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HRC for Secretary of State: Crazy or Crazy Like a Fox?

President-elect Barack Obama and his future Secretary of State? Photo by Emmanuel Dunand of AFP/Getty Images

The news that Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama huddled yesterday at the president-elect's transition headquarters in Chicago has set off another round of speculation that the New York senator may well be in line to be Secretary of State in an Obama administration.

While neither side is offering any official comment, one source close to Hillary Clinton told The Fix today that it is a "very good possibility" that the New York senator would end up as the Secretary of State.

Given all of the speculation, we thought it made sense to lay out the arguments for and against Clinton as Secretary of State.

Our pros and cons are below. Have some of your own? Offer them in the comments section below.


* Gravitas: Clinton is well-known and well respected in the international community. Is there any question that she could hold her own in delicate negotiations with our international friends or foes? The one thing that became indisputably clear during the Democratic primary race is that voters view Clinton as eminently qualified on nearly every issue. Putting her out as the administration's top diplomat would likely be received, nationally and internationally, as a solid choice.

* Two for the Price of One?: The Clintons are -- and always have been -- a package deal and, if Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State, this phenomenon could work to Obama's advantage. Former President Bill Clinton has spent much of his time since leaving office focused on international issues and is clearly a serious player on the world stage. Whether he would have a formal advisory role (not likely) or an informal role, Bill Clinton's knowledge and expertise would almost certainly aid his wife and -- consequently -- Obama.

* The Olive Branch: It's no secret that relations between the Obamas and the Clintons were not warm and fuzzy during or after the Democratic primaries. (This is probably more true with regard to Bill Clinton than Hillary Clinton, it's worth noting.) And, following the vice presidential sweepstakes -- in which the New York Senator was never seriously vetted for the job -- things may have gotten even more testy. Obama, at heart, is a pragmatist, and knows that it does him much more good to have Hillary and Bill Clinton on board rather than free-lancing. Making Clinton the Secretary of State would ensure buy-in from the former first couple.


* A Third Clinton Term?: The first two major hires of the Obama White House -- Rep. Rahm Emanuel as the presidential chief of staff and Ron Klain as the vice presidential chief of staff -- have long ties to Bill Clinton and his presidency. If Hillary Clinton is the Secretary of State, there will be some (many?) in the party who will complain that Obama promised something new but is in fact delivering just more of the same. One of the unique aspects of Obama's ascent to the presidency is that he, unlike almost other Democratic candidates, owes little to the Clintons. Obama had no ties to the duo before running for national office and made clear during the primary season, in fact, that he was running against the Clinton years in some ways. Naming Clinton to such a high-profile post would be taken by some as a rejection of the "new politics" Obama pledged during the campaign.

* A Free Lancer: As we noted above, the danger for Obama with regards to both Hillary and Bill Clinton is that they will pursue their own agenda -- political and policy-wise -- rather than advocate for the president-elect's preferred issues. While the chances of Clinton free-lancing are far less if she is a member of the Obama cabinet, there is absolutely no way of ensuring that her own views on matters of foreign policy would be subsumed in favor of those of the administration. Having Clinton on the world stage pursuing her own agenda would be potentially very problematic for Obama and, at that point, it would be impossible to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 14, 2008; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , The Cabinet  
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When will Homeland Security, FBI, and CIA begin Vetting the next President of the United States since it appears as though they have been silent. Don't tell me they cannot become involved in an election. The proof was when they came out two weeks before former Congressman Curt Weldon was up for re-election against Rear Adm. Sestak with undocumented charges of against Curt which cost him the election. With Obama's association with questionable characters how can he get any security clearances?

Posted by: jrbreslin1 | November 17, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Re: Clinton freelancing... I wonder if through the 63-question vetting survey that all potential cabinet members must fill out, Obama expects to uncover enough dirt on the Clintons to keep them under control.

Posted by: squatty418 | November 17, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse






Our side was getting overwhelmed by the money disparity - Obama had 300 paid bloggers on staff - to our rag-tag band of volunteers - we had to employ copy-and-paste to keep up with the numbers.

It was that simple.

The advertising budget was amazing - there has to be something behind the money disparity and an investigation is in order. If it is true that a simple computer function could VERIFTY THAT THERE IS A MATCH BETWEEN THE NAME GIVEN AND THE NAME OF THE CREDIT CARD then it makes sense that Federal Election Laws call for that function to be TURNED ON.


The Obama Campaign had a LEGAL OBLIGATION to verify that all contributions are from DOMESTIC SOURCES - if they were purposely ignoring that legal obligation there is a problem. In addition, I believe the Federal Election Commission should take a pro-active stance with the credit card companies and see to it that a means is created to verify that credit card payments are in compliance with federal laws. It is not that difficult to have the computer match a credit card with an address.




Posted by: 37thOSt | November 17, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Bad idea. Bill's foreign wheelings and dealings wouldn't stand up to the scrutiny and would qualify IMO as a conflict of interest.
She has already shown a problem with foreign affairs, i.e. under fire in Bosnia?

Posted by: IDGem | November 16, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

A poster wrote: "Obama knows what he is doing.

Mark my words."

Yes, he does. To be sure, 44 ran the most brilliant campaign in modern political history. But his handling of HRC, Inc. was clearly a flaw, e.g., turning over the convention to the loser for a two-day enshrine-the-whine "catharsis" and depriving himself of any postconvention bounce.

We now know Mrs. Wm. J. Clinton was not offered anything by O, and the only solidly reported fact was that 44 and Mrs. WJC physically met on Thursday. That's it.

So what are left with is just intense lobbying for Mrs. WJC as SoS by Hillarians in the media, see Andrea Mitchell.

O-Nation has to be scratching their collective heads. The most polarizing political figure of your generation, the person who waged the only explicitly race-based presidential campaign in modern history ("He's not a Muslim "as far as I know" and "Hard working people, you know, white people won't vote for him."), is being considered for the job of top diplomat. Note to B. Richardson, call O and ask, "Que pasa, 'mano?"

Many of the rocks O-Nation's heroes protected O from were thrown by Mrs. WJC and her surrogates on TV and in print. And of course Mr. WJC continued a public anti-O campaign well AFTER the convention, at one point appearing on the View and other shows to sing the praises of Mac/Pfalin and pointedly refusing to say one kind word about 44. In fact, it is unclear whether he has ever publicly admitted O is "qualified to be President" though asked about it a million times on TV.

As 44 has stated, power does not concede easily and it clearly hasn't here. O-Nation heroes, such as Patti Solis Doyle, Claire McCaskill, Greg Craig, et al. need to man the rampants one more time to defend against this last HRC insurgent attempt to breach the walls of O-Nation. No big deal. Only the future of the entire Western World depends on whether you succeed. Oy.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 16, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Change does not mean tossing our years of experience. CHANGE means changing the way things are governed. Obama has the ability to keep the ranks in line and on track.

Anybody chosen for the new administration will know they have the potential of being part of a historical Presidency.

America and the world are watching in ways unlike anytime in our countries history.

Obama knows what he is doing.

Mark my words.

Posted by: vance1 | November 16, 2008 3:16 AM | Report abuse

This can work out great. Obama knows he doesn't have to worry about Hillary--or Bill for that matter--freelancing or misbehaving. The press and the public will pound them silly--they were given this chance to serve their country during one of its worst crises; they mess up, they are truly finished. They will behave, and this will showcase American unity and resolve.
He should add more big names--and definitely from the Republican ranks too.

Posted by: roberts4 | November 16, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

The case Pro and Con are not decisive.
How about this: She has the right qualifications to deal witn Muslim leaders. They will want to deal with the President but will have to alter their views on women. That alone would make HRC ideal. She has the presence and given the right staff and time to learn, she could be the best Secretary of State since George Marshall.
That she will want to perform well is a given, that she will want to run for President in 8 years, could be expected. Therefore, she will never undermine Pres. Obama. Regerdless what she might have said, the world changed and her future depends on the success of Obama.
I think that is the best reason.

Otherwise, Holbrooke is the best alternative, based on his skill and talent. He may be too tough sometimes but he is the tough guy we want in our side.

Posted by: MikeSar | November 15, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to appoint seasoned and smart people. If that requires him to look at Hillary, and people from the Clinton adminstration, more power to him.

The thing is, this is the Obama administration, and Obama is in charge, it's not a third term for the Clintons. There is no evidence to show that either Clinton would promote their agenda before the president's.

Bringing Hillary on as the SOS, or for that matter, an ex clinton staffer on for an appointment is not a bearing on the Obama change factor. The change comes from Obama's ideas on policy. I don't think that he will backstep on that, because Hillary is SOS. Obama thus far has shown us he has good judgment.

The people who he chooses to help him made the changes are important, and Hillary is one of the people that will have a positive impact on the Obama Presidency.

You know they do have more in common than not. People disagree all the time, but still work together, and put out great things.

Posted by: citizen1961 | November 15, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse





Let's see Obama's birth certificate - why is there such a discussion about it ?? SHOW IT NOW.

Clearly you nuts are hiding something.

The document on the internet is the same document issued by Hawaii for births outside the country - so that document DOES NOT PROVE that Obama was born in Hawaii - so let's see the birth certificate.

Pretty simple.

Let's see the birth certificate.





Posted by: 37thOSt | November 15, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse





There is something fundamentally wrong with the Obama campaign keeping Ayers held back for the election - and now Ayers comes out and talks - the public deserves to have all the information BEFORE THE ELECTION.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the Obama campaign keeping Rev. Wrigtht held back for the election - and now Wright comes out and talks - the public deserves to have all the information BEFORE THE ELECTION.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the Obama campaign keeping Joe Biden held back for the election - and now Biden comes out and talks - the public deserves to have all the information BEFORE THE ELECTION. - well we all sort of knew he was a nut all along.

GO JOE !!!

Find that Kenyan Birth Certificate yet???





Posted by: 37thOSt | November 15, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

There are easily a dozen more qualified candidates for SOS than Hillary Clinton. If Obama really wants her in the cabinet to keep her close, let it be as Attorney General to clean up the mess in the Justice Sept.

