Hillary Clinton, 'Au Naturale': Clinton Hits Back at Critics

Hillary Clinton made major headlines on her trip through Asia, while she managed to avert a full out diplomatic crisis between America and China over a blind dissident and pressed India to reduce its oil imports from that rogue nation Iran. The secretary of state shot down, again, that she plans to run for president in 2016. And finally … she (gasp) wore very little make-up, sported glasses and had un-coiffed hair during an official event in Bangladesh.

"Hillary Au Naturale" screamed the Drudge Report headline, as it showed a photo of the secretary wearing glasses, loose hair and nothing but a little bit of lipstick. If the headline and picture were supposed to be embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton, she hasn't taken the bait.

In fact, her response to CNN's Jill Doherty when asked about criticism over her looks was not to weigh in on the debate over her fashion sense, but instead to laugh it off.

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"I feel so relieved to be at the stage I'm at in my life right now, Jill, because if I want to wear my glasses, I'm wearing my glasses," said Clinton. "If I want to pull my hair back, I'm pulling my hair back."

The picture in Bangladesh is just the latest example of the ongoing debate over just how fashionable the former first lady, former senator and current secretary of state is.

In the 2008 election there was much chatter about her short hair and pant-suits. Recently, fashionistas have taken issue with Mrs. Clinton's stubborn determination to occasionally wear scrunchies, a dated hair tie that even the fashion-forward Carrie Bradshaw character of "Sex and the City" mocked. Clinton reportedly likes them because they keep her hair tied back neatly and out of her face.

Right or wrong, appearance scrutiny continues to be a factor for any female politician, regardless of party. Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman receive nearly as much attention about how attractive they are as they do their policies.

Even Clinton's predecessor Condoleezza Rice, who's no longer politically active, can't escape being analyzed for her appearance. She's not running for vice president and has repeatedly said she's not interested in the job. Yet Huffington Post Style has already posted a piece with the headline "Condoleezza Rice As Mitt Romney's 2012 Vice President Pick? What We Could Expect Of Her VP Style," providing a retrospective of outfits showing the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State's "stately sophistication with a hint of flare."

For Clinton's part, she tells CNN she's tired of the whole debate.

"At some point it's just not something that deserves a whole lot of time and attention. If others want to worry about it, I'll let them do the worrying for a change," she said.

There was one other accessory that Clinton was wearing in that "au naturale" picture, which hasn't been mentioned much. A great, big smile.

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