Who had the Worst Week in Washington? Hillary Clinton.

(Jewel Samad)
Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hillary Rodham Clinton has led a charmed life since her team-of-rivals (cliche alert!) selection as President Obama's secretary of state two years ago.

She has traveled the world, winning kudos everywhere she goes for her grace and, um, diplomacy. An Associated Press poll conducted in November showed that two-thirds of the American public had a favorable opinion of her - numbers that have been consistent since she became the country's top diplomat.

Heck, Clinton has become so popular that the too-delicious-to-be-ignored-even-if-it-will-never-happen rumor that she might replace Joe Biden as the Democrats' 2012 vice presidential nominee continues to linger.

But her joy ride screeched to a halt this week thanks to WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, the man behind the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of internal cables detailing U.S. diplomacy around the globe, including communications about such trouble spots as Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea.

The documents portray a chatty and at times petty State Department offering strikingly candid assessments of the relative strengths and weaknesses of various world leaders. Assange - speaking from an "undisclosed location," no less - even called for Clinton's resignation, an idea that was immediately shot down by the White House.

Clinton blasted the release as an "attack on the international community" and said that making the documents public had the effect of "endangering innocent people."

And while traveling in Central Asia, she was was forced to spend the week tending to bruised international egos, at a time when the Obama administration needs all the foreign friends it can find as it deals with two wars and tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, for suffering your first major blemish on an otherwise pristine record as secretary of state, you had the Worst Week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail chris.cillizza@wpost.com with your nominees.

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