The political wattage in the front row — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Laura Bush, Secretary of State John F. Kerry, former Clinton aide Melanne Verveer and others — was meant to be a show of U.S. support for Afghan women ahead of the withdrawal of most U.S. forces from Afghanistan next year.
But Kerry had some tips for the men in the audience at Georgetown University on Friday.
“For all the men studying here at Georgetown, who sat in or sit in classrooms where Bill Clinton sat so many years ago, my advice to you is this: Study hard, go to Oxford, become governor of your state, and then maybe you can marry one of the country’s remarkable secretaries of state.”
That line got the day’s loudest applause, and left both Clinton and Bush giggling.
Clinton introduced Kerry with warm praise for his dedication to preserving the hard-fought educational and economic gains Afghan women have made in the 12 years since the fall of Taliban rule.
Kerry, she said, “understands that we cannot walk away from this country or this region when our troops come home; that we cannot turn our backs on the people of Afghanistan and especially the women.”
Kerry thanked his predecessor as secretary, playfully referring to her as “Madam secretary/senator/first lady/everything.”
Neither Clinton nor Kerry addressed any future title Clinton might hold, such as candidate for president in 2016.