Capricia Marshall to leave chief of protocol post at State Department

May 7, 2013
President Barack Obama walks with Capricia Marshall, Chief of Protocol, after arriving to Joint Base Andrews to attend the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the return of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Libyan embassy employees. (Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama walks with Capricia Marshall, Chief of Protocol, after arriving to Joint Base Andrews to attend the Transfer of Remains Ceremony for the return of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Libyan embassy employees. (Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

Capricia Marshall, one of the last of the Hillary Clinton insiders at the State Department, is giving up her role as Chief of Protocol. There’s no official announcement yet, but Marshall has informed the White House and Secretary John Kerry of her decision to leave at the end of the summer.

“There’s nothing I didn’t love about this job,” she told us Monday, fresh off a trip to Mexico and Costa Rica with President Obama. “I’m going to miss this a lot.”

Ambassador Marshall — yes, a job that typically goes to close presidential pals comes with a fancy title — survived a long confirmation process and became the most visible link between State’s tight-knit group of Clinton loyalists and the Obama White House.

Marshall was “someone closely associated with Hillary Clinton who [Obama insiders] were wary of — and who they came to love and didn’t want to lose,” said Philippe Reines, another member of Clinton’s posse.

 President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama look on as Marshall gets up after slipping at a State Dinner in 2010. (Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama look on as Marshall gets up after slipping at a State Dinner in 2010. (Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images)

The first-generation American (half Mexican, half Croatian), 48, has been at Clinton’s side for two decades: First as a personal assistant, then White House Social Secretary, and advisor on two Senate and the 2008 presidential campaigns. Her role at State was to oversee top-level visits here and abroad: State dinners (including the one where she famously slipped on the North Portico and gracefully rebounded while greeting Mexico’s president), travelling on every overseas trip with the president (and on Clinton’s bigger trips), and micro-managing the finer points of international diplomacy — escorting dozens of ambassadors on trips around the U.S., showing up at every embassy’s national celebrations here in D.C.

Obama asked her to stay on after Clinton left, but with three years of constantly travelling, she’s decided on her own Marshall Plan: More time with her husband and 13-year-old son. “There was a clear need for mom to focus on her son,” she said.

Unsaid: That this may be her only down time — a year or two, tops — before Team Hillary gears up for a 2016 presidential bid. She joins the list of Clinton confidantes who left State — Melanne Verveer, Reines, Huma Abedin — for a chance to rest and/or make some private sector money while they wait for her call. “She’s in the decision-making mode,” said Marshall. “If she decides to run, I’ll be behind her 100 percent.”

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