The Washington Post

Hillary Clinton’s miles: In the Loop gets one Pinocchio

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Saul Loeb/AP)

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker columnist, Glenn Kessler, writes to take issue with part of an item Wednesday saying that Secretary of State Clinton had surged ahead of former Secretary Condoleezza Rice in terms of number of days on the road.

The item said Clinton had logged 351 days on the road to Rice’s 326 days. (Apparently there were some apples and oranges here.)

“The State Department list includes stuff like a trip to Chicago and a trip to New York for the U.N. General Assembly, Kessler wrote in an e-mail, and “counts time in flight rather than days doing diplomacy.”

As a result, he says, “It is impossible to compare with other secretaries because the data [for predecessors] only includes what they did on the ground.

“By my count, Rice at this point had been on the road 292 days and had made 75 trips,” the Fact Checker says, not counting 80 days “in the air. ” By Kessler’s count, “Clinton has done 262 days on the road and 71 trips.”

Rice still holds the record more the most miles on a single trip--31,291 miles, a nine-day journey that took her to South America, Indonesia and Australia, he added.

“You get one Pinocchio for believing State Department spin.” (Or just doing bad math.)

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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