Hillary Clinton Cheered Husband’s Speech From Tiny East Timor

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton watches her husband Bill Clinton during her visit to the Island of East Timor, in Indonesia. Source: Nicholas Merrill/U.S. State Department via Bloomberg

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cheered her husband’s nominating speech for President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention from 10,000 miles away, in the tiny Southeast Asian nation of East Timor.

Clinton, the first secretary of state to visit the half-island state adjoining Indonesia that won independence 10 years ago, delayed her departure to watch a recording of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, rouse the Democratic Party faithful in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“It was great,” she told reporters on her plane before taking off for Brunei, smiling broadly and saying she loved every minute. An aide who watched with her said Clinton was riveted, cheering and almost leaping out of her seat when Obama unexpectedly joined Bill Clinton onstage.

Clinton was asked earlier at a press conference in East Timor’s capital, Dili, about missing the convention.

“Officially, let me say that for decades, secretaries of state have not attended political conventions because of the nonpartisan nature of our foreign policy,” Clinton said. “It is a good rule, it is one that I certainly accepted.”

That said, it was the first convention she had missed in “many, many years,” she said. Clinton took the stage in support of Obama in 2008 after losing her own presidential bid, and was alongside her husband in 1992 and 1996.

“Let me also say that my husband read parts of his speech to me over the last several days. I received the ‘as prepared’ version,” she said. “I am anxious -- when I can -- to compare it with the ‘as delivered’ version,” Clinton said with a laugh.

She eventually watched a recording of the speech at the U.S. ambassador’s residence. Clinton called her husband on her way to the airport to congratulate him before heading for the oil-rich sultanate of Brunei.

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