Kerry eases into vacation mode

August 14, 2013

Washington is slipping into full vacation mode. President Obama’s on Martha’s Vineyard.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Secretary of State John Kerry, coming back from a quick swing to Bogota, Colombia and Brasilia — not even bothering to stop in Rio — looks to be easing out of town till Labor Day with a light schedule on Thursday.

He’s got a couple of substantive meetings in the morning. There is a 10 a.m. with Agency for International Development Administrator Raj Shah. ( Hey! Don’t forget to ask him if he’s wrapped up that Haiti earthquake reconstruction program begun after the January 2010 temblor. We hear former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, is still checking in at Foggy Bottom as a “Special Government Employee,” working on Haiti matters. Dunno about her old parking spot.)

Then there’s a 10:45 a.m. with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The afternoon has a bit of travel. Kerry’s got to go up one floor  from his seventh floor office to the lovely Benjamin Franklin reception room to host a swearing in ceremony for his former Senate aide Danny Sepulveda as coordinator for international communications and information policy at 1 p.m.

An hour later, he repeats the journey to host the swearing in of Matt Barzun as ambassador to the Court of St. James’s (a.k.a. Britain). And an hour after that, it’s back up for the ceremony for Rufus Gifford to be ambassador to Denmark.

You say you can’t make all three? Okay, here’s what you do. Since the drinks and munchies are paid for by the ambassadors-to-be, go for the one likely to have the finest wines and exquisite canapes. Our pick would be Barzun, a mega-bundler and Obama’s national finance chair. (No pigs in a blanket here.)

The weather’s going to be delightful, so make absolutely sure you step out onto the balcony for one of the finest views in town, stunning panoramas down the Potomac. Don’t forget to get there super early —  security lines, slow elevators and all that.

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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Emily Heil · August 13, 2013