Obama, Hillary Mix Messages

The Obama team is known for being masters at message control, but the administration saw its first slip-up this week, the Washington Post's Jim Hoagland writes in his Sunday column. The White House's recent announcement that they'll be sending an ambassador back to Syria came as a surprise to many, but perhaps none more than Hillary Clinton's State Department; it was still hoping to win "more movement" from Damascus on Middle East issues, including helping to stop terrorist acts like the bombings that hit northwestern Iraq last week. While "little of substance may have been lost by the poorly timed disclosure," Hoagland writes—Syrian promises on terrorism are "notoriously unreliable"—the rare crossed wires represent a significant event in an administration that prides itself so highly on its rock-solid internal (and external) communications.