Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got a standing ovation from colleagues as she returned to work today.
She was also the subject of some office ribbing as colleagues presented her with a football helmet and jersey. Clinton had been away from work while recovering from a fall where she hit her head. Doctors later detected a blood clot.
The State Department released three new photos of Clinton at the staff meeting where she was surprised with the gifts by Deputy Secretary Tom Nides.
According to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, Clinton entered the room to a rousing standing ovation from the 75 people gathered for the meeting of top State Department officials. Nides then presented her with a box and said, “As you know Washington is a contact sport.”
In the box was the helmet with the State Department seal. Clinton is shown beaming as she holds it up in one of the photos. She also received a blue football jersey with the name Clinton on the top and with the number 112, which represents the number of countries that she has visited as Secretary of State.
“She loved it and thought it was cool,” said Nuland, who added that Clinton then wanted to get straight to business.
Nuland said Clinton stressed to the State Department’s top officials that she wants everyone to work hard to ensure that every recommendation by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board is implemented ” by the time her successor is sworn in and takes up his duties. ”
Nuland said Clinton said she will testify on the Hill about the Benghazi attack “while she is sitting Secretary of State,” and that she is doing other internal meetings today at the State Department.
It appears she is recovered judging by her schedule today, according to Nuland.
“She looks fantastic” said Nuland. Asked if she tried on the helmet Nuland said she had not, noting “Let me just say as a fellow chick her hair was fabulous.”
Clinton had been out for weeks thanks to a series of medical concerns. She cancelled a trip to North Africa and the Middle East and appointments for testifying to Congress about the U.S. attack in Benghazi because of a flu, concussion and blood clot.
The day after Clinton was released from the hospital last week, the State Department announced her plans to return to work today.
Last week Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., began making preparations at the State Department to take Clinton’s place once she steps down, as she has said she will, in coming months.