Posted by: khpowell | November 15, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MatthewAvitabile | November 15, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Sec-Defense (kreuz above) makes more sense for HRC given her national defense-related pro-Iraq War stance; Homeland Security also fine, same reason. At either she may provide push back to Biden-Richardson as needed. Richardson, a true bilingual, in STATE brings better gravitas "star power".
Finance-talking heads predict this generation's version of Bretton Woods two-nation meet may be between USA and China. Richardson's resume representing US strategic interests in the UN and the Americas is very strong. Clintons' legacy & business ties to China, mixed at best, nix HRC at State for this.
Supreme Court Justice, UK ambassador also good HRC placement options, IMHO.

Posted by: gloria1234 | November 15, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Hello, from VA.

Same thinking in this state. Clear the decks.

O was elected to bring about CHANGE, not THE SAME. Let's not revisit the 90s with a re-run of Travelgate, Troopergate, Whitewater, Dolly Kyle Browning, and V. Foster. Let's avoid the annoying drama of speculating whether Bill will disclose to O-Nation the donors to his "library" and identify his various foreign "business deals." Let's keep it: no drama Obama.

It would appear the Hillarian stunt of falsely reporting (through Hillarians Andrea Mitchell and George Stephanopoulos) that HRC was offered the Secretary of State job on Thursday has backfired big time.

The NY Times reporting today kind of implies that the heroes of O-Nation such as Susan Rice, Gregory B. Craig, and Bill Richardson are probably pushing back HARD on the idea of the top diplomatic job going to the most polarizing and divisive political figure since Governor George Corley Wallace.

"Hello from Kentucky!

Here is my two cents concerning our Pres. Elect's upcoming choices for SOS, top cabinet posts and foreign policy officials for America in these historic times...

If true change is coming under this administration, wouldn't it be best if our New President selects officals who are not remnants of old policies? No matter which policital party they are members of?

Retreating back to the "safety" of former polictical power-houses who have run their course truly keeps this country in its past. Change of any kind will be hindered by not plotting an entirely new path for our Great Country.

Real change may be better served in clearing the decks of all old ideas, theories and practices.

Thanks for letting me speak.

Rebecca Hatcher
Bowling Green Ky

Posted by: rah-sdh | November 15, 2008 1:33 PM"

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 15, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Hello from Kentucky!

Here is my two cents concerning our Pres. Elect's upcoming choices for SOS, top cabinet posts and foreign policy officials for America in these historic times...

If true change is coming under this administration, wouldn't it be best if our New President selects officals who are not remnants of old policies? No matter which policital party they are members of?

Retreating back to the "safety" of former polictical power-houses who have run their course truly keeps this country in its past. Change of any kind will be hindered by not plotting an entirely new path for our Great Country.

Real change may be better served in clearing the decks of all old ideas, theories and practices.

Thanks for letting me speak.

Rebecca Hatcher
Bowling Green Ky

Posted by: rah-sdh | November 15, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It's really exciting to think of Hillary and Bill working on the Middle East 41 year albatross. It seems to be our greatest international issue of the history of the US. If she would like to be President in 2016, she could have a lot of it worked out and we would have a more peaceful planet by far. It would take huge amounts of courage.

If she doesn't have such ambitions, it certainly would be extraordinary and wonderful to have her as a member of the Supreme Court.

Posted by: rangjung | November 15, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I think Hillary would make an excellent Secretary of State and I would choose her over Bill Richardson any time. During the primary debates, it was clear that Hillary had a more realistic foreign policy than any of the other candidates and represents a moderate yet, hawkish approach to issues on the international stage. For all of you naive liberals out there who want to capitulate on every security issue through koombyya talks with world leaders for the false promise of peace, you will be sadly disappointed with this pick if it happens. For me it restores trust in Obama on his weakest issue, foreign policy.
As for the Obama lover clinton bashers.....shut up already. I've been listenting and reading your disparaging blogs on Clinton for the past year. The election is over, Clinton did all she could to get Obama elected (as I knew she would), and I really don't think that there is a problem between Obama and Clinton at all. Are die-hard Obama supporters going to heed the call and transcend political divisivness, or are these the true colors of Obama surrogates who have been and will continue to inject divisivness into poltics today?
Hillary alleged offer shows Obama is choosing a more aggressive foreign policy than the naive pacifist liberals would like, but it would not be the cowboy gun toting, bellicose chest pounding foreign policy that the neoconservatives like. It has elements of both, but is deficient to the vice of the extremes on both spectrums. Obama is making some good choices here.
It is quite similar to Lincoln offering cabinet spots to his political rivals. Not to keep his enemies close (as you wannabe Machiavellian pundits wish to assert) but to bridge the divides and heal our country, so that we can be strong to face the challenges ahead. If Obama supporters want to continue to bash Hillary or mitigate Obama's sound cabinet choices through a false machaivelllian strategy, then perhaps these Obama supporters should have stayed home last Tuesday and found another fad to get into to.

Posted by: PeteIlly1 | November 15, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Clinton would be a great Sec of State; Napolitano Atty Gen; Kennedy EPA; Defense Clark...

Let's put some truly qualified people in.

Posted by: ScienceNerd | November 15, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I trust Obama to make the best decisions. Hillary has many qualifications as noted in many of these posts. However, following are several cons to consider:

First, if part of the job of SoS is 'managing bureaucracy' then Clinton may not be best if her campaign is any evidence of her management skills.

Second, a huge consideration is vetting. Obama has created a 63 point questionnaire for anyone hired in his administration. I've read it (pdf online) and Bill Clinton's foreign contacts and investments and donor list to his Library may not be something they want to disclose.

Third, duties of Joe Biden (strong foreign policy credentials), who gets to select the National Security Council (Advisor) and other individuals subordinate to SoS.

Fourth, I'm sure Hillary is negotiating what she wants as a prerequisite to accepting the offer. I don't like deal making but I guess it's a reality in politics.

Fifth, Hillary would not be able to go back to the Senate, could no longer do fundraising (pay off her debt) or have the advantage of her many followers for a future career position.

All this is speculation right now. We will know soon.

Posted by: SharonAustinTx | November 15, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

At the risk of seeming gratuitous, I'd add to my previous comment that we should not expect Obama to avoid "the headaches" that supposedly come from enlisting the politically powerful in his administration. Unlike his predecessor, he is neither incurious nor abrupt; his behavior during this transition reflects that of the famous "Sphinx of Hyde Park." I suspect that, as with FDR, he will move with surprising speed and alacrity upon his inaugeration.

Posted by: thewolf1 | November 15, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I think this focus on "two-fers" and competing Obama-Clinton camps misses the point. Obama is attempting to assemble the most politically powerful administration since the New Deal, and that will require maintaining a fine system of checks and balances among the individuals selected. Of those named thus far (Biden, Clinton and Emmanuel), two points are clear: Each brings to office a high level of skill and competence and a hard-earned political base; none has a superior call on the support of the President in selecting and implementing the eventual policies of an Obama Administration. Selecting Clinton for State sets the bar very high for other nominations.

Posted by: thewolf1 | November 15, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Hillary as SOS will split the Obama administration right down the middle. You will have the Obama people vs the Hillary people. At each other's throats 24 X 7, always trying to undermine the efforts of the other side, aided by a media which worships conflict. The Richardson choice provides resume and loyalty without these
headaches. It's a no-brainer.

Posted by: CsueW | November 15, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

HRC-Offered-State-job-on-Thursday story BOGUS, NY Times.

As many suspected, including Keith Olbermann and countless posters, the story HRC was "offered" the job on Thursday was 100% bogus, according to the New York Times. (This of course doesn't she won't ultimately get the job. But clearly she doesn't have it yet.)

Apparently it was a manufactured story pushed by long-time media Hilliarians, George Stephanopoulos and Andrea Mitchell. One telltale sign the story was dubious was when Mitchell's sourcing for the story was downgraded yesterday (amlost as soon as as it came from her mouth)from "two Obama aides" to "two Democratic officials. And you knew something wasn't right when not a single Obama official would confirm the story. (Journalism 101: That's never a good thing.)

This false narrative on the SoS job reminds us of the bogus story pushed by media Hillarians after the primaries that HRC was being offered the vp job (when we now know she was NEVER on any O list of vp candidates at anytime).

HRC BEING TESTED? One theory is 44 was cleverly testing HRC: have a general conversation with HRC about the job -- no offer, no specifics -- and see where she goes with it. Will she keep O's confidence or violate it by leaking a Bosnia-sniper-fire type story to media Hilliarians that she got the job? If it was a way of 44 testing the integrity and loyalty of HRC, HRC sadly got a "No grade. Incomplete. Please see registar for possible reenrollment in O's 2d term."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 15, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I am thrilled with the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State. She is a powerful leader with the strength and will to forward the President's agenda. I'm all for it. Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama for considering seriously this possibility!

Posted by: eurotom | November 15, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Niverville, those are interesting points. If Hillary is already making turf demands, that should be reason for Obama to reconsider. She is too power-hungry. I don't know what posessed Obama to want to offer her a position, she isn't team player and never will be. The Clintons only answer to themselves.

Posted by: RealChoices | November 15, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Since I last posted here I have become a convert to HRC from Chris Hill.

SecState has three jobs: get money from Congress, manage bureaucracy, and be a diplomat. I had rated the latter two jobs as more important in 2009 earlier. On further investigation, it appears that Condi Rice has not been able to get Congress to fund the Foreign Service sufficiently and job one is paramount for 2009. HRC should have the necessary relationships in Congress to get the needed funding.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 15, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

i can't think of anything more appropriate than to offer the post of sec of state to sen . clinton. there is no doubt about her sterling qualifications and hard work for the country.

the cons that you have enumerated are rehashed anti-clinton talking points that have no merit. this lady is a team player and her world view is similar to obama's. and she has a better grasp of EVERYTHING compared to obama, or anybody else for that matter.

Posted by: mikel1 | November 15, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Let us all remember... and realize where we are...and what is at stake.

Hillary and John M. on this planet.

They know what is at stake.

If this Obama team will be a lifetime achievement to be a part of it.

If it fails...they know... none of this will matter...

that is where we are.

and I am fairly sure...that isn't overstating where we are as a world now.

It may have taken 8 years to flush this out...but now the next 8 are going to be make it or break it ... as a planet and a species.

do you all not get that?

Posted by: klondike2 | November 15, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I love all the people who say..."as someone who is familiar with state" and "it needs a manager"

obviously don't really know state...

the state department has an infrastructure...

it has organization already there...

the Secretary of State needs to be the face and voice in diplomacy and negotiations first

There is no one...

