2:45 p.m. ET: The Hillary-to-State train is now picking up some serious steam. She and Barack Obama met in Chicago Thursday, her advisors are whispering that it's "a very good possibility" and the buzz up in New York has already jumped ahead to the next phase of speculation on who would replace Clinton in the Senate.
If Obama is serious about naming his most ardent primary foe to a major post, why stop there? Why not a true Team of Rivals? After all, Obama is meeting with John McCain soon, and he's already got Joe Biden in the No. 2 slot. How about John Edwards, who is 99 percent honest, for Attorney General? Chris Dodd, Mr. VIP, at Treasury? Bill Richardson could reprise his memorable stint at the Department of Energy, and Dennis Kucinich could run a newly-created Department of Peace and Nonviolence.
In fact, Obama wouldn't have to stop at this year's race. Back in 2004, both of Obama's main competitors for the Senate -- Democrat Blair Hull and Republican Jack Ryan -- ended up having their candidacies destroyed by embarassing divorce revelations. Surely jobs could be found for both of them in the Obama administration. (Hull actually backed Clinton this cycle, so he's both a former rival and a supporter of another rival. A two-fer!)
And lest we forget, Obama actually lost a race once -- a 2000 House primary against Bobby Rush, who might enjoy a Cabinet post too. Are we leaving anyone out? Did Obama beat out some kid for a slot on the JV basketball team who is now Cabinet material? Let us know in the comments section below.
8 a.m. ET: As the "No Drama Obama" campaign has turned into the "No News Transition" -- we are accepting suggestions for catchier slogans -- there remains one sure-fire way to inject some buzz into what has been a mostly buzz-less process: Hillary.
In classic D.C. fashion, the junior Senator from New York has magically materialized on the list of potential Secretary of State nominees in the last 24 hours, her name now being "mentioned" and "discussed" for the job along with the previous handful of known suspects: John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, maybe Sam Nunn and a few others.
Why would Obama pick his vanquished primary foe? Aside from her obvious big-name stature, Clinton is said by those in the know to have a potential "Team of Rivals" appeal to Obama. (That book has now become the go-to explanation any time a politician considers reaching out to someone they personally dislike. Maybe Obama should just skip a step and put Doris Kearns Goodwin in the Cabinet.)
Left unmentioned by the mentioners is another factor that makes Clinton a more attractive candidate for a Cabinet post than she might have been for vice president -- spouses don't move into Foggy Bottom. As Newsweek's campaign epic reminds us, Obama was wary of putting her on the ticket because, "You don't just get Hillary, you get Bill." Not so much with the Secretary of State post. (Though you do get Bill Clinton's international business dealings. Would he enjoy being "vetted"?)
Meanwhile, as international bigwigs peruse American front pages upon arriving in Washington for this weekend's economic summit, they might be forgiven for wondering whether many newspapers have switched formats.
Two weeks ago, those pages were overflowing with news of ads, polls and early voting. Now, with Obama's transition humming along in relative quiet, those stories have been replaced with headlines on bailouts, bankruptcies, bears and bulls. Leading the way today is the economic story that turned out to have a massive electoral impact -- the financial rescue bill, which split both parties on the Hill, may well have sealed John McCain's fate and is still roiling politics six weeks after it originally passed. Now some members who went out on a limb to vote for the bailout may be wondering why they bothered, as the primary purpose of the measure seems to have changed radically in just six weeks.
Still unclear is the fate of another stimulus package and a bailout for the auto industry, as Hill Democrats and the Bush administration do not appear close to a deal that would allow passage of a package before 43 gives way to 44. If it is left to the Obama administration to work out the final details of that and other economic crisis measures with Congress, which end of Pennsylvania Avenue will Clinton be on?
November 14, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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