(WASHINGTON) — When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton touches down in Latvia Thursday, she will hit a milestone, having traveled to a staggering 100 countries in less than four years. Clinton will become the most-traveled secretary of state in U.S. history.
The previous record holder was Madeleine Albright, who visited 96 countries when she was the nation’s top diplomat from 1997 to 2001. Clinton’s predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, visited 85 countries in four years.
Rice talked to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Tuesday night about how living out of a suitcase is a requirement of the job. The frequent visits demonstrate that the secretary of state has to travel, “widely because the inbox for the world is really the American secretary of state’s inbox,” Rice said. “That is really what those numbers show. You have to get out there and represent the United States.”
Besides Lativia’s being the 100th country Secretary Clinton has visited, it will also be the first time a secretary of state has visited the tiny Eastern European country in nearly 20 years. A senior State Department official called Clinton’s industrious travel, “a testament to the enormous activity that she has put into her job.”
And she’s not done yet. Clinton still has six more months before she says she will depart her post, which means more time on planes as the public face of U.S. diplomacy.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Joshua Berlinger, CNN
Tom Kludt and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Eric Bradner, CNN