I repeat "no one" you can name that will bring the 'heft" to the position that it would need in this crazy time than Hillary Clinton

the whole "Secretary of State needs to be a good manager" bologne as a reason to not pick well

just plain a base level....ugh

I was not a Hillary fan during the primary...but there is absolutely no worthy argument against her being the most qualified and effective person to pick for this role...for Obama.

Kerry Rishardson and the others... do not even come close to the effect of Hillary Clinton walking in on behalf of Obama and the nation to that diplomatic negotiating table.

and any argument otherwise is just simplified stupidity...or warping cynicism.

Posted by: klondike2 | November 15, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Richardson has skill , integrity and is a team player.

Posted by: Mimp1 | November 15, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

As someone who is very familiar with the State Department, I have to say that putting HRC in the top slot would be a terrible idea. What the Department needs is a competent manager to handle a global staff operating in difficult locations around the world. Race, gender or other personal factors have been proven to be largely irrelevant over the past two decades at State. Also, the Secretary is served by an entire department of international policy wonks, so not having much expertise in the field is no drawback -- just look at how successful Colin Powell was in the job. But being an incompetent, or at best an unproven manager/motivator of large and diverse political organizations is a recipe for disaster in our foreign policy. I fear Hillary would also bring other disastrous managers from the Clinton Administration, such as Richard Holbrooke -- and there is surely no Foreign Service Officer who has worked for him and kept a positive view of his managerial competence.

Posted by: lynyrdbyrnstyn | November 15, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

These are the things we are concerned about with Clinton:
1) She's already leaked that she has "demands" concerning Biden's intervention. Biden knows more about foreign policy than Clinton does; he's a reason we supported Obama.
2) We read Team of Rivals too, but there's a significant difference between hiring your arch rival in a pre-television, pre-radio, pre-Internet age as Lincoln did, and doing so now...particularly in Hillary's case; she's never hesitated to put anyone who got in her way under the bus, and she loves drawing attention to herself. We'd far rather see someone somber and statesmanlike such as Kerry in that office, or someone truly skilled at negotiating, such as Richardson. Foreign affairs is worrying enough without adding Clintonic psychodrama to the mix.
3) She would be loyal in public but would bring out the knives in private. And she would leak.
4) A post-surgical Bill is a wild(er) card.
5) She will write another memoir, again starring an airbrushed version of herself. It will not be a paean to Obama, that's for sure. Does our new president really want her to write as a cabinet insider?
6) We keep hearing "Give her Health/Human Services," but the irony is, she wasn't effective when she had this portfolio. Most of us who supported Obama did so because of his great gifts, but also because we thought he could finally clean up the health care mess she made.
7) Hillary is in the best place now. She is a public figure, enjoys a lot of attention, and can't be fired. We think that although many have said Obama couldn't fire her, he could...but it would be messy and polarizing, and he doesn't need that.
8) Baaaaad idea. There are better places to park her if she must work in the administration.

Posted by: Niverville | November 15, 2008 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Hmm. It's interesting, but I have my doubts. I don't think of her as having any great expertise in foreign relations, or sharing Obama's foreign policy vision.

Also, I'm not sure that she's going to be a good team player. For that (and to acknowledge the generous support that Hispanic Americans gave in this election), I'd say that Richardson would be a great choice.

I can see the benefit in taking Clinton out of the Senate so that she can't try to run the show from there, but... hmm. I don't know, it's a tough choice. It'll be very interesting to see how it plays out.

Posted by: Hermitage171 | November 15, 2008 5:36 AM | Report abuse

It´s a brilliant choice for all the "cons" people mentioned.
First, as a Senator from New York, the Dem governor gets to pick a new one if she leaves, one likely to be more attuned to BOs ideas. BO wins.
Second, Bill will have to get all his dirty financial laundry out there which would compromise HRC if she decides to try to run against BO in 2012. During confirmation hearings, all this will come up, hurting her chances to hurt BO later. BO wins.
Third, she can be fired if she says the wrong thing which would compromise her abillity to run against BO in 2012. BO wins.
Fourth, accepting her into his Cabinet, and making her be HIS spokesperson to the world is a smart, classy thing to do which makes him look the nobler. If she accepts, he wins. If she says no, she appears bitter. He wins.
Fifth, if she accepts, it will probably include a "don´t run in 2012" pledge. BO wins.
Sixth, to see a woman SOS and a Black POTUS sends a remarkably progressive message (while simply a visible one)to the world. BO wins.
Seventh, once out of the Senate (if she accepts) BO sets his own priorities (note her trying to muscle Ted Kennedy to giving up some power re: health care) his own way without her trying to out manoeuver him. He wins again.
Eighth, Bill will have to behave (if she accepts) or he will hurt her chances in 2016. BO thus gets advice (if he needs it) from a former Dem POTUS.
Sounds like a smart move on his part over all.

Posted by: nodozejoze | November 15, 2008 4:42 AM | Report abuse

Hillary is far too egotistical and divisive for such a sensitive job, plus Bill would be a problem. On the other hand, as Attorney General few others could deliver sufficient bloody mindedness needed to transform the regulatory culture [or lack thereof] that we desperately need. The home front needs fixing first before we go soiling more of other people's back yards.
Nicholas Randall

Posted by: nrand | November 15, 2008 4:17 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the comment "don't hire someone you can't fire." Hillary Clinton's big ego is what lost her the primary election and making her Secretary of State won't make her any less egotistical. Don't do it!

Posted by: johnsonc2 | November 15, 2008 2:31 AM | Report abuse

1. Utilizing the Clintons, both of them, in the foreign policy sphere is a brilliant idea worthy of Obama. Not only would HRC provide status and stature to State, Bill would be a real asset as mideast envoy, an area in which he is much loved and admired.
2. About 37th and O. Is the name meant to signify his age, his maturity, or perhaps his IQ?

Posted by: hsher | November 15, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Hiring Bill Richardson as the Secretary of State in the Obama administration is a political imperative. Consolidating the Hispanic support in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Florida will be critical for Obama in the 2012 election. Hispanics know their political importance and they resent the kind of treatment they have been receiving in recent years from both political parties, more particularly from the Republicans.

Recall during the Primary when Hillary was trying to destroy Obama politically, how valiantly Gov Bill Richardson and Senator Ted Kennedy provided critical support to Obama. Obama will make a big mistake if he passes Gov Richardson for the New York's junior senator Hillary Clinton. Hillary is secretive, politically selfish, and uncontrolable; she lacks discipline and her political instincts are not consistent with Obama's. Both Hillary and Richardon were interviewed by obama but Richardson was silent and Hillary made a press release about it. This is the difference and it tells a lot about these two candidates. Besides, we expected an obama administration that would be more idealistic, humanistic and pragmatic at the same time. But what we have started seeing is same old, same old, and we are wondering.

Posted by: biswashira | November 14, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Those who mistake the mindlessly brutish ways of bullies and thugs for strength and courage are baffled by the strength of character and quiet confidence of Barack Obama. They are eager to brand him weak. How pitifully weak and powerless bullies like George Bush and Dick Cheney are can be seen by the current state of the Union. Hillary Clinton and John McCain made the mistake and paid the price. The truly strong and righteous are not afraid to engage their adversaries or even too seek honorable peace with them.

Posted by: holywoodog | November 14, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I've been pretty strongly opposed to Clinton at various times over the last two years, but I have to say I like this idea compared to the alternatives.

Biden would have been the obvious choice, but he's the VP.

Richardson came off as kind of a goofball in the primaries. Interior? Energy (again)? CTO?

Kerry? Hmmm. Maybe SecDef.

Clinton is the best available talent for this position. Good way to bring Bill into the brain trust as well. She'll need to walk back the Russia and Iran comments.

Posted by: Nissl | November 14, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

This would be an utterly mad idea. Clinton said that Obama was not qualified to conduct foreign policy and take a call at 3 in the morning. Obama would be agreeing with her and saying he needed the Clintons to conduct the policy of his Administration.

The person who should be de facto Secretary of State for the Middle East is Joe Biden. Richardson would be a perfect addition. He has Latin America, experience with all the countries of the UN, and has the cabinet experience for energy policy.

Posted by: jhough1 | November 14, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I would give her the Health and Human Services post, not state. I think it is highly unfortunate that Obama has to cow tow to the Clinton's. It is a brand new day in Washington. As a Democrat, I am hoping that in Obama, we have a decent and honorable standard bearer. There was a time that I loved the Clintons,but time and time again they have proven to me that they are out for their own political success and glory. I am sorry, but its time to move on. They have had their chance in the sun now let's let Obama have his chance. Plus, rule number 1, never hire someone who could possibly get more headlines than you. This is Robert Gates is perfect for his job and his role unlike Rumsfeld. He is hugely respected, pragmatic, but low keyed. He is not making ridiculous headlines for himself. Plus, I would agree with John Bolton (for the very 1st time), don't hire someone that you can't fire. Once again I can see the impulse in hiring Hilary, but I just have this BAD feeling that President Obama will live to regret it.

Posted by: kswsting | November 14, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I was against making her VP because I didn't think, even if they got along flawlessly, that the ticket would work in a media sense (the speculation about how they were getting along would drown out everything else constantly); plus, having a skilled and powerful figure in a job that has no defined duties would have been problematic.

That's not an issue with the Secretariat of State; it gives her a clear portfolio. She's more than qualified to do the job, and would certainly be recognized internationally as a heavy in negotiations.

So long as they both conclude it will work (on Clinton's part, she'd need assurance that she would actually be the #1 advisor on foreign policy; the likes of Colin Powell and Cordell Hull have chafed in the role), I think it would be a good idea.

Posted by: SeanC1 | November 14, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

A position like Sec. Of State put HRC in a perfect position in Obama's administration. This promotion gives her the experience in the international community. Many critics ask how she would stand up against world leaders. Sec. of State would position herself for a strong run in 2016.

Posted by: BigDrew2 | November 14, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton is a brilliant, experienced, and pragmatic politician with a wealth of knowledge and a very strong persona. She would be a fine choice for Secretary of State. What Bill Richardson brings in any of those areas is nil. His credentials do not qualify him. I will count on Obama to make the choice on merit and disregard asinine and judgmental headlines like "Crazy? or Crazy Like a Fox?" which are completely unfair, loaded, and goading, as they pose a no-win question where neither answer is a good one. Are you a witch or did you drown? Gee, thanks. Shame on Cillizza for the set up.

