Journalists quipped that Bill Clinton uncharacteristcally left all the talking to others when he arrived at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank from North Korea with Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two former captives.
Why didn't he take the mike? I see three possibilities: the first is humility and I cross that off the list right away. The second is pride. If it's true that this mission was all carefully mapped out, and Clinton was selected by Pyongyang to do the honors, then he probably viewed it as a piece of diplomatic theatre over which he had neither script approval nor artistic control. The less said about it the better.
The third possibility is the most dire: that he has something to report and it is for the White House only.
Thursday's New York Times editorializes the hope that his mission will unblock negotiations with North Korea by giving Kim Jong-il another face saving opportunity. However, scan over to the Op-Ed page in that same issue, and you'll read Nicolas Kristoff calling for more aggressive tactics in circumscribing North Korea's nuclear program, which is rumored to have built a reactor inside a mountain in Myanmar, and to be colluding with Iran in developing weaponry.
Maybe Bill didn't speak because he had nothing good to tell us.