If it wasn’t for the tropical surrounding, the gathered dignitaries, the press corps and the President you’d be forgiven for thinking that Secretary of State Clinton was listening to any old speech.
Her boss, the President, was giving a speech in Myanmar last week at Yangon University when the Secretary of State took a moment or five to take a quick catnap. A power nap.
Her little sleep during the President’s speech was captured by CNN television as she dozed in the front row of the audience flanked by democracy activist and Member for Parliament Aung San Suu Kyi.
She’s in good company. Others, indeed many others, have grabbed a moment’s quiet reflection during one of the President’s speeches. Vice President Joe Biden took a moment to relax with a quick sleep during the President’s budget reduction speech in April 2011.
But our favourite has to be the occasion of the President’s “Race to the Top” speech in 2010 when a student from Kalamazoo Central High School fell asleep in full view of the watching media. His misfortune was exacerbated by seating him right behind the President as he spoke. The President might have missed his snooze, but no-one else did!
And how was the President’s Yangon University speech? Speaking from his familiar autocue he gave a faultless and seemingly effortless performance. Yes, the speech was on the long side…which might account for Mrs Clinton’s predicament…but for a University speech on the President’s first visit to Yangon it counted as a success.