Combing through Hillary Clinton’s book, we find the Loop


Hillary Clinton was tickled by a title suggested by a Loop fan, and the Loop fan was tickled right back. (Pool photo/AFP/Getty Images)

Longtime Loop fan Stephanie Whittaker, a marketing-communications manager in London, was elated, if not stunned, to learn that Hillary Clinton had not only read about her title idea for Clinton’s new memoir but also used it in speeches — and has now immortalized it in the book’s author’s note.

Whittaker won our contest in 2013 to name Clinton’s memoir. She was just happy to add an official Loop T-shirt to her growing collection of Loop memorabilia, which already included a Loop mug. In 2003, Whittaker won a Loop contest to choose a new viceroy in Iraq. She picked Paul Cellucci, then the U.S. ambassador to Canada, because he had experience “in dealing with a nation and people who are openly hostile to the U.S.A., its government, people and values.”

Reached at her London home on Tuesday, Whittaker, 37, joked that she thought it must be April 1.

“Who would have thought she reads In the Loop — that’s just amazing,” Whittaker said. “Really, I’m so surprised someone like Hillary would actually think [my idea] was good enough to use in her own material.”

An excerpt from Clinton’s forthcoming memoir was released Tuesday. As other political reporters in this town dissected every word, at the Loop we focused on the end of Clinton’s nearly 1,500-word opening note.

“When I began this book, shortly after leaving the State Department, I considered a number of titles. Helpfully, the Washington Post asked its readers to send in suggestions. One proposed ‘It Takes a World,’ a fitting sequel to ‘It Takes a Village.’ My favorite was ‘The Scrunchie Chronicles: 112 Countries and It’s Still All about My Hair’,” Clinton writes. “In the end, the title that best captured my experiences on the high wire of international diplomacy and my thoughts and feelings about what it will take to secure American leadership for the 21st century was ‘Hard Choices.’ ”

Whittaker, who said she’s a Clinton fan, came up with the title because she felt as though every conversation about the former secretary of state included some mention of her hair.

During Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding festivities in 2011, Whittaker met Barbara Walters, who was in London covering it. The news that Clinton was using her material as a punch line “tops meeting Barbara,” Whittaker said.

“I wonder if I get royalties,” Whittaker joked. “Maybe she’ll do a book tour in London and I can meet her then. I still can’t believe it.”

Clinton should at least send her a signed copy, right?

The skeet can rest easier

Sure, it may not mean much in a budget topping half a trillion dollars, but on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend the Pentagon announced that it was cutting about $60 million — just from the U.S. European Command — by returning 21 sites, including a golf course, a hotel, a skeet-shooting range and “other non-operational or excess facilities” to various NATO allies.

With laudable modesty, the Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, noted that these are “minor, non-operational infrastructure adjustments” that will not affect military capabilities.

The Garmisch golf course in Germany was “no longer needed,” the announcement said. And the Breitenau skeet range there was “no longer utilized.” There was also no need to keep the General Abrams hotel and dispensary, “due to the presence of the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch.” That Defense Department-run hotel, in the heart of the Bavarian Alps not far from Munich, has some pretty awesome views.

Also in Germany, the “Hill 365 radio facility” is getting the ax because “alternate communications make this site unnecessary.”

And while it may appear these days that the Cold War is returning, not to worry. The announcement notes that these decisions “were vetted under the months-long European Infrastructure Consolidation review.”

And now, fox news

There was the White House garden fox and the Capitol Hill fox. Now sources tell us there’s a State Department fox.

Pictures of the fox sighted near the agency’s 23rd Street NW entrance were e-mailed around the U.S. Institute of Peace by Steven Heydemann, vice president of applied research on conflict. Subject line: “Fox applies for position at State Department.”

During the federal government shutdown, a fox was hanging out on the White House grounds messing up the gardens, taking full advantage of the absence of the furloughed groundskeepers. Last month, the Wall Street Journal wrote an entire story about the elusive fox, which was never caught — complete with a map of locations around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, where it had been spotted. Even President Obama has apparently seen the creature through the Oval Office windows.

Also, at the beginning of the year, a fox was regularly spotted around Capitol Hill, prompting (of course) the creation of a “Capitol Hill Fox” Twitter account. CQ-Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill blog did a thorough job following its whereabouts.

So now there’s a fox spending time in Foggy Bottom. Heydemann, in an e-mail to the Loop, said he was told the State Department fox has “put in appearances in the area for some time.” He asked a security guard if someone would try to catch it, to which the guard replied, “Why should we want to catch him? He was just making his rounds.” A colleague told Heydemann: “This fox tried to join the State Department ultimate Frisbee games I play in just across the street from State one evening, too. When we rejected him, he cunningly and quickly ran away with one of our cones.”

Perhaps it’s the same fox, spreading diplomacy between the government institutions. Or maybe the one hanging out by State is a Russian spy fox, which would explain it annexing the cone.

— With Colby Itkowitz

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

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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