The eternally cautious Ms. Clinton ducks a controversy on her global listening tour:
SEOUL, Feb. 20 -- Hillary Rodham Clinton has a new campaign and message: The United States wants to listen.
To that end, on her first overseas trip as secretary of state, Clinton is talking a lot. Her schedule is packed with so many town halls, ceremonial events, television shows and meetings with community leaders that it has the feel of a presidential visit -- or even a presidential campaign.
Before departing tropical Indonesia on Thursday for snowbound Seoul, Clinton carved out an hour to chat with the Muslim nation's president. But she also appeared on a highly popular youth television show, "Dahsyat" ("Awesome"), met with a group of Indonesian journalists, answered questions on a radio program and went on a campaign-style walk through a lower-middle-class neighborhood, where she studied recycling efforts as hordes of Indonesians gathered around her. "I love your hat," she called out to a man in a New York Yankees baseball cap.
"There is a hunger for the United States to be present again," Clinton told reporters as she flew to Seoul. "Showing up is not all of life -- but it counts for a lot."
A DISPUTE WAS BEGUN in this space recently between President Bush and Gov. Mario (pronounced Marry-o) Cuomo about the accurate quotation of the philosopher Woody Allen.
The President quoted him as saying, ''Ninety percent of life is just showing up.'' (His speechwriters later assured me that Mr. Bush has used that reference frequently; it's one of those things that get stuck in a public speaker's head and he never needs prompting to use it.) The Governor, in his equally frequent usage over the years, says, ''Most of life is just a matter of showing up,'' and the expression in a self-help best seller is ''Eighty percent of success is showing up.''
Readers were promised that clarification of this seminal thought would be sought from the author; Mr. Allen has responded to my query.
''The quote you refer to,'' Mr. Allen writes, ''is a quote of mine which occurred during an interview while we were discussing advice to young writers, and more specifically young playwrights.
''My observation was that once a person actually completed a play or a novel he was well on his way to getting it produced or published, as opposed to a vast majority of people who tell me their ambition is to write, but who strike out on the very first level and indeed never write the play or book.
''In the midst of the conversation, as I'm now trying to recall it, I did say that 80 percent of success is showing up.''
Why that particular percentage? ''The figure seems high to me today,'' Mr. Allen says, ''but I know it was more than 60 and the extra syllable in 70 ruins the rhythm of the quote, so I think we should let it stand at 80.''
Looks like Hillary is as bold and decisive as Mario Cuomo, the Hamlet on the Hudson.