Karen Hughes: our chief public diplomat

Frances Townsend, Joshua Bolton, and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen HughesPresident Bush spoke at the Islamic Center of Washington last week and took along a few buddies. This picture is perhaps one of the best examples of how public diplomacy, however you may define it, simply is not understood by our leadership.

In the front row of the picture is Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Frances Townsend, Chief of Staff Joshua Bolton, and of course, our lovable Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Karen Hughes was clearly unprepared for the visit. Her quickly donned head cover appears to be more Jewish than Muslim, but it's something (I think). Isn't she supposed to be on top of this type of stuff with her outreach and all? What happened to protocol?

If Townsend was going to the National Cathedral, would she wear the same top?

Update: Steven Emerson at the Counterterrorism blog has more on the apparent failure to prepare for this event:

The White House has admitted to a senior government official that it did not vet the audience members in attendance at President Bush’s speech last week at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., despite having been warned of the potential presence of individuals who might have triggered national security concerns.

(Thanks Michael for passing the original along)