Hillary Stands by Her Hombre

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A woman's got to have her girlfriends. And when you're First Lady, that means hanging out with other long-suffering presidential wives of the Western Hemisphere. Not that Hillary Clinton was in a mood for sharing her private woes as she addressed a gathering of Latin American first ladies and invited guests in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday. "Women still do not hold enough positions of authority, responsiblity and power," Hillary told the meeting. But what of her own authority? Does standing silently by her philandering man make Hillary the best role model for women's rights? "For her, it's a very difficult situation," said Maria Elena Ovalle, a member of Chile's Central Bank. "She is facing the facts with great dignity, I think."

Great dignity is one thing. Becoming a walking martyr to the Lewinsky scandal is another. Hillary's visit to hurricane-battered Puerto Rico Tuesday night managed to turn the conversation back to Clinton's crisis in the one part of the country where they had good reason to talk about something else. "I have visited many natural disasters with my husband... I know how devastating they can be for families," she told a crowd on the West Indies island -- and who among them did not wonder whether she was thinking of Hurricane Monica, especially in the wake of leaks from Sidney Blumenthal's grand jury testimony. The First Lady, we are told, knew about the intern, but believed her husband was "just ministering to a troubled young woman." Her hosts, at least, will sympathize: There are plenty of those south of the equator.