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National News

September 24, 2013

Hillary Clinton drops in to address travel agents in Miami

MIAMI — Hillary Rodham Clinton slipped into Miami Thursday for a speech to a travel agents’ convention 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, it’ll take a crazy person,” she said to 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, Clinton’s 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 that’s 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 Bill Clinton, struck with Republicans to balance the budget and approve welfare reform — a sharp contrast to the looming fiscal fights between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans that could lead to a government shutdown for the first time since Clinton’s White House days.

Clinton’s speech was tightly stage-managed.

At one point, a member of the audience, Andrew Rothberg, had his 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.

“It’s crazy,” Rothberg said.

“That’s 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.

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