Madam Secretary Meme Goes From Gay-Bar Banter to State Department Invite

Posted by Chris Geidner
April 10, 2012 4:45 PM |

lambeclintonsmith.jpeg[Photo: Stacy Lambe, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Adam Smith, texting and loling, on April 10, 2012. (Photos from Texts From Hillary.)]

Two gays walk into a bar ...

... and out they walk, less than a week later, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's office, laughing all the way.

It's an "only in D.C." story, but for Stacy Lambe, Adam Smith and Texts From Hillary, that's how it happened.

The two communications professionals -- Lambe works on clean energy and Smith on campaign finance reform -- went for drinks a week back. It was that recent? Yes. "We were on the rooftop of Nellie's last Wednesday," Smith tells Metro Weekly.

hrctumblr.jpgThe photo of Clinton looking tough, calm and in charge "in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya October 18, 2011," as the original Reuters story captions it, became the topic of discussion. 

Once Lambe returned home and launched the Tumblr site, the meme was born. Diana Walker's black-and-white photo shot for Time and Kevin Lamarque's photo for Reuters became the underlying foundation of an internet laugh that has outlasted many others. Besides cats.

Looking at the many Anna Wintour, Meryl Streep (below, left), Rachel Maddow and Arianna Huffington posts on the Tumblr, one can't help but notice a bit of a pattern.

"I just kept coming up with perfect results of people like Anna Wintour and Meryl Streep on their phones, and there's just this natural alignment. I think a lot of people associate those three women in similar circles," Lambe says by phone this afternoon. "Having seen a couple of videos of Meryl Streep introducing Hillary Clinton at the women's summit, there's just this camaraderie there. There's just so much respect between those two women, you can't help but have this awesome little exchange that you think might happen.

"I may be only speaking for me, but I'm sure a lot of gay men, gay women too, have a lot of respect for them."

Talking with Smith today after he and Lambe left their meeting with Clinton, he laughs.

"It was sort of unbelievable. Her staff had emailed us yesterday, said that they liked the site and that the Secretary wanted to meet us. They asked if we could come over to the State Department, and we of course said, 'Sure, we'd love to!'"

Lambe tells Metro Weekly, "Because the initial outreach came through email, I think both of us were in disbelief that it was even real. We Googled the name, asked if it was real. I was like, 'Is this a really bad version of Punk'd?'

"It was very surprising to get any kind of outreach from her office, let alone a submission -- which they definitely had to tell us a few times, 'Hey, that really is from her,'" he says.

merylhillary.jpgSmith says that Secretary Clinton's staff sent over her submission to the site (above, right) on Monday, April 9, and he and Lambe met her press staff today before meeting Clinton. 

"[W]e went up to her quarters and then she came out and she was all smiles and she told us she liked the site and shook out hands," Smith says.

Lambe marvels: "For her to ... walk up to us and know us by name and shake our hands and greet us and everything, it was just absolutely divine."

Smith: "Then, she said, 'I have this idea for a picture I want to do.' Her assistant gave us our phones back because they have to take them when you go into her office. They gave us our phones back and we just took pictures pretending that we were texting."

With her sunglasses on.


Lambe says, "It was a wild moment."

He adds: "She said her favorite post was the Ryan Gosling one, so of course I was excited because that was one of the ones that I happened to come up with after being inspired by several requests for a Ryan Gosling post."

As for the future of the Tumblr, Smith says, "That's a good question. Everyone will just have to look at the site tomorrow morning for an update."

We're waiting.

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