be headed to the quadrennial mega-gabfest, to grip and grin with some 30-plus other heads of governments.

(The fun will be to see how things go when they run into lefty anti-Americans like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez or Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega.

A couple of House congressional delegations — including a bipartisan group headed by House Foreign Affairs subcommittee chairman Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) — are packing to go. Also signed up are: Reps. David Rivera (R-Fla.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Tex.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.)

Curiously, not many senators seem to be going. In fact, it may be that the only one going from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a possible vice presidential pick, who we’re told is flying commercial to attend.

Seems like he’s going to a lot of trouble. “Sen. Rubio has pushed to promote democracy” in the region, spokesman Alex Conant explained. “This summit is a good opportunity for Sen. Rubio to discuss the importance of democracy with leaders from around the region.”

Well, if handled properly, it could also help boost his foreign policy chops.

Reminds us of a foreign jaunt made by another potential vice presidential pick back in 2004. That would be John Edwards, whose criminal trial is set to begin Thursday in Greensboro, N.C.

Edwards is charged with violating campaign finance laws related to the payment by two wealthy donors of nearly $1 million to help hide his pregnant mistress while he was running for president. (What was he going to do with her and the kid if he won?)

Edwards gave a speech in June 2004 at the Bilderberg conference that was widely credited as one reason John Kerry chose him.

Edwards, joined by GOP strategist Ralph Reed, talked to the uber-secret group of global powerbrokers about the upcoming election. Edwards focused on “the insecurity of American workers that persists even when economic statistics” get better, the New York Times reported. (Might be a theme for Mitt Romney to pick up on if the economy is improving in the fall.)

The late Richard Holbrooke, then a senior foreign policy aide to Kerry and also at the conference, told the Raleigh News and Observer that Edwards wowed foreign leaders at the event.

Okay. So a nice shouting match with Hugo or Danny, appropriately videotaped, would be excellent.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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