Hillary Clinton returns to work

Updated
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton receives a football helmet imprinted with the State Department logo from her staff on January 7, 2013.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton receives a football helmet imprinted with the State Department logo from her staff on January 7, 2013.
Nick Merrill/Department of State

UPDATED – 2:00 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton returned to work Monday morning following a four-week absence due to a series of health scares.

Clinton was greeted with cheers and a standing ovation at a meeting with the State Department leadership team. Her staff presented her with a football helmet and jersey, noting that working in Washington is a contact sport. The jersey has her name on the back and “112” for the number of countries she has visited as secretary of state.

“She loved it,” said spokesperson Victoria Nuland, who was in the room. “She thought it was cool. But then, being Hillary Clinton, she wanted to get right to business.”

The secretary of state fell ill after returning from a trip to Europe on December 7. Clinton sustained a stomach virus, concussion, and consequent blood clot in her head, which landed her in New York Presbyterian Hospital for four nights last week.

The month-long break was uncharacteristic for Clinton, who logged nearly one million miles and 401 travel days during her tenure as secretary of state.

Clinton initially weathered some criticism for her illness, as certain conservatives considered it a tactic to evade testifying on the September attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

The secretary of state has said she is committed to testifying on Capitol Hill regarding Benghazi, but has not yet announced a date.

Clinton has been talking to her likely successor, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., “virtually nonstop,” Nuland said Monday, adding that the State Department is working with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to set a date for Kerry’s nomination hearing.

Clinton will meet with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon at the White House on Tuesday, the AP reports. And on Thursday, Clinton will host Afghan President Hamid Karzai for a working dinner at the State Department.

Hillary Clinton returns to work

Updated