1 / 8
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Vientiane, Laos, Wednesday, July 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Brendon Smialowski, Pool)

Hillary Clinton pays historic visit to Laos

Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Laos

in more than five decades, gauging whether a place the United States

pummeled with bombs during the Vietnam War could evolve into a new

foothold of American influence in Asia on July 11.