By Alexandra D’Ercole
With a short amount of time left before Barack Obama is inaugurated into office, the president-elect has started to fill some key positions in his senior staff. Several persons have been rumored to be potential candidates for secretary of state in Obama’s new administration, including New York Senator and former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
During an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS “60 Minutes,” the newly elected president said that some of the names in his new Cabinet would be announced soon. Though Obama acknowledged his meeting with Clinton, who he met with Thursday at his office in Chicago, he declined to reveal whether she was being considered for the job. Instead, he stated “She is somebody who I needed advice and counsel from.”
The president-elect has considered a number of different candidates to fill the high-ranking post. Massachusetts senator, Democrat John Kerry has previously been linked as a contender for Secretary of State; the 2004 presidential nominee gave an early backing to Obama in his primary campaign. Also reported to have been considered are New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Chuck Hagel, the retiring Republican senator of Nebraska.
The possibility of Hillary Clinton taking up a position as Secretary of State has generated a lot of buzz over the weekend, and much of it has been positive. One Marist College student said, “I think she’d be a good choice for the position because she has a lot of experience, not only as a senator but as a former First Lady.” The student also commented that “They obviously disagree on a few issues, like the [Iraq] War, but the Hillary-Obama dynamic was really interesting to follow during the primary campaign. I would be curious to see how it would play out.”
Those close to the president-elect appear to be in favor of an Obama-Clinton team. Vice president-elect Joe Biden, who will play a key role in the decision, has often expressed his admiration for Clinton’s knowledge of foreign policy. Even Obama’s wife Michelle seems supportive of the potential partnership. The future First Lady recently spoke with Clinton about the task of bringing up children in the White House, according to The Times.
Even some Republicans have spoken positively about Clinton becoming a part of Obama’s team. As reported by the New York Times, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told news services that “She is a lady of great intelligence, demonstrated enormous determination and would be an outstanding appointment.” In an interview with Fox News, Sen. Byron Dorgan said, “She’s worked across the aisle, has good bipartisan relationships.” He also added that Clinton “would have instant credibility around the world,” acknowledging the fact that the United States has “a lot of relationships to repair and a lot of work to do.”
CNN sources have commented that the New York Senator left her meeting with Obama under the impression that if she wanted to be Secretary of State, that the job would be hers. Clinton’s response has remained unknown. On Friday she made an appearance at the New York State Public Transit Industry Fall Conference in Albany, where she stated “I’m not going to speculate or address anything about the president-elect’s incoming administration, and I’m going to respect his process, and any inquiries should be directed to his transition team.”
Clinton did announce earlier in the week, “I want to be a good partner and I want to do everything I can to make sure his agenda is going to be successful.” Even after working hard during her primary campaign and conceding, Hillary Clinton just may make her way to the White House after all.