Posted by: lhen1 | November 14, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

What better way to keep an eye on a once and future foe than to offer her a seat at the table right inside your tent? And the collateral benefit is even more sumptuous: the move neatly neutralizes her brilliant but scheming husband.

I knew our new leader was brilliant, but now I see he's crazy brilliant ... like Machiavelli Light.

Posted by: holywoodog | November 14, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Nice list of Pros and Cons but above all this is a very savvy political move whether or not she accepts or declines the job. Shades of Abraham Lincoln. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer. Bring in your top political rivals and keep them close (but still under your thumb to a certain extent) by having them report to you and serve at your pleasure. If they try to freelance you can put them in their place or dump them if necessary.
Plus taking this job would probably put an end to Clinton's White House aspirations.

Hillary has a bully pulpit in the Senate where she can still make waves for Obama while Bill can continue to do as he darn well pleases. But neither one will have the same latitude if Clinton is Secretary of State. Making her Secretary of State also effectively neutralizes the leaders of Obama's Democratic opposition and ensures their support for his nomination and re-election in 2012. She would love the job but I question whether Bill will go along for the following reasons;

1. Will Bill undergo the vetting process?
Given the potential negative impact on his future income this is very problematic.
2. Will the Clintons give up on 2012?
This precludes Clinton from running in 2012 should Obama run into problems in his first term and become unpopular w/voters.
3. What will the Clintons do in 2016?
It's unlikely Clinton would serve more than 4-6 years so even though this job will burnish her foreign policy credentials it doesn't do much else to position her to run for President in 2016 when she will also be 69 years old.

Posted by: claffiteau | November 14, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is capable of anything she puts her mind to. Her campaign was destroyed by her husband's people.

Bill, as a person, is real trouble and he is and has been her nemesis.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 14, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Humm.. maybe Clinton really IS "likable enough" to Obama.

Posted by: tarheeler | November 14, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, 37thandO, here's a question for you: Why have you changed your troll handle from 37thandOstreet(alley), to DorchesterandCongress, to now 37thandO? What's up with that?

If you are so fascinated by Ayers, Wright, and Biden, would you like some wikipedia sites for more information?

By the way, Professor William Ayers had an excellent interview the other day on ABC; he made Chris Cuomo look like a total Hannity-type fool. Ayers made the point to Cuomo, repeatedly, that the electorate showed it didn't give a hoot about Ayers, Wright, and the other McCarthyite guilt-by-association smears. Turns out Ayers was in fact just someone in O's neighborhood (not a close personal friend), not that it really matters, because it doesn't.

As Jeremiah Wright might say, any further comments from you, Mr. 37thandOAlley, are "invalidated."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 14, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse





There is something fundamentally wrong with the Obama campaign keeping Ayers held back for the election - and now Ayers comes out and talks - the public deserves to have all the information BEFORE THE ELECTION.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the Obama campaign keeping Rev. Wrigtht held back for the election - and now Wright comes out and talks - the public deserves to have all the information BEFORE THE ELECTION.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the Obama campaign keeping Joe Biden held back for the election - and now Biden comes out and talks - the public deserves to have all the information BEFORE THE ELECTION. - well we all sort of knew he was a nut all along.

GO JOE !!!

Find that Kenyan Birth Certificate yet???





Posted by: 37thOSt | November 14, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

A possibility...we hope --

Who knows but maybe O was testing HRC.

Maybe he mentioned Sec. of State to HRC in their Thursday meeting in general terms (no offer) and then waited to see whether she would violate his confidence by leaking an exaggerated version of their conversation to her media groupies (see A. Mitchell) which she did -- about five secs. after the meeting. Leaking, of course, is a capital crime in O-Nation.

Again, the Hill as SoS story may be proven true, but it's odd NONE of the sourcing is from ANY official on the President-elect's transition team. It's all coming from HRC's media plants.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 14, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Con: No foreign policy experience.

Posted by: cjenns | November 14, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

The people saying that hiring any of hte Clintons or anyone who worked for them "isn't change", they didn't understand what Obama mean by "change"

He meant changing the tone in washington, and getting rid of the drama, because that gets in the way of doing the job.

Change means pullingn people together and bridging differences, not pouring rocket fuel on the flames of conflict.

We've got a lot broken in this country and every second we spend on egging each other on or spreading nonsense gets in the way of us fixng them.

Change means getting the best people we can find in America to come to Washington and work in the Whitehouse and work as hard as they can to do everything they possibly can to help the President help us fix our nation.

That's the kind of "Change" Obama wants to bring.

That's the kind of Change we need.

Posted by: svreader | November 14, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is a pro.
She will serve honorably.
Put Bill at the UN.

Posted by: JohnDoug | November 14, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Why not just make a big effort to help her get rid of her campaign debt?

Posted by: RedBird27 | November 14, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama was given by voters a mandate to effect change, not to maintain status quo, especially in key places like the ME, South America, UN. He should not be swayed by any special interest group on his choice.

A Secretary of State is a diplomat and requires tact. It hasn't been too long ago when people used the word 'divisive' to describe Hillary. Maybe a lot of us forgot, but I'm confident that Obama hasn't!

Posted by: KT11 | November 14, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

There's a point about Obama that I think a lot of people are missing, that's critical when thinking about him and Hillary and him and Bill.

Obama isn't afraid of anybody.

He's not going to feel threatened by having other high-power people around, because he's confident in his abilities, an he knows that he's the most powerful boss on earth.

There isn't a person in America that wouldn't stand up and say "yes, sir" or "yes, Mr. President", if they got a real call from the Whitehouse.

The other reason why there's no reason to be afraid of the big, bad, Clintons, is that they're not big and bad, they're Loyal and American.

There is no way in the world any Clinton would undercut the policies of the US.

There is no way in the world any Clinton would undercut the President of the United States in any way when working for them.

Both Clintons are loyal Americans.

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is a brilliant idea.

Bill as "Special Envoy for Peace", then sent to negotiate peace in the mid-east, would be a bold and brilliant move.

Posted by: svreader | November 14, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Hillary-as-SoS STORY MAY BE BOGUS --

Just saw some of Olbermann. This story may be bogus or at least exaggerated.

Keith seemed very skeptical about the Andrea Mitchell-driven reporting and would only stand by what he called the "minimalist" story that O and Hill met Thursday. KO was not yet buying into the storyline HRC had actually been offered the job (even though it appeared on a scrawl at the bottom of the screen). Also it has been pointed out the sourcing is thin and shrinking: NBC's Andrea Mitchell's "two Obama insiders" have been downgraded to "two Democratic officials."

Note to O-Nation hero Patti Solis Doyle, there's still hope this is a nightmare and O-nation will wake up just fine.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 14, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

There seems to be a sense of coercion behind this whole Hillary Clinton matter. He must consider her. She's the best. The old olive branch routine. The field of choices is narrow. People want her. But, a signature point is being ignored: This is totally Obama's choice The only thing he must do is govern well.

Posted by: gaystaggo | November 14, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse










Posted by: 37thOSt | November 14, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Cillizza is right on the money.

There is that old saying, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer".

But if Hillary is in the State Dept., Obama can't control 1) what she says & 2) how she says it. She will pursue her own foreign policy agenda, not the Administration's agenda.

Better to put her at Health & Human Services. Then she's in the camp, but not in such a dangerous place.

Posted by: DenverGal | November 14, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Additional food for thought: if she doesn't work out as Sec of State and Obama needs to fire her, it could cause backlash among her voters that reluctantly voted for Obama on Nov 4th. However, they seem to have gotten over Obama not even vetting her for VP so the backlash may not be that severe.

Posted by: abohn3 | November 14, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

At this point, why even meet with either Clinton? As stated, Obama owes them nothing. Plus, they do represent the old-time insider. As it is now, any rogue behavior would come off as nasty and petulant. Going against the Obama administration would rebound upon them most negatively. But, from inside the Obama cabinet? They're too unstable, too much their own people who are running on their own agendas. Now, how about Attorney General? Hillary can handle the job, she'd be aggressive and can unify a disenchanted Justice Department. Also, it's a position in which she could grease her own wheels to everyone's advantage.

Posted by: gaystaggo | November 14, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Considering the campaigning Bill and Hillary did for Obama, it's fairly safe to assume some sort of deal was made. Supreme Court Justice (not in a million years) and Majority Leader (the Senate just doesn't work that way) are pipe dreams so my armchair-pundit guess is that it was either a prominent cabinet post or a pledge from Obama not to run in 2012 if he lost. I think she would make a better SoS than Kerry, and as Chris mentioned, the Clintons having an actual stake in making this administration succeed can't be bad. That being said, I'd still prefer Richardson for the position...

Posted by: CohtR | November 14, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Amen, brother TomB1. Couldn't have said it better...44 will need all our prayers if he lets HRC and the Hillarians inside the walls of his Administration....This is some kind of nightmare. We'll wake up soon, right?
" Mr. President Elect,

Take a breath. These two are not what you've promised us or what you need. Read on, please:

1. She's disorganized and conflict habituated. I know you've had your hands full of late, but take an hour to read the accounts of the Clinton campaign debacle.

2. He's a narcissistic exploitation artist who all but called you boy; a classic character disorder out of the Richard Nixon school, but with charm. You get one you get 'em both.

3. Extending and olive branch is one thing, transplanting them into your garden is another.

4. You need integrity in that office, not a proven disappointment from the not too distant past.

5. You are so admirably decent you may find it hard to grasp just how nasty the Clintons are. They are not good people.

6. If you really meant all that stuff about going past partisanship you have to remember that to many of us bringing her in is the same as pushing us out.

Not saying your choices are easy, but I am with you even though I don't agree much with many of you policies.

Throughout your meteoric rise one thing has remained clear: you are a very bright, high integrity guy and that is what our country needs now more than anything. In fact, that is why you rose meteoricaly. Events will inevitably muddy things up, don't stir the dirt yourself.

Yes, Barack, you can.

I am closing with a prayer:

The Lord Be With You.

And bless you. And give you the strength to believe in yourself even as you are surrounded by those who would, in the name of success and necessity, coax you into cynicism and self betrayal.


