The Hillary Clinton for President bandwagon just got another rider: Henry Kissinger.
Her fellow former secretary of state went beyond the typical professional courtesy and gave what sounded like a heartfelt endorsement for Clinton in 2016. “At least four secretaries of state became president,” he said at Wednesday’s Atlantic Council’s Leadership Awards. “I want to tell Hillary that when she misses the office, when she looks at the histories of secretaries of state, there might be hope for a fulfilling life afterwards.”
The German-born Kissinger introduced Clinton by joking about his own ambitions — despite the constitutional provision that prevented him from becoming president. “I thought up all kinds of schemes to get around that.” But then he got serious: “I think of Hillary with admiration and affection. . .When I call Mrs. Clinton ‘Hillary,’ I do that not so much to indicate familiarity but to use a name that the whole world uses. It shows to what extent she has succeeded in her people-to-people work.”
Clinton responded with her own bouquet to Kissinger. “The fact is that everywhere I go people talk to me about Henry,” she told the crowd, then compared him to another of the nights’ honorees, Tony Bennett. Bennett, she said, “is the Henry Kissinger of music — and Henry is the Tony Bennett of diplomacy. Each one of them can make you feel like you’re such a slacker.”
Clinton and Kissinger sat side by side during dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, creating a traffic jam of VIPs lined up to have a moment or snap a picture. Clinton looked rested and Kissinger looked. . .well, pretty much how he’s looked for the past few decades. No small feat for someone turning 90 years old later this month.
More than 700 guests — political, military, diplomats— from 33 countries attended the international security organization’s annual dinner, which officially launched the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. The group always attracts big names: This year’s awardees were Clinton, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Chevron CEO John Watson, Bennett, and Colombian singer and peace activist Juanes.
The evening ended with a Bennett-Juanes duet (in English and Spanish) of “The Shadow of Your Smile” and a rousing “Happy Birthday” from the crowd for Kissinger — with Hillary leading the singing.