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La Repubblica, Italy

The Latest Hillary Clinton Mystery:
Her Disappearance from the Scene

By Vittorio Zucconi

Press aides argue that she needs to rest after years of traveling around the world. Republicans believe it was a diplomatic accident so she could avoid the inquest of the Benghazi investigation.

Translated By Linda Merlo

30 December 2012

Edited by Kath­leen Weinberger

Italy - La Repubblica - Original Article (Italian)

A month ago, she was to be president of the United States in 2016. Today she's on the cover of non-trustworthy tabloids, such as the National Enquirer, which leave her for dead, stricken by a brain tumor. Hillary Clinton is back in the spotlight.

The woman that America can't help hating or loving is making news — not for what she's done, but for what she hasn't done. The absent lady is getting more notice than when she was present. Since she fainted and hit her head on Dec. 13, she's disappeared; "What happened to Hillary?" has become the most exciting game of this year's end — along with the "All fall down the fiscal cliff."

The mystery of the "Vanishing Hillary" has lifted the lid off all the possible inferences about this 65-year-old woman. Americans have had to deal with Mrs. Clinton for more than 20 years, since she erupted onto the media stage on the arm of her husband Bill in the 1990 election campaign;* the public decided to stand irreconcilably divided about her. People who passionately hate her imply that her illness and her hitting her head on the floor of her house in Washington is a stunt, a diplomatic injury so she doesn't have to appear before Congress to explain what really happened in Benghazi, during which Ambassador Stevens, her direct employee, was left alone and killed, along with his bodyguards. People who love her justify these weeks as the inevitable collapse from the stress after four years of grueling hard work.

Even when she's not around, you can't ignore the woman who made the scandalous announcement that "as First Lady I wouldn't have played the part of spending my days serving tea and cookies,"; she is also the woman to whom her husband is eternally indebted to for her iron loyalty throughout the Monicagate years and, hence, his political survival. Whether it's political guile or a serious medical reason behind her long absence from the State Department (it's still hers until Jan. 20), Ms. Rodham, the lawyer — now the married Mrs. Clinton — is a figure of contradiction and controversy.

“This one here's had plastic surgery to rejuvenate herself and hide age wrinkles,”** screamed Ann Coulter, one of Clinton's lifelong haters. However, surgeons and patients argue that she's had more than three weeks to come back into the public eye without showing any signs, bruises or surgical scars. However, three weeks seems like a bit too long for recovery from a mild head trauma, especially given the fact that she has consigned herself to total rest without even a photo, a nod or even a brief reassuring statement.

According to Republicans, who are clenching their fists over the nomination of her successor in Foggy Bottom (the nickname for the State Department), Senator John Kerry, this is a bluff designed by the ever-diabolical pair "Billary," Bill and Hillary, so that she doesn't have to give an account of the tragic Libya fiasco, the confusion surrounding Syria which is on the brink of anarchy and the uncertainties about the relations with Egypt's Morsi on the crisis over relations with Israel. The Republicans have sworn to “see” the bluff by not giving their constitutional consent, which Kerry requires, until Clinton appears before the Commission of Inquiry on Libya.

The extreme reluctance of the Clinton clan regarding the incident of Dec. 13 stokes the fire of suspicions. We haven't heard from nor seen the husband, who as usual was not with her at the time of the accident, and that worries people. No doctor has spoken and the hospital where she was admitted for observation for a few hours hasn't issued any bulletins. Her press officers remain loyal to the laconic initial explanation. The woman suffered from a massive gastrointestinal infection, an affliction she's prone to, and the million and a half kilometers in less than four years, with the tragic official banquets everywhere, haven't helped. Dehydration, caused by the virus, made her faint and fall and gave her a mild concussion that she is getting over now with rest at home. Once already, during her 2008 election campaign, she fainted and recovered. Besides, gastrointestinal disorders are frequent in exhausting journeys and state visits across the world. George H. W. Bush, the 41st president, vomited in the lap of the dumbfounded person seated next to him, Japanese Prime Minister Myazawa, during a formal banquet in Tokyo, which since 1987 has been part of presidential history.

Indeed, the mystery of the vanishing woman could be solved in a few days during the first week of January 2013, when Hillary Clinton has to get back to work and be seen in public again. She also has to calm those Republicans who are hungry for any excuse to forget the tax disaster they've forced on America in their ideological obstinacy. However, if theories of serious diseases and far more serious causes than an intestinal embarrassment are now confined to the sensationalism of the supermarket tabloids, you can be assured that this month's public absence will not be forgotten. The person who is the fourth in the constitutional order of succession to the White House, after Obama's vice president, the Speaker of the House and the president pro tem of the Senate, cannot disappear from the scene and justify it with an attack of dysentery and a bump on the head without giving any news about her condition. If she really wants to run for the front-row seat in 2016, this 30 days' absence could be a black hole that'll swallow her.

*Editor’s Note: This article mistakenly identifies the dates of Clinton’s campaign, which took place in 1992.

**Editor’s Note: Although accurately translated, this quotation could not be verified.



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