Posted by: TomB1 | November 14, 2008 3:51 PM"

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 14, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

You can't be serious!!!!!!! Noooooooo.

There are no pros only CONS. The pros you cite are either cons or non-factors.

1. The gravitas argument is a fiction created by HRC, Inc. with no basis in fact. No nation is giving HRC a second thought except maybe Bosnia, which Hill risked enemy sniper fire to visit. 2. "Two for the price of one" is more like two headaches for the price of one: Bill and Hill will administer a tag team pounding on 44. They'll run amok over at Foggy Bottom with no adult supervision. 3. Olive Branch? O didn't do anything to her beside win an election fair and square. HRC needs to apologize to O for the months of personal attacks and race-baiting (which ironically laid down the game plan Mac pursued against O in the general election).

The further cons of Hill-as-O's SoS could fill an encyclopedia: unhinged narcissism, duplicity, hidden agendas, an army Harpies in the administration (maybe Carmella Lewis as State chief of staff and Harriet Christian as HRC's personal assistant), lack of experience, and unending personal baggage (Troopergate, Travelgate, V. Foster, Whitewater, Dolly Kyle Browning, "that woman, Miss Lewinsky," and on and on).

That said, in fairness to Mrs. Wm. J. Clinton, we always maintained she was on O's "long list" for Secretary of State... albeit after such standout candidates as Paul Reubens, "Mrs." Billie Jean King, Jean Harris, John Wayne Gacy, Ernest Borgnine, and Richard Speck.

We in O-Nation have no idea what 44 is thinking (but do not challenge his judgment). However, one can only imagine (if the HRC as SoS rumor is true) the feelings of disbelief, betrayal, and even TERROR being felt by legendary O-Nation heroes like Patti Solis Doyle, Claire McCaskill, and Bill Richardson, who are all in the top 10 or so on the official Hill/Bill (phone-book-sized (remember it includes the entire State of Iowa)) "enemies list."

Let's hope this is just a hoax -- just some media-invented junk like the tale that Hillary was going to be O's vice president (she in fact was never considered at any time or place) or Mac staffer Ashley Todd's sad encounter with an imaginary black male attacker.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 14, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

This would be a disaster. He would bring the Clinton baggage to his administration. All the Clinton Foundation scandals will come out. Clinton has accepted A LOT of money from countries and people that would embarrass Obama.

Obama does not want Clinton. He has an extremely disciplined team. They leak what they want out there. They want the information out there that Clinton is being seriously considered but it is pure pretense so that he does not get the grief he got from the VP pick.

This guy is smart as a fox but not for considering Clinton. He is a fox for making us all believe hat she is an option.

Posted by: RoseL1 | November 14, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

TomB1 (November 14, 2008 3:51 PM), excellent post. I wish those words could find their way to the President Elect's ear.

Posted by: B2O2 | November 14, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

There's an interesting twist on this that may be an additional reason Obama is considering Hillary.

The Secretary of State job is a lot about personality and name recognition, as well as smarts and technical competence at the particulars of the job.

The Clinton name is still "magic" to lots of Americans and arround the world.

Bill Clinton had an incredibly successful presidency and almost all Americans had a much better quality of life than they do now.

Anti-Clinton Bashers, whether they're attacking Bill or Hillary, are usually repeating Rush Limbaugh, whether they know it or not.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are amazing people.

They're two of the best of the best that America has to offer itself and the world.

Hillary Clinton would be great as Secretary of State.

Posted by: svreader | November 14, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I am happy to think that Hillary would be willing to serve in any capacity whatever. And, who could, or would, refuse to serve as Sec. of State when asked by a President? I hope it is true that he has offered the post and I hope she will accept.
If she becomes the Sec. of State, it will show the world that the United States is serious about a lot of things: human rights, the rule of law, continuity during a time of utter fall-down and fall-out after the Republican debacle, and a capacity for true reconciliation which we provide by EXAMPLE.
She brings advantages beyond calculation because she is already a beloved figure around the world. Not to mention the fact that she already knows, and has had experience, with practically all the countries of the world. She will be received with love, admiration, and authority.
Obama is absolutely brilliant to select her for this post. He needs what she brings, and ONLY what she brings, and so does the world.

Posted by: cms1 | November 14, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Don't do it Hillary....stay clear of this administration....and keep your credibility to run your own Oval Office.

Just an observation...
The Photo at the top of the article displays a man with power and control issues, and a woman really wishing she didn't have to affiliate with it.

Posted by: dottydo | November 14, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

It's brilliant. She's too hawkish compared to Obama: put her in a position where it's good to be tough, but the JOB is diplomacy and seeking peace, and success is defined in terms of getting people talking, not fighting or stonewalling each other.

She'd be a disaster in Defense. That's the place for a tough dove. I still like Powell for Defense, although a slow transition keeping Gates for a while is OK, I guess.

Posted by: martimr1 | November 14, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Beyond obvious necessary minimum qualifications -- intellect, discipline, decisiveness, vision -- a Secretary of State needs two other qualities in order best to serve the country.

First, she needs to understand that she leads an organization of several thousand bright, self-sacrificing patriots. Our embassies need adequate resources; our FSOs need adequate compensation and appreciation. Most of all, our diplomats need policies they as smart people can get behind (and not have to be threatened or bribed to staff) and a leader who understands successful foreign policy takes thousands of brains and hands. Recognition, planning, and management attention from the Secretary can not be limited to a small coterie sitting back in the limelight in D.C. [She also needs to insist that her assistant secretaries and DASs, likewise, have at least as much experience managing people -- not only ideas, but people -- as a Little League coach.]

Second, she needs to have a close and confident relationship with the President.

To take two recent secretaries, Colin Powell was an excellent example of the first and Condileeza Rice, apparently, the second. Study what Secretary Powell did to win the hearts and minds of his rank-and-file. Morale at State went up for once under a new secretary (at least until our diplomatic corps realized he was being set up and shut out).

Our diplomats are professionals who are able to suffer through, and rise above, all kinds of mismanagement. But should they have to? Is that good for the country?

Let's forget political considerations for a moment and remember a Secretary, to be successful, has to manage two all-important relationships: with her own people and with the President. I'm agnostic as to whom President-elect Obama chooses, but I care deeply about having an effective leader heading our diplomatic efforts.

possum_pouch is the only post so far speaking my language.

Posted by: MEppinger | November 14, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

She would be a much better choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. For all the reasons in the article--pros and cons.

Posted by: map529 | November 14, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

She would be a much better choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. For all the reasons in the article--pros and cons.

Posted by: map529 | November 14, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

a gutsy move.

might just surprise everyone.

Posted by: wpost4112 | November 14, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"also this allows Hillary to be in line for a supreme court job."

Where does this Hillary for Supreme Court thing keep coming from? She has never been a judge and has done nothing to indicate that she is a constitutional expert.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 14, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

To the Hillary-haters --

Friends come and go but enemies accumulate.

The smarter you are, the more you figure out how to get things you want without making enemies, or even a fuss.

Obama and Hillary made up and renewed their friendship a long time ago and then Hillary went all-out, worked tirelessly, and put in a tremendous effort to help get Obama elected.

We need the best people we can find.

Hillary Clinton is in that category.

Republicans want to cause as much division in the Democratic Party as possible.

Don't fall for it!

Agree or disagree on policy, but not on the integrity of people in our own party.

Not after the electon is over and decided.

We need to pull together like we never have before, or we won't get anything passed.

If we don't, the Republicans will be able to block everything Obama tries to do, and we'll be stuck with having them running the show yet again.

Hillary's great.

No Democrat should fall for Anti-Clinton Republican propaganda or the people who repeat it or pedal it.

Republicans hate the Clintons because Bill beat them.

Obama wants and needs the strongest and best people in America helping him.

Hillary is one of those people.

President Obama would be wise to take advantage of all the smarts, knowledge, and experience that she has.

Posted by: svreader | November 14, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Although I was/am a Hillary supporter in any election she runs in, I think it would be a mistake for Obama to hire anyone that he will have a problem firing.

Firing Hillary, under any circumstances WILL create an unnecessary PR problem, to say nothing of even more acrimony between Obama and Clintons. It won't be good for Obama and it won't be good for the Democratic party.

Posted by: NeilD | November 14, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse


The media is predictably going ga-ga over a sincere but ultimately shrewd Hillary play by Barack Obama, who, along with his reaching out to John McCain, is out to prove he's a true conciliator in the tradition of his hero, Abe Lincoln.

Bill will never disclose his foundation donor list. To do so would be to raise serious conflict of interest issues, should Hillary become SecState. Bill's consulting contracts pose yet another hurdle.

But by asking Hillary if she would accept the position if offered, Obama builds up her stature while putting the onus on the Clintons. She knows she and Bill would have to be vetted. The only logical conclusion is for her to politely decline the offer in exchange for Obama's support for her to become Majority Leader, along with a later chit to become the next Supreme Court appointee.

Surely the media must realize this... but they need a story this week that's not connected to the financial crisis, which political reporters generally would like to avoid because it involves numbers and other complicated stuff...


Not as long as government-supported extrajudicial "vigilante injustice" targeting squads are "gang stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:



Posted by: scrivener50 | November 14, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Crazy or Crazy Like a Fox? - love your article - concise and precise except the valid point made already is that on the Con side you perhaps should have added the issue of "Change - is it or is it not?"

You know symbolism is powerfully important to inspire and leads to hope. Substance in implementation is what is needed or the failed symbolism leads to cynicism and despair - and backlash. Still born hope is the worst of all.

It is intriguing - as a boy an old timer when overlooking cliffs and valleys on a hunt for foxes said to me "The male fox he runs fast in a straight line thinking that by speed he can outrun a bullet - mark his course, pick your spot and 'bang' he dead'" "The female she runs zig-zag, side slips, doubles back - so like chess work out her next move - pick the spot for the set up and 'bang' she dead" "Remember - always work out first whether it be male or female before you decide to shoot".

But he was talking about foxes wasn't he?

You know as an outsider my respect for American style democracy has jumped a 1000% watching this entire process - the other side of the equation is that overseas countries will do their own intelligence work on whoever is picked as secretary of state - thats the check position on this appointment isn't it?

Posted by: wandererfromoz | November 14, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I think Bill Clinton would be the better pick as secretary of state. He should be able to serve in that role. He just becomes exempt in the line of succession.

also this allows Hillary to be in line for a supreme court job.

