Why Is Hillary Clinton in England?

She’s spending her July Fourth weekend in an ironic locale.

National Journal
Emma Roller
July 3, 2014, 11:19 a.m.

Hil­lary Clin­ton is spend­ing her Fourth of Ju­ly week­end vis­it­ing — where else? — the United King­dom.

Clin­ton has been do­ing a me­dia tour across the pond, pro­mot­ing her book against flag­ging sales. But she’s already got­ten cries of “gaffe!” from some con­ser­vat­ive me­dia out­lets and Brit­ish com­ment­at­ors alike.

In an in­ter­view with the BBC’s Wo­man’s Hour show, Clin­ton misid­en­ti­fed the two largest polit­ic­al parties in the U.K. after be­ing asked about the “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” between the Amer­ic­an and Brit­ish gov­ern­ments.

“It is so spe­cial to me, per­son­ally, and I think it is very spe­cial between our coun­tries. There’s just a — not just a com­mon lan­guage — but a com­mon set of val­ues that we can fall back on,” she said. “It doesn’t mat­ter in our coun­try wheth­er it’s a Re­pub­lic­an or Demo­crat, or frankly in your coun­try wheth­er it’s a Con­ser­vat­ive or a Tory. There is a level of trust and un­der­stand­ing. It doesn’t mean we al­ways agree be­cause of course we don’t.”

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For those of you not su­per in­to Brit­ish polit­ics: A Tory is the same thing as a Con­ser­vat­ive. They are the same party — it would be like say­ing the GOP is dif­fer­ent from the Re­pub­lic­an Party. Gran­ted, it’s not ex­actly a Kins­ley gaffe, but it does look some­what em­bar­rass­ing for a former sec­ret­ary of State and, as Alex Seitz-Wald points out, one who has cham­pioned her own world­li­ness.

Along with the “spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” ques­tion, Clin­ton was asked, for the mil­lionth time, if she would run for pres­id­ent. “I’m not sure I want it to con­tin­ue, that’s why I haven’t de­cided,” she said. “The right ques­tion is not are you go­ing to run … it’s what is your vis­ion for the coun­try.”

Clin­ton isn’t the first former (or fu­ture) pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate to stumble through a vis­it to the U.K. In 2012, Mitt Rom­ney an­noyed some Brits by call­ing the pre­par­a­tions for the Lon­don Olympics “dis­con­cert­ing” and by say­ing it was “hard to know just how well it will turn out.”

The Beeb was just one stop on Clin­ton’s Brit­ish in­va­sion. She’ll also make ap­pear­ances on The One Show, and on Fri­day, Clin­ton will join The Guard­i­an for an in­ter­view. That in­ter­view will in­clude crowd-sourced ques­tions from read­ers, as well as from Brit­ish cul­tur­al fig­ures like Jam­ie Oliv­er, Alastair Camp­bell, and Caitlin Mor­an.

Which raises the ques­tion: Why is Clin­ton in the United King­dom in the first place? Our best guess is that it’s 1) to pro­mote her book, 2) to keep her name in the head­lines, and 3) be­cause for Hil­lary Clin­ton, the world is nev­er enough.

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