Washington: November 22, 2008 – IR Summary/NYT - Hillary Rodham Clinton has made up her mind to give up her Senate seat to clear her passage to accept the position of Secretary of State in the Obama administration.
The selection of Hilllary is still to be formalized and will not be announced until after Thanksgiving. It would be yet another direction in the unlikely journey of a onetime political spouse in Arkansas who went on to build a political base of her own and become a symbol of achievement to many women.
The role, though a supporting one, would make her one of the most influential players on the international stage, and it would represent at least one more act for one of the nation’s most prominent public families, as former President Bill Clinton would also become an ad hoc member of the Obama team.
The sometimes awkward dance between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton in the eight days since he invited her to Chicago for a meeting culminated in a telephone call on Thursday. Before the call, Mrs. Clinton was skeptical about the prospect of joining the cabinet, said her confidants, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the situation. But Mr. Obama addressed her concerns about access, personnel and other issues, leading her to conclude she should take the job, they said.
“She’s ready,” one of Mrs. Clinton’s confidants said. The first meeting in Chicago “was so general” that she needed to have a better sense of how she would fit into Mr. Obama’s administration, and the call helped her “just getting comfortable” with the idea of working together, the confidant said.
Mr. Obama’s advisers said that although no offer had been formally accepted, her nomination was “on track” and would probably be announced after the holiday. Mrs. Clinton’s Senate office broke a week of silence to acknowledge the talks but cautioned that they had not been made final.
“We’re still in discussions, which are very much on track,” said her spokesman, Philippe Reines. “Any reports beyond that are premature.”
Mr. Obama wants to announce the members of his national security team at once. Advisers said he was weighing whether to make retired Gen. James L. Jones, a former Marine commandant and NATO supreme commander, his national security adviser, installing a formidable counterweight to Mrs. Clinton. The president-elect was still trying to decide whether to keep Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on an interim basis or install another choice to run the Pentagon right away.
The choice of Mrs. Clinton pleased many in the Democratic establishment who admire her strength and skills, and they praised Mr. Obama for putting the rancor of the campaign behind him. “Senator Clinton is a naturally gifted diplomat and would be an inspired choice if she is chosen by President-elect Obama as secretary of state,” said Warren Christopher, who held that job under her husband. More