Posted by: djp98374 | November 14, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

The saying goes: "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."

At state, Clinton will have to be a team player. She is already aquainted with the major world leaders and certainly has credibility on the Middle East issue.

In the Senate, she is a free-lancer and potentially an in-party opponent to Obama's plan to have the rest of the medically uninsured covered through the private insurance industry, albeit with much more regulation.

Obama will look to Montana's Max Baucus, Senate Finance Chair for leadership in health care. Baucus has a health care plan close to Obama's. Baucus is a pragmatic senator, who is not tightly ideologically bound, with good connections across the aisle. He's probably the best bet to getting an Obama health program past a filibuster threat.

Hillary has no major issue differences with Obama on foreign policy. It is a higher profile for Hillary than remaining junior Senator from New York. She is capable of doing a good job at State. So I think it's a win-win for Obama and Clinton.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | November 14, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I love Hillary BUT NO. Give her almost anything else but not sec. state.

The one diff between obama and clinton during primaries was how to engage the world i.e. 'talking with your enemies', Iraq etc. Which attracted a lot us to Obama. He (to me) was not better than Hillary in any other way, just that one differentiator.

Now what will be Obama's policy on - 'talking with your enemies'?

Make her sec. defense after a year or something else, but NO sec state.

Posted by: jj121341234123 | November 14, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton is well qualified to help formulate and get passed health care--in the Senate. Secretary of State, of all things? Why--because of all that airport bullet dodging experience? Because it's be kind to volunteered unnecessary war supporters week?

Posted by: brmaz | November 14, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I think HRC is a good candidate for Sec of State. Why not put her in the cabinet? If Condi Rice can do, so can Hill. Some comments herein suggest that Bill cannot be trusted to have an offical role; but, everyone is a consenting adult on the Obama team. No?

Posted by: rmorris391 | November 14, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

The Free Lance shot is a cheap one and not borne out by any facts. Hillary Clinton worked her butt of for the Obama presidential campaign and stayed on message and on point throughout. She knew who was coming to hear her and she made sure they heard what they wanted to hear; that she still is in their corner. But she never failed to follow with a circle back to the main message: Elect Barack Obama.

As President Obama's Secretary of State, she will do everything in her power to ensure the administration's policy is one she endorses and supports, and then she will work to implement that policy. Strongly, effectively, solidly.

Hated the idea when I first saw it mentioned some weeks back, but it is striking me more and more as the perfect fit all around!

Posted by: 33rdStreet | November 14, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Another con:

Bill's amply-documented tendency to engage in rogue diplomacy under his plethora of consulting contracts.

This raises the intriguing question whether Hillary could even accept the position, given that Obama’s extensive anti-lobbying provisions would likely preclude Bill from conducting his business.

Posted by: j9370 | November 14, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama has to ask himself one question: Can I demand Hillary Clinton's resignation? Because if you cannot fire someone you cannot hire them.

Personally, I see two problems with Hillary Clinton in the cabinet. The first is her husband. As a former President he has prestige and little else. No matter how badly W screwed the pooch, Bill honored the unwritten rule of former Presidents: shut up. You would have to expect him to do the same during an Obama administration UNLESS he thought he was co-Secretary of State. The second problem is Hillary Clinton has no record of administrative ability. As First Lady she mishandled both the kitchen staff and the travel office. Her health care initiative under Bill was not an example of perfect management. And her campaign for the Democratic nomination was nothing short of a disaster. The Secretary of State runs a department of thousands of egos scattered across the globe. There have been rumors of less than stellar management by Rice. Can the State Department really function well with another poor administrator?

Posted by: caribis | November 14, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

We should not forget that Hillary Clinton not only supported the invasion of Iraq, she also gave very bellicose speeches in favor of it. Sound judgment about foreign affairs should be the basic criterion for being chosen as Secretary of State, and Hillary Clinton and on this, Clinton fails. Ms. Clinton is eminently qualified for a number of posts that deal primarily with domestic policy, but foreign policy leadership should go to someone else (of those names being floated so far, I'd go with Richardson).

Posted by: mrosenth1 | November 14, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

PLEASSSSSSSSSSSE, Don't do this, President Obama. She will surely abuse her office and so will her husband.

Posted by: ElRosas | November 14, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

All this talking of governing from the center makes me dizzy...Why should he? Did Bush govern from the center?
My hope is that President Obama will govern from the left, my vote to him wasn't a vote for the center, it was a vote for the left.

Posted by: BFranco | November 14, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

There is WAY too much baggage with Hill and Bill. And there are much better qualified persons out there. This deal has Rahm's fingerprints all over it.
Yes, Mr Obama, stop , take a breath and re-think this one.
How much foreign policy advice are you going to get--Hillary, Bill, Joe and others? You're smart enough and wise enough not to step into the Clinton trap.
Don't let this first "gaffe" be such a BIG one.

Posted by: jmsbh | November 14, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I guess there are as many definitions of change as there are opinions. My definition of change is having qualified people in positions which highlight their abilities. Hillary Clinton certainly would be qualified as SoS. Not only is she well versed in world affairs, but she has a unique way of getting to the nitty gritty of the real issues. (Remember her questions during the Iraqi abuse hearing--"Where was General Miller?" Of course he was the General at Guantanamo(sp?)who created the interrogation abuse and yes he was in Iraq. And not only HRC would be great as SoS, Chuck Hagel would be the person for National Security Advisor.

Posted by: sbvbj | November 14, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

There is no realistic expectation of post-partisan government except with regard to foreign policy. The notion that our disagreements end at the nation's borders and shores is a cherished one, and it is one we cannot afford to dismiss lightly.

In that light, a professional who has worked in every State Dept. since Bush 41 would be a positive step.

Chris Hill for SecState.

Stop messing around with State as a political plum.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 14, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is an inspired choice. Qualified, ready to work from day one, knows the world leaders... what more could you want?

Re vetting: Please. The Clintons were planning for Hillary to run and knew she would be vetted at some point in that process. They will pass.

Re going off the reservation: I don't see anything in Hillary's background to suggest that she'd do that. Just look at how she entered the senate as a "workhorse, not a showhorse".

Posted by: LynnDeanne | November 14, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

KING_OF_ZOUK...for those who don't know you and your "arguments" yet...they will soon recognize your ways...of course, it might take some people a little time to figure out you sign in under other names as well...but thanks for being a direct feed from Faux News, Limbaugh, etc.. and attempting (unsuccessfully) to spread disinformation and right-wing nuttiness...just helps those of us who are intelligent and mentally-centered to stay focused and remember that we need to stay vigilant lest the King (not you, but Bush/Rove) rears his ugly, authoritarian, unintelligent head again...

Posted by: juraski | November 14, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's behavior since conceding the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama has been stellar. Her words and her actions have shown unflinching and unqualified support for Obama to win the presidency. Bill Clinton exhibited a sour grapes loser syndrome for a few weeks but then seemed to "kiss & make up" and then appeared to go all out for the Obama-Biden ticket. My sense is that both Hillary & Bill fully recognize how perilous are the times in which we now are charting both domestic and foreign policy and genuinely want to be useful. I honestly can't think of a better choice for Secretary of State than HRC, and that's coming from someone who published op-eds favoring Obama's candidacy against hers during the primaries. The world has largely cheered Obama's election as president and I believe would loudly second the choice of Hillary Clinton to represent State.
John Patrick Grace
Huntington, West virginia

Posted by: publish1 | November 14, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I like Hillary as Secretary of State for the first reason Chris mentioned. If we're serious about rebuilding our image around the world, then perhaps only Joe Biden could have filled this role better. Perhaps only he knows more than Hillary on foreign affairs.
I disagree with the statement that he owes Hillary nothing though. Whether her campaigning for him helped him win Ohio and Florida we'll never know. But, at the very least she has to be given a lot of credit in generating high interest and turnout in this election year drawing more than 18 million votes and helping deliver them to Obama. Not only that, Sen. Obama has to feel a little remorse in how the V-P selection eventually went down. Perhaps, even realizing later on that he should have picked her.
Hillary deserves a high-profile spot in this administration. And Sen. Obama knows it.

Posted by: jdunph1 | November 14, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what to think. I believe Clinton has strong negotiating skills, but she failed miserably with Healthcare before. The free lancing argument is a strong one. I would hope that Obama would keep a close eye on her. She is definitely better than Bill for the spot, she can control herself.

I do admire Obama for building a team of rivals, he is a smart man.

Posted by: Cyclopsina | November 14, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

He is not crazy; however, he is crazy like a fox.

Behind that calm demeanor is an intelligent, calculating, shrewd politician. Obama has a keen sense of insight into the human character and the personalities of many people. I think that he pretty much knows what people he needs to have in his cabinet and in what positions these folks will serve best.

Having Hillary in that position would serve two purposes:

1. She and Bill (working in the shadows) would be able to help establish our foreign relations around the world. She would not have to go at it alone... like Condi was expected to do for the latter of the last 4 years.

2. She is a woman. Why not have another intelligent strong woman step into this position of great influence.

For those that believe the Clinton’s would pursue their own agenda under an Obama administration, you are dead wrong.
If anything, they will both be supportive and accommodating, so that Hillary will have an opportunity to fulfill her agenda in running for Pres., again either in 2012 or 16. This will depend on how well Obama performs the next 4 years.

As far as Change is concerned, Obama's change message is not necessarily which people, or which political party these people are affiliated with in making his cabinet decisions. The change message is based on the intelligence, attitude, and behavior of the people that Obama will select as a part of his administration. His intelligence, attitude, and behavior will help to set that tone across his administration.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | November 14, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I really believe Obama is looking for the best person for the job. On many levels, it is Hillary. I do not think that Obama wants anything other than to be surrounded by competent people. That's what great leaders do.

Posted by: bharn | November 14, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Thrilled to see the entire Clinton team moving right into place - at the top where they belong. Their loyal, patriotic staffers, trashed for nearly two years by Urkel as "politics of the old," have graciously agreed to return to the west wing in droves. Great. They are welcome back and gracious to forgive NoBama for mocking them over and over (and over.) Change I can believe in - Clinton time!
HRC at DOD and Bill at state. Heck, put Chelsea into training at the SEC or with that 35 YO they have as #3 on the bailout. Let's have 'em all.
NoBama's flowery words and mean-spirited trashing of the Clinton's make him irrelevant already. He and Biden can have lunch and talk about the puppy. Clintons, roll up your sleeves and help us (again.)
Hope Laura Tyson and Alice Rivlin get good posts, if they want them. Summers "women can't do science" needs to get a holiday job at Sears and maybe moonlight at UPS. I could use some help with my lawn...
Clintons rock. Bring 'em.

