Saturday 18 November 2017

Orla Healy's US Diary: Kennedy's tepid act of diplomacy

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy sits next to U.S. President Barack Obama as they meet with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy sits next to U.S. President Barack Obama as they meet with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo
Daniel Radcliffe. Photo: Joel Ryan

Orla Healy

Caroline Kennedy is taking her new role as a diplomat seriously. At least, she's trying to. The freshly minted US envoy to Japan made a stab at mending fences with Camp Clinton last week when she said she could "absolutely" see herself endorsing Hillary for president "if she runs".

"I know it sounds like a cliche, but two years is a really long time in politics," Kennedy said during a series of interviews conducted in Tokyo on Thursday hooked to Prez Obama's four-nation tour of Asia. "I'm sure she's looking forward to being a grandmother, I know she's got to decide soon. So, so you know... I hope so," she told ABC News.

What was supposed to be a vote of confidence from a high-profile member of Team Obama – and would later be ridiculed as vague – didn't exactly elicit whoops of joy from Hillary supporters, many of whom find it hard to overlook the fact that Caroline and her late uncle Ted endorsed Obama instead of Clinton in the 2008 primary, leading to a major shift in a closely contested race. Back then, Caroline added insult to injury when she said Obama got her backing because she believed he could be as great a president as her father – the man on whom Clinton modelled his career.

When an NBC reporter prodded Ambassador Kennedy to explain why she would back Hillary now "since last time you didn't support her", the 58-year-old turned snippy. "I just said that," Caroline snapped, with what appeared to be a sneer. "I would like to see her [run for president] if that's what she wants to do. I think she'd be great."

Caroline was less wishy-washy discussing her own future. "I wouldn't consider running in Japan," she joked before adding, "I doubt I'd ever run in the States, either."

Given that Kennedy's support, however lacklustre, for Hillary is being viewed as a sign that the Democratic Party is coalescing around Clinton, Caroline's political plans may not be that much of an issue.

Flynn fans at their wits' end

Girl Gone author Gillian Flynn seems to be playing mind-games with her fans. Flynn, who is working with movie director David Fincher on the final edit of the Ben Affleck/Rosamund Pike adaptation of her bestselling pathological thriller, dismayed her followers last month when she revealed the film will have a dramatically different ending to the book.

"Ben [Affleck] was so shocked by it," Flynn told Entertainment Weekly. "He would say, 'This is a whole new third act! She literally threw that third act out and started from scratch.'"

In an attempt to reassure her audience that the movie won't be a let-down, Flynn took part in a Reddit AMA ('ask me anything') on Tuesday, claiming, "Those reports have been greatly exaggerated! The script has to be different from the book in some ways. You have to find a way to externalise all those internal thoughts and you have to do more with less room."

Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay, elaborated with, "But the mood, tone and spirit of the book are very much intact."

She didn't, however, say she hadn't changed the ending for the Reese Witherspoon-produced film, which is scheduled to hit cinemas stateside on October 3.

Dan and his man-crush

Sounds like Daniel Radcliffe has a serious man-crush on Michael Fassbender. In a conversation with New York magazine to mark the Broadway opening of Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan, the 24-year-old says that he owes his post-Harry Potter success to a mantra that he employs to steer all of his career decisions. It is:"What would Michael Fassbender do?"

The concept, Radcliffe earnestly explains, started when he was shooting the 2012 film The Woman in Black with director James Watkins. "We were offered an advertising tie-in, from a very classy company. And we were like, 'Well, this is a Gothic horror film. Is that the way we want to represent ourselves?'"

And because Watkins had worked with Fassbender on a previous film (Eden Lake) Radcliffe asked him, "Would Fassbender do something like this?" Watkins said, "Nope."

"I should just get a little bracelet made with that on it," Radcliffe says.

"Michael Fassbender is one of a group of actors that I really, really admire, and I think everything he does in his career is brilliant."

Jeb may throw his old hat in

Jeb Bush should probably come up with a more original script if he plans on throwing his hat into the 2016 presidential ring. He might also want to man up.

On Wednesday, the former Florida governor told an NYC Catholic Charities fundraiser that he's "thinking about running for president" – a decision he says he will make after the mid-term elections.

While Mr Bush's statement brought the 200-plus attendees at the lunch to their feet, it will probably bring other factions of the Republican base to their knees.

Dubya's younger brother – who, according to the New Yprk Times, is paid more than $1m (€722,560), a year by Barclays (the bank, natch, that absorbed much of Lehman after Bush's attempt to have Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim rescue it) – is also a thorn in the side of Grand Old Party stalwarts who find it difficult to fathom his insistence on federalised education and his rhetoric on immigration reform – notably, his belief that undocumented immigrants who are illegally entering the United States are committing "an act of love".

The 60-year-old's biggest hurdle, however, may be closer to home.

"Would you call and tell my mom?" Bush quipped minutes after making his announcement.

He was, of course, referring to his mother's recent comments that there have been enough Bushes in the White House.

Sunday Independent

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