A tease from Hillary

Al Kamen
Columnist December 3, 2012

Hillary Clinton is not running for president. Nope, she’s said. Not happening.

Wait, was that a wink?

The secretary of state, who has repeatedly said she’d like to spend the next chapter of her life out of the political limelight, maybe as a professional grandmother, joked Thursday about her status as the most speculated-about potential 2016 candidate.

Clinton regaled the audience at a conference sponsored by the Foreign Policy Group and the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning with a story about Jake Sullivan , director of policy planning. She indicated that he had presidential potential himself: “I told my husband about this incredibly bright rising star — Rhodes scholar, Yale Law School — and my husband said, ‘Well, if he ever learns to play the saxophone, watch out.’ ”

That got some yuks.

Then she delivered the killer line. “Now we travel all over the world together and people say how excited they are to meet a potential future president of the United States, and of course they mean Jake,” she deadpanned to the crowd’s laughter.

Can we take that as a “maybe”?

Blame Reagan

Savvy politicians know there’s much to be gained by giving the people what they want. And at least some Americans want . . . a “Star Wars”-style Death Star.

A petition posted to the White House Web site — the administration created a forum that allows people to post petitions and promises a response to those that garner more than 25,000 digital signatures — is seeking the construction of a Death Star by 2016.

Forget sequestration! Let’s build a moon-size space station that the evil Darth Vader would love! The Death Star, “Star Wars” fans will recall, was the bad guys’ big gun capable of blowing entire planets into oblivion with a laser. (Sorry, Princess Leia.)

“By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense,” the petition reads.

Never mind the bit about such things only existing “a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”

If we do end up building one, we should beware and do a bit better on the security front than the Galactic Empire did: Remember, scrappy bands of rebels actually managed to destroy the Death Star pretty handily — twice.

More letters from Gitmo

When last we heard from Muhammed Rahim, a detainee at the Guantanamo Bay facility, he was complaining that fellow prisoner Majid Khan was being rewarded for cooperation with prosecutors with a pet kitten.

Now, he says he wants a pet of his own. A dog, specifically.

“I will train my dog to chase Majid Khan’s cat,” Rahim said in a newly declassified letter to his attorney.

More deep thoughts, from Rahim, an Afghan who was a translator for Osama bin Laden: He thinks his lawyer, Carlos Warner, would school President Obama in court — at least a court of the basketball variety. Should Warner ever get to play hoops with the president, he offered this advice: First, Warner should advise him to close Guantanamo. Secondly, he suggested, “take him straight to the post. You are bigger, stronger and younger.”

And in another letter, he doubts the veracity of Fox News. “I don’t think Fox News is ‘Fair and Balanced,’ ” he writes. “If they were . . . they not have to say it every 5 minutes.”

Rocking with Dick Lugar

Outgoing Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) got some particularly high praise Monday from President Obama.

“It was Dick who took me on my first foreign trip as senator,” Obama reminisced at an event commemorating a program to deal with nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union.

The trip was to Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. “We were there to see the . . . program in action,” Obama said, “and the first thing I learned is that when Dick Lugar travels overseas, it’s not a junket.

“You know, we didn’t stop and look at a lot of beautiful sites and sort of lounge around on a lot of shopping excursions,” Obama recalled, implying that this is somehow the usual routine on such trips.

And “the more remote the place is,” the president said, “the bigger a rock star Dick Lugar is. They love him in these places.”

Hey, that’s what we wrote back on Feb. 8.

The grind at Justice

Gary Grindler , chief of staff for Attorney General Eric Holder and before that acting deputy attorney general in 2010, is headed out Wednesday, most likely to the private sector.

This was Grindler’s second tour at Justice, having been there during the Bill Clinton administration as a counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno and deputy chief of the civil division.

Margaret Richardson , current deputy chief of staff, moves up to replace him.

His announcement comes after word that Lanny Breuer , assistant AG for the criminal division, is also said to be heading for the exit, perhaps by year’s end. Another talked-about departure is Ignacia Moreno , the assistant AG for the environmental and natural resources division.

Ofttimes, such movement signals a change at the top, but we’re still hearing that Holder is staying, perhaps until next fall, after a potential battle over a successor for FBI chief Robert Mueller . The special two-year extension to his 10-year term expires Sept. 4.

No papal retweets either?

It’s only Monday, and we’ve already found a contender for the quote of the week that’s going to be tough to beat.

Don’t look for a follow-back from the newest addition to the Twitterverse, Pope Benedict XVI (his handle: @pontifex), according to Vatican spokesman Greg Burke: “He won’t follow anyone for now. He will be followed.”

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

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