Yesterday a university student from Zaire asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton what, as she heard it, Bill Clinton thought of the Chinese loan offer to the Congo. Her response was, shall we say, undiplomatic at best.
"You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?" she asked. ""I am not going to be channeling my husband."
She obviously felt slighted because the student's question suggested expressed interest in what her husband and not what she as the secretary of state or Barack Obama, as president, thought of the loan program. We don't know whether the university student misspoke or whether his question was mistranslated. For all we know, he was asking about Bill Clinton's opinion because he either (a) mistakenly believes he is still the president of the United States or (b) respects Mr. Clinton's economic views.
Whatever the case may be, Mrs. Clinton handled the question incorrectly. As our secretary of state, Senator Clinton is expected to answer (or not answer) the questions posed to her politely while ignoring the occasional real or perceived sleight.
She could have "misheard" the question and offer her own opinion (Mr. and Mrs. could get lost in translation) or she could have offered an "I don't know" and/or "I didn't ask him" answer. The less said, the better.