Posted by: OrlandoNan | November 14, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse


You've had the most insightful post yet by far. Yes, Obama is using Lincoln as a role model and that is why, I think, if Hillary wants the job, she's got it.

To those whining about change, there must be a mix. Jimmy Carter brought an ambitious agenda for change to DC. He also brought a crew from Georgia who promptly got ambushed by the entrenched interests. Bill Clinton faced similar problems in his first term.

Obama has studied the way the game is played, and appears to be making shrewd choices.

It looks as if Obama will have a remarkably effective first term.

Posted by: Bondosan | November 14, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I never took seriously the notion of Hillary in the vp position. This is not a lady who was going to be happy playing no. 2 again. But she is well qualified for SoS, and possibly would be even better in that position than she would have as Pres. The pros given in this article are hard to dispute, although for stated reasons I don't believe the olive branch is really a factor.

As to the cons, a familiar face as SoS might make many people feel more secure than, say, a relative unknown, and the issue of a personal agenda would be there regardless of who was chosen for the office.

I think Hillary is a win-win choice, both domestically and internationally. She is both a politically correct choice and well qualified one.

Posted by: cb11 | November 14, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

How about McCain as Sec. State? It works for me.

Posted by: Proudadoptiveparent | November 14, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

but i want my change.

Posted by: saqqa | November 14, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Ol' Bill Clinton. Man, this is gonna be good.

Don't get me wrong, I've voted democratic for a long time. This just makes me think of keg stands on the White House lawn.

Hillary: Damn it, Bill.

Bill: Hey Hill. Where am I?.... I've been a bad boy.

Posted by: steeleswitters | November 14, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is clearly qualified. She's knowledgeable, respected and well-known.

Hillary pissed me off a lot during the primary, but she worked hard to help get Obama elected and proved that she is a team player.

I support the idea.

Posted by: inbox_blues | November 14, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Hillary should be Secretary of Defense. She's qualified, has detailed knowledge of the military, and would have her hands full with that job. She could work in a new area and really shake things up in defense. I'm surprised she is not being seriously considered for this position.

Posted by: news4me | November 14, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the biggest problem with her as anything at all the cabinet is that she would be more or less impossible to fire. Besides alienating the Clintons (and all of their supporters), firing her would raise the question of whether he lured her out of the Senate just to boot her out of public life. A president needs a cabinet that answers to him, and that means being able to change the people in key positions without significant political consequences.

I'm also unclear as to why int he world Hillary would want this post. Harry Reid is a pushover, if she wanted Hillary could be running the Senate.

Posted by: Oberfrobe | November 14, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"Is Obama Crazy, or Crazy Like a Fox?"

Crazy like a fox, I hope.

We've already tried crazy.

Posted by: tmaffolter | November 14, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I just don't know about you guys. How can you say he doesn't owe the Clinton's anything?????????????? EXCUSE me!!!!!!!!!!
She raised over 10 million dollars for him, made over 200 appearances for him. She held 81% of her base intact for the democratic party. You say he doesn't owe her?????? It has been proven that she did more for Obama than ANY other candidate in either party after losing & HE DOESN'T OWE her??????
If he really believed that we wouldn't be seeing this bs play out in the media.
I don't xcare how cocky he is, or how comfortable he appears to be. He knows he had better do something to start healing those wounds. He better not let them fester for 4 years. Come on Chris I gave you more credit than this. You beginning to sound as unbright as Chuck Todd.
BTW, when you see him since he doesn't know why Clinton would need a motorcade; would you remind him that she is a former first lady who still has Secret Service.

Posted by: Nuts2U | November 14, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm indifferent about HRC, the fear i have with the pick is BO will be tasked to baby sit all this ego driven former cabinet officials. I understand the idea of having the best mind around him but i'm scared for him because HRC is a politician. But i also appreciate what she DID for him since the convention. We all remember the speeches from Bill and her. The delegate manuavers scene on the floor...memorable moment of the convention. Denouncing McCain's attachements, So with that i say give it to her she has earned it and more...
Peace to you all!

Posted by: African1 | November 14, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else notice how nobody in washington is talking about health care anymore?

Who's championing it?

Why isn't it their top issue?

Why is our national budget for supporting medical research than we spend on any of a dozen individual defense department "make-work" weapon systems programs?

You're 100,000 times more likely to die of a heart attack than a terrorist attack.

For the price of the B-1 Bomber program we could be 10 years ahead of where we are on cancer research.

When you die, its going to be from a heart attack or cancer.

Shouldn't we be spending our money on that?

Posted by: svreader | November 14, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

First, I don't agree with your assessment that Sen. Clinton will pursue her agenda. Obama will give Sen. Clinton some latitude to pursue issues most important to her, but she will not be able to ignore his agenda as he is focused on the most critical issues of our time: ending the Iraq war; keep Iran from building a nuclear bomb; securing all loose nukes; end terrorist expansion in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and repairing the US's international reputation.

Second, the notion that a Secretary Clinton will essentially make his a "third Clinton term" is ludicrous. The major foreign policy challenges of today differ greatly from those under President Clinton. There are no old Clinton precedences to fall back on. Obama must apply his unique approach to resolving these new issues.

Finally, we must keep in mind that Sen. Clinton is a politician in her own right. The fact that she and Bill are always considered as one is strong incentive for Clinton to strike out on her own...make her own mark on history so to speak.

Given our poor standing in the world, an increasingly unstable Middle East, two wars, and a global financial crisis, the Secretary of State is arguable the second most power position in Washington today. Our challenges provide Sen. Clinton opportunities to rise to greatness--opportunities not available in the senate. Sen. Clinton is a savvy and disciplined politician, she won't squander the opportunity to make her own mark.

Posted by: jandcgall1 | November 14, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Mr. President Elect,

Take a breath. These two are not what you've promised us or what you need. Read on, please:

1. She's disorganized and conflict habituated. I know you've had your hands full of late, but take an hour to read the accounts of the Clinton campaign debacle.

2. He's a narcissistic exploitation artist who all but called you boy; a classic character disorder out of the Richard Nixon school, but with charm. You get one you get 'em both.

3. Extending and olive branch is one thing, transplanting them into your garden is another.

4. You need integrity in that office, not a proven disappointment from the not too distant past.

5. You are so admirably decent you may find it hard to grasp just how nasty the Clintons are. They are not good people.

6. If you really meant all that stuff about going past partisanship you have to remember that to many of us bringing her in is the same as pushing us out.

Not saying your choices are easy, but I am with you even though I don't agree much with many of you policies.

Throughout your meteoric rise one thing has remained clear: you are a very bright, high integrity guy and that is what our country needs now more than anything. In fact, that is why you rose meteoricaly. Events will inevitably muddy things up, don't stir the dirt yourself.

Yes, Barack, you can.

I am closing with a prayer:

The Lord Be With You.

And bless you. And give you the strength to believe in yourself even as you are surrounded by those who would, in the name of success and necessity, coax you into cynicism and self betrayal.


Posted by: TomB1 | November 14, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The cons are two aspects of the same concern. And they don't concern me.

There is a difference between "poltics as usual" and policy.

On foreign policy, there was little distance between candidates Obama and Clinton except on Iraq, and that was more on the surface than in the depths - and Obama won that one. Clinton is not disloyal or dumb enough to attempt to subvert Obama while serving as Secretary.

The politics Obama wants to put behind us is the divisiveness, the same "politics of personal destruction" that Hillary denounced; she played hardball but what else can you do when you are under the unrelenting attack that the right mounted against the Clinton presidency?

Clinton would have to clean out some really bad apples from her entourage, but I think she could do the job without undermining Obama. Her ability to run in 2012, if that is really a possibility, will depend on having a legacy in her job that will serve the president equally well.

Posted by: j2hess | November 14, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

llhanlon writes:
"There’s another big reason not to make Hillary Secretary of State. In order to restore America’s image in the world, we need someone ethical at State, and Hillary’s demonstrated lack of ethics make her the wrong candidate."

That criticism is somewhat applicable to SoS, and moreso to other positions for which she has been a possible nominee: first and foremost, in my mind, would be the Atty General. If I were Obama, I would ask her to stay in the Senate & pick up where Kennedy leaves off - he is likely not to be a political force much longer, due to health.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 14, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

EBC1 writes
"As Secretary, I have no doubt that WJC would redefine American diplomacy - and teach a new generation of Americans the meaning of the word "statesmanship"."

Statesmanship for the 21st century: tagging the 1st lady of France.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 14, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I am an Obama fan, but on this issue of Hillary as Secretary of state, I don't really see any negatives. The whole 3rd term Clinton issue is a moot point. The country would be happy to have a Clinton (Growing Economy and Good Foreign Policy) in exchange for the current mess we're facing. And the idea of the Clintons being free lancer does not not hold much water either. Both Clintons are pragmatist who are also conscious of their future as well as their legacies. Hillary would add to her impressive resume and as Sec of state would be in the best position to run once Obama leaves office. Obama would now gets one of the most qualified person to fill the position.

Posted by: jpphilippe23 | November 14, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

There’s another big reason not to make Hillary Secretary of State. In order to restore America’s image in the world, we need someone ethical at State, and Hillary’s demonstrated lack of ethics make her the wrong candidate. Whether it was voting for the Iraq war to show she was tough enough to be commander-in-chief, or the many occasions during the primary campaign she showed how low she could sink to advance her political interests, she’s proved herself to be the exact opposite of what we need to restore America’s image in the world. Moreover, her miscalculation of how the public would react to her race-baiting and religious attacks shows that either her judgment is severely lacking, or she’s seriously out of touch.

Posted by: llhanlon | November 14, 2008 2:50 PM |



Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 14, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.
$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$540 billion: Annual U.S. Defense Budget."

Posted by: diana9 | November 14, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, who would be better than Hillary as Sec of State? Bill!

If you want Bill as Sec State, just appoint Bill. Leave Hill in the senate. Solves lots of problems. The confirmation hearings might be interesting.

