Hillary Clinton, a likely presidential-race frontrunner, quietly slipped into Miami to address a travel agents convention Thursday in which the former secretary of state said little about troubles abroad or her future ambitions.
When the event moderator asked what it would take for the United States to elect its first female leader, Clinton was quick with a joke.
Well, itll take a crazy person, she said, drawing laughs from the crowd at the American Society of Travel Agents global convention
I hope we break that final glass ceiling, she said, adding nothing about her plans.
Though ostensibly not political, Clintons address had the makings of an introductory campaign speech, replete with personal anecdotes, stories of world leaders and veiled warnings about the dangers of partisanship and the fragility of American democracy.
Compromise is not a dirty word, she said. Compromise is only a dirty word if you think you own all the truth. And thats what I see in countries where people are punished and marginalized because of their race or their ethnicity or their tribe or their religion.
Clinton made the comments in recalling the deals her husband, President Clinton, struck with Republicans to balance the budget and approve welfare reform a sharp contrast to the looming fiscal fights between President Obama and congressional Republicans that could lead to a government shutdown for the first time since Clintons White House days.
Clintons speech was tightly stage-managed.
At one point, a member of the audience, Andrew Rothberg, had his Galaxy Note II smartphone taken from him by security, which removed his picture of Clinton onstage and then gave his device back in front of a Miami Herald reporter in the auditorium stands.
Its crazy, Rothberg said.
Thats American politics, said a docent, one of a handful of hotel security and volunteers who roamed the aisles looking for people taking pictures or making recordings. None was allowed.
I wanted to take pictures for my girls; I have four girls, Rothberg, who was writing a piece about the conference for Boca Raton-based Grey Matters Magazine, told the Miami Herald. I think Hillary Clinton, who is probably running for president in 2016, would want all the publicity she could get and I think its kind of ironic they would take the camera away.
Rothberg said he was more puzzled than upset. He said he guessed at one point that Clintons handlers might have wanted to control the event to keep activists from infiltrating the event and raising awareness about issues like the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. But he wasnt sure.
Clintons speech came a day after congressional Republicans led another hearing into the attacks and faulted her and the administrations preparations and response. Four Americans were killed in the attack, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Many members of House Foreign Affairs Committee felt the Obama administration did little to prepare for an attack, not enough to respond and nothing significant by failing to fire or even cut the pay of anyone associated with the failures.
It is, indeed, pathetic that still no one has been held accountable for the disastrous decisions that were made at the State Department before, during, and after this terrorist attack, Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, said during the hearing.