Barack Obama may have twice canceled his plans to visit Australia, but on the weekend America’s most powerful woman satisfied the nation’s craving for a good whack of high profile American political celebrity.

Former First Lady, former Presidential hopeful and current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Australia on Saturday for a weekend of sightseeing, dining, and public and private talks including a discussion forum hosted by Leigh Sales aired last night on ABC.

Most of Clinton’s public appearances were squeezed into a busy Sunday agenda. Dressed in a bright orange suit reminiscent of a corporate version of what Beatrix from the Kill Bill movies might wear if she went on the straight and narrow (though Hillary’s hubby might not dig the reference) Clinton’s itinerary included visiting Melbourne’s Federation Square, inspecting an eco-friendly building constructed by the Grollo group and the aforementioned discussion forum in which she asked why anybody would “ruin a perfectly good slice of bread with Vegemite” and went on to field a plethora of questions on a wide range of issues including same-sex marriage, emissions trading schemes and the “ban the burqa” debate.

There were plenty of angles for the media to talk about. Here’s a snapshot of what the pundits had to say:

The Australian

Cameron Stewart: Then the ladies did lunch

The two most powerful women in their own lands wanted to get to know each other better.

So they did what anyone might choose to do on a balmy spring Sunday. They took a stroll near the Yarra River and enjoyed a very private lunch overlooking Melbourne.

Greg Sheridan: United approach to China questions

Hillary Clinton certainly didn’t want to embarrass Julia Gillard in Melbourne.

So the US Secretary of State pretended that the US abandoning cap and trade legislation, and a carbon price more generally, had no implications for Australia.

In fact, it makes the Australian policy a nonsense.

Cameron Stewart and Brendan Nicholson: ETS decision is yours: Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday it was up to Australia to choose its own path on an ETS and that the new US position was a product of the political reality facing the Obama administration after the recent mid-term elections.

The Herald Sun

Phillip Hudson: Hillary Clinton advises parents to chill out and let children live

Hillary Clinton says she is worried parents are not letting children take the normal risks of growing up and has urged young Australians not to be stressed by the challenges of life.

Fiona Byrne: Hamish and Andy chip in with gift for Hillary Clinton

Radio duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee have turned cultural ambassadors, sitting down to talk
Blake and Lee, dressed in dapper black suits and bow ties, met the US Secretary of State at Melbourne University yesterday.

The Age

Dan Oakes: Burqa ban has merit, says Clinton

The belief that burqas should be banned in order to stop suicide bombers disguising themselves is a legitimate one, according to United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Tony Wright: Hilary shows why she’s a 24/7 politician

Could Abraham Lincoln have been elected president in the 21st century, Hillary Rodham Clinton wondered aloud?

”You know,” she said. ”He was awkward and gawky looking. He was so tall. He had what were called in those days ’bouts of melancholia’, which we might call depression.

Sydney Morning Herald

Hillary Clinton praises Australia’s peacekeepers

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has praised Australia’s role in peacekeeping missions in the Asia Pacific region.

Speaking to an audience of under 35s to be broadcast on the ABC tonight, Ms Clinton acknowledges Australia has “increased the military cooperation with Malaysia and Singapore, provided crucial assistance in the Timor-Leste transition to independence and led stabilisation forces in the Solomon Islands”.

Aust and US combat violence against women

Australia and the United States have pledged millions of dollars towards combating violence against women to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Daniel Flitton and Dan Oakes: China wary of PM’s welcome mat for US military

Australia risks a backlash from China over a plan to expand the United States military presence here under a new deal to be unveiled today.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, yesterday described ties between China, the US and Australia as ”one of the most consequential” for the Obama administration.

The Punch

Tory Maguire: We should set our politicians free to be themselves

A funny thing happened in Melbourne yesterday morning. A very senior politician answered a whole lot of questions in complete sentences, with barely an acronym, and without the repetition of a handful of sound bites.

ABC News

Danny Morgan and Sabra Lane: Australia set to cement US military ties

A deal allowing US forces greater access to Australian ports and military bases is likely to emerge from defence talks that will wrap up Hillary Clinton’s trip Down Under.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith are hosting Ms Clinton and secretary of defence Robert Gates for the AUSMIN talks, which are set to formalise closer military ties between the two nations.

Sky News

Clinton honours Aussie war heroes

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had a jam packed day in Melbourne ahead of high powered AUS-MIN talks on Monday.

The former First Lady has paid tribute to Australia’s war heroes by laying a wreath at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.