A broken elbow may have slowed her down the past month, but this week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to be making up for lost time.
As pundits in Washington speculated Clinton was being sidelined within the Obama administration and overshadowed by the president's recent high-profile diplomatic forays to the Middle East, Russia, Italy and Ghana, Clinton planned a week filled with events aimed at raising her public profile as chief diplomat.
"I broke my elbow, not my larynx," Clinton quipped Thursday at the State Department. "I have been consistently involved in the shaping and implementation of our foreign policy, and I am off to India and Thailand."
On Thursday, Clinton embarked on her first trip overseas since breaking her elbow June 17 -- bound for India, and later Thailand.
With foreign policy heavyweight Vice President Joe Biden overseeing the U.S. withdrawal and political reconciliation in Iraq, and Ambassadors Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell tasked with hot-spots Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Middle East respectively, it seemed to some observers that Clinton's foreign policy portfolio and stature within the administration was diminishing, especially after losing battles appointing some ambassadors and staff.
On Wednesday, Clinton delivered a wide-ranging speech that outlined the current U.S. foreign policy agenda, addressed the hot-button issue of Iran, and defined areas of personal priority. She praised the president, but evidently sought to distinguish her contributions from his.
"President Obama has led us to think outside the usual boundaries," she said. "He has launched a new era of engagement based on common interests, shared values and mutual respect. Going forward, capitalizing on America's unique strengthens, we must advance those interests through partnership, and promote universal values through the power of our example and the empowerment of people.
"First, though, let me say that while the ideas that shape our foreign policy are critically important, this for me is not simply an intellectual exercise," she added. "For over 16 years, I've had the chance, the privilege, really, to represent our country overseas as first lady, as a senator, and now as secretary of state."
She then followed with a summary of diplomatic experiences over two decades.
Clinton also sought to distinguish current U.S. foreign policy approach from the previous administration's.
"We will not tell our partners to take it or leave it, nor will we insist that they're either with us or against us. In today's world, that's global malpractice," Clinton said.
Clinton called for employing "smart power," a phrase she first mentioned during her January confirmation and further described during her speech Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations.
"It means the intelligent use of all means at our disposal, including our ability to convene and connect," Clinton explained. "It means our economic and military strength, our capacity for entrepreneurship and innovation, and the ability and credibility of our new president and his team. It also means the application of old-fashioned common sense in policymaking. It's a blend of principle and pragmatism."