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The AP has been on the wrong side of a lot of political stories recently, but this offensive little gem really gets some sort of prize. Hillary Clinton has been in Pakistan, confronting perhaps one of our thorniest foreign policy issues, and courageously agreed to a town hall discussion with Pakistanis. Here's the lead paragraph from the Associated Press story:

ISLAMABAD – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton faced sharp rebukes from Pakistani audiences Friday, including one woman who accused the U.S. of conducting "executions without trial" in aerial drone strikes. Slapping back, Clinton questioned Pakistan's commitment to fighting terrorists.

Slapping back? Seriously? One of the most powerful and accomplished women in the world, doing the difficult work of diplomacy in a hotbed of terrorism, and they've started the sentence out making it sound like she got in a catfight with another woman. I can't say that I've ever heard someone described as "slapping back" in a heated argument.

Am I overreacting? I supported Obama in the nomination battle, and though I was never a fan of hers then, I certainly respected her tenacity and intellect. I would never say that anything she did, as tough-minded and even occasionally below-the-belt as they often were, was akin to "slapping". There was a lot of talk back then about the press treating her differently because she was a woman, much of which I didn't fully see. But this seems pretty obvious, a way of denigrating what sounds like, from the rest of the article, an extremely difficult and fraught mission in a country at war, a mission that started with a brutal terrorist attack. Would Colin Powell have been described as "slapping back?"

Originally posted to BornAgainDem on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 04:43 PM PDT.

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