Inaugural Week Missteps From Clinton, Biden and the Media

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, January 24, 2009

I close this first week of the Barack Obama presidency with a few churlish thoughts that, perhaps, I should keep to myself but won't. I'm in the autumn years of life, beyond the point of worrying about my life when I grow up. So here goes:

No. 1 -- William Jefferson Clinton.

Pray that he becomes acquainted with John 3:30: "He must increase, but I must decrease."

Obama and his ascending secretary of state need a lot less Bill Clinton.

I tuned in to Wednesday's National Prayer Service at Washington National Cathedral, a historic event that marks the end of the president's inauguration.

Sitting in the front pew after a day of ceremonies and a night of partying was our new president, flanked by his wife, Michelle, and by Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill.

But wait! Also seated in the front pew was Hillary Clinton, who was still only Obama's secretary of state nominee. How did she rate that, while the rest of Obama's team was seated among the 3,200 invited guests?

Hillary Clinton made the front row because the man seated to her right used to be president.

Even if asked by the first family or planners to occupy the front pew, the Clintons should have had the good grace not to horn in. It was not their hour.

Hillary Clinton belonged in the company of her administration peers and the other guests. And Bill Clinton should have made himself scarce along with the three other former presidents. After all, unwritten protocol holds that former chief executives don't hang around Washington after their time is up.

Evidently, Clinton hasn't grown out of his status anxiety.

Which gets us to Hillary Clinton's swearing in as secretary of state.


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