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Associated Press
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton holds up a football helmet given to her Monday on returning to work after complications from a fall.

Helmet gift welcomes Clinton back to work

– If it’s true that politics is a contact sport, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton got some extra protection Monday when her staff welcomed her back from medical leave with a personalized football helmet.

Clinton’s return came about a month after she fell ill with a stomach virus that led to a fall, a concussion and a brief hospitalization for a blood clot in her head.

About 75 senior aides gave Clinton a standing ovation when she arrived for a staff meeting, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

The extra head protection was symbolic, but it could come in handy soon on Capitol Hill, where Clinton is expected to face bruising questioning from Republicans about security lapses at a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

“She will testify,” Nuland said Monday. “She will testify while she is still sitting secretary of state.”

Clinton also told her aides Monday that before she leaves, she wants progress on all the recommendations of an independent panel that investigated the Benghazi deaths, Nuland said.

Clinton’s appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is not likely until after Inauguration Day, because the Senate is out of session until then, Nuland said.

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