Kevin LaMarque / Reuters/Newscom

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, aboard a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya. Although this picture was taken on Oct.18, 2011, it went viral in April of this year.

Op Images: Clinton provides grist forthe meme mill

Published: Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 10A

The presidential election campaign was well under way in April when the photo went viral of Hillary Rodham Clinton flying on a military plane, wearing sunglasses and studying her BlackBerry.

It became a meme and is an advance look at campaigns to come.

Photographers from Reuters and Time snapped the shot as Clinton flew from Malta to Tripoli in October 2011. But the photo went viral in April 2012, prompting New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd to write about Clinton having "cemented her newly cool image."

Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, @textfromhillary, controlled this story.

I dare the hardest of hard Republicans to flip through the Tumblr page and not lol at some of the images, like the one in which Condoleezza Rice supposedly tells President George W. Bush that she left her sunglasses in her desk back at State.

"Sorry, Condi, haven't seen them."

I was partial to the fictional exchange between Gov. Mitt Romney and her.

"Any advice?"

"Drink."

It was all a goof cooked up by a couple of guys in a bar. As Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe told Politico, they were simply wondering what in the world Clinton might have been texting when photographers took their iconic shot. The image above is by Reuters photographer Kevin LaMarque, but Smith and Lampe were referring to a black-and-white shot taken by Diana Walker of Time.

"It just captured this wonderful image of Hillary," Lambe told Politico. "You definitely could tell she was in charge. You could tell she was getting stuff done. There was just no question that this woman was a total badass."

The fun and games ended quickly, after Clinton invited the young men to the State Department and signed a photo in which she thanked them for the lolz.

A lesson from Texts from Hillary is that the presidential candidate who controls the social media will have the advantage in 2016, whoever she might be, assuming she recovers from whatever caused that nasty fall.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Dan Morain



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