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Meet the woman who came up with Hillary Clinton’s favorite joke

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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 used it in speeches, and has now immortalized it in the book’s author’s note.

Whittaker entered and won our contest in 2013 to name Clinton’s memoir. She was just happy to add an official Loop T-shirt to her growing Loop memorabilia collection, which already included a Loop mug. In 2003, Whittaker won a Loop contest to choose a new viceroy in Iraq – she picked U.S. ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci, 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 like every conversation about the former secretary included some mention of her hair.

During William and Kate’s royal wedding festivities in 2011, Whittaker met Barbara Walters, who was in London covering it. The news that Hillary was using her material as a punchline, “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?



Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.



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Colby Itkowitz · May 27, 2014

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