Posted by: cyberfool | November 14, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to see Hillary as Secretary of State. Bill would be a better choice in that role, he is so respected around the world and a much better diplomat than his wife. Bill Clinton for State!

I would very much like to see Hillary Clinton nominated to the Supreme Court upon the first vacancy. That would be a wonderful thing IMO.

Unless Obama really screws up he will be the nominee for president in 2012, no question! So forget about Hillary running again, she will be too old by 2016.

Posted by: datdamwuf2 | November 14, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I would have preferred to have Hillary in New York, rather than in any Washington capacity. I think this is a mistake.

Posted by: PAVoter | November 14, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone overlooking the obvious -- HRC as Sec. of Health? Even more than the respect she would command as State, she would strike fear into the heart of the pharma/medical industry. No one is better qualified to sort out this mess we call health care.

Posted by: wdrudman | November 14, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"Shame on YOU, Barack Obama!" - H.C.
"She's likeable enough." - Barack Obama

Am I the only one who sees a huge disconnect here?

Why not pick John McCain instead? He's got more experience, unless you count the time Hill was under sniper fire.

Hill has proven repeatedly that she is the most inept Democratic politician since Dukakis. She made a complete mess of her campaign and health care reform 15 years ago. Haven't we seen enough?

Obama is NOT stupid.

Posted by: Fairfax3 | November 14, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

free lancing where? Rodham Clinton will not be re-elected to her Senate seat. Her poll numbers are lower than Bush, especially among African Americans (hard working white people strategy in the primaries). What this means is that a deal was made way back at Feinstein's crib. Obama is a teeny weeny if he allows the Bullet Dodgers to force him to choose "obliterate" Iran as SOS. My prediction and warning is that the economic crisis will reveal those with the grubbiest claws and Rodham Clinton with $130 million in hedge funds will not be accepted by a world getting pounded bt American capitalist adventurism.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Specifically speaking of Hillary, I would definitely be pleased! I believe she'd be a great pick!

Posted by: Obama2008 | November 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

He's not crazy. If anything, he's learning from his mistakes. This is a good. If he can learn fast enough, he won't make a total hash of things.

Posted by: Bill64738 | November 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

After reading these comments, I can see why Barack wants to ditch politics as usual.

Posted by: dcc1968 | November 14, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I think she'll be a fine Secretary of State, as I believe former President Clinton would as well. I think she's certainly strong and capable enough to stand up to the civil service employees that have gone out of their way to disagree with their political bosses in the State Department. As for disagreeing with President Obama, I don't think we know his foreign policy stance anyway, and it would be great to have someone who actually knows other leaders to assist in his development. Obviously, that is the same for former President Clinton as well.

Just as important, it would be a relief to see former political adversaries actually working together. I realize they're in the same party, but it would still be good to see.

Posted by: ohmd | November 14, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Don't do it Obama. Appointing Hillary to the position of Secretary of State with Bill Clinton in the background pulling the strings will only set Hillary up to run again in 2012 but sabotaging and stalemating your presidency.

When you look at intelligence, experience, temperament, and trustworthiness, there are two choices, BILL RICHARDSON and JOHN KERRY. Personally, the idea of BILL RICHARDSON as Secretary of State is GREAT! Imagine a Secretary of State who can speak more than one language!

Posted by: AJ2008 | November 14, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I can't say I see the intense respect that Hillary enjoys in the international community. I know that Bill holds much respect and I know that Hillary is known.

I'll be honest, I was kind of hoping that Obama would go with one of his later announced supporters and borrow the "change" member of the early Bush 43 cabinet in Colin Powell. For some reason I think he would love another shot at it (especially if you've seen the movie "W") and I don't know if there's another American more respected in International circles than he is. He also provides a good centrist across the aisle pull for Obama.

Posted by: andygoldman | November 14, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is brilliant and incredibly hard working.

She'd make a great secretary of state.

But that's not the best use of her talents.

Bill and Hillary are too valuable to waste on the wrong things.

We need to pass universal health care.

There are several top-notch candidates for secretary of state.

Hillary should spearhead universal health care and then be appointed to the supreme court the first time there's a vacancy.

We can't afforc to wait another ten to twenty years for it.




Posted by: svreader | November 14, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Recall that the closest the Israelis and the Palestinisans ever came to a peace deal was under Bill Clinton. I see the upside dwarfing the downside if Hillary is selected.

Posted by: skrut003 | November 14, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"FIX" POSTERS BEWARE: More Signs of 'Big Brother' Censorship

• "Prior restraint" imposed on WaPo blogs


Posted by: scrivener50 | November 14, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

This is a good move. It shows that Obama learns from his mistakes, unlike a certain other current/recent President. Remember some of the harshest criticism that Obama received on the VP selection process? That he never even considered Senator Clinton? Here, he's showing that he's seriously considering her. Will he choose her? I think probably not. But, he's removing that aspect of criticism and trying to restore some important relationships and placate her supporters.

Posted by: jchj | November 14, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that no one in the media has even considered the biggest advantage to Obama from all of this: He would neutralize Hillary Clinton as a senatorial gatekeeper, especially on health care, and deprive her of an independent power base.

I think she'd be foolish to take the job, if indeed it is being offered.

Posted by: OriginalMagicDog | November 14, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I've got to agree with Rivery, we're running out of good senators to fill up these cabinet posts. Barack: Yes I know they are your senate friends and all, but you're still going to be able to work with them. They're right next door! We've already lost you and Biden, now I'm hearing talk of recruiting Claire McCaskill, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, next there will be talk of Jack Reed and Chris Dodd... we're still going to need a working senate when this is over. You'd think being a senator is such a horrible job that they can't wait to leave! Really, what's so wrong with just being a respected senator?

Posted by: grimmix | November 14, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

clinton's have still charm however they chose
to be at heart obama's antagonizers
the harshest branch of bullish neocons strongarming progressive pro tikkun olam obama whenever necessary for the whatever secret'cause obama does not represent.
The reason why he is capable of creating a transformational global movement
omnipotent clinton's could not.
Hillary carries her defeat bitterly which gives room to backstabbing the boss who 'stole the laurels she seemed ready to kill for'
In fiction would be rather a risky choice.
In reality hopefully a winner. No matter who the chosenones' close supervision from trusting staff seems an absolut necessity.

Posted by: tabita | November 14, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I think this is entirely likely. Why? Because Abraham Lincoln did the same thing. William Seward had been Lincoln's biggest rival for the Republican nomination, and many saw Seward as the obvious candidate, just as they did HRC this year.

Obama is consciously modeling himself after Lincoln. It's the same reason he wants to forgive all Lieberman's trespasses against the Democratic party.

Someone asked Obama what book he'd bring to the White House if elected. He said "Team of Rivals" - an examination of how Lincoln built an administration based on never going for payback, and keeping all former rivals on the team, and in the cabinet. He really meant it.

Posted by: bupdaddy | November 14, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Appointing Hillary Rodham Clinton as our Secretary of State will be best decision that President Obama can ever make. Sen. Hillary Clinton will be a huge asset to Obama administration. Her tenacity, her political skills, her huge popularity right here at home and abroad would serve America very well. I never seen any other contempeory politician, not even Bill Clinton can speak with intellerlectual clarity, passion and purpose. She has spent her life in service of our country. Her stamina and shinning intelligence is an inspiration to all. Hillary Clinton will bring huge credibility and strength to our government. I don't see any other politician Democratic or Republican who can hold a candle to her.

Posted by: chandraperera | November 14, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Kidvid kind of had this right. This (if it happens) almost inoculates himself against Hillary running in 2012, should he find himself in a precarious position, because Hillary will now be tied to his positions and successes/failures in the international arena. If he's vulnerable to a challenge, Hillary will be tainted by his administration's situation and have a hard time distinguishing herself and her positions by just being a member of it. This is McSame all over again, whether they are two birds of a cloth or not.

Nobody ever said he didn't play the political game well.

Posted by: grounder | November 14, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Existential question about The Fix: Are the Pros and Cons about whether Hillary Clinton would improve the efficiency of Barack Obama's administration, or are the Pros and Cons about whether it's politically advantageous?

Posted by: johnc_80 | November 14, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Intellectuals said Obama was their guy. Then why not have him release his Columbia transcript so thinking people can lord his grades and classes over Bush, Palin, McCain, etc.?"

Gawd, I remember four years ago and saying to myself "Kerry had the same $#&*% GPA as Bush???"

Posted by: DDAWD | November 14, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone concerned about the Obama administration gutting the Senate for the cabinet posts? Shouldn't some strong leadership remain in the upper chamber to help him get things done there? Is no one capable of strong administrative leadership outside the halls of Congress?

Posted by: Rivery | November 14, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather see her at the UN. In an increasingly globalized world, the UN is going to be more necessary, more important and have a bigger role. It's not just issues such as Darfur, but that's an example. The US can't, for many reasons, take care of all the world's problems. If Hillary can get all the countries to unite in pursuing what's ultimately in their best interest, a level playing field for all, she could leave an incredibly great legacy.

Posted by: TomJx | November 14, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I find your remarks outrageous.
You write that "the danger for Obama with regards to both Hillary and Bill Clinton is that they will pursue their own agenda -- political and policy-wise -- rather than advocate for the president-elect's preferred issues." Might I remind you that you are talking about a former President of the United States, a former First Lady and a sitting United States Senator who have served this country, certainly not perfectly, but with honor to their nation.
Surely, Senator Clinton proved that her country matters more than her own ambitions in her support of her former-nemesis during the general election. Really, you are quite out-of-line, and your suggestion that the Clintons would usurp the power of whatever office they hold is irresponsible. Some might use another word.

Halli Casser-Jayne

Posted by: PolitiHAL | November 14, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The cons are nonsense. Who really thinks that Hillary is going to go over Obama's head and pursue her own goals? That is just patently absurd. The Clintons are hardly the first people to harbor strong ambitions. They aren't threats to subvert every damn position they hold.

I think she would be a fine SoS for the pros that are given (except for that olive branch one)

Posted by: DDAWD | November 14, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I may be missing something, but ... Why install Senator Clinton at State, when President Clinton's abundant diplomatic skill and international goodwill make him such a natural fit?

As Secretary, I have no doubt that WJC would redefine American diplomacy - and teach a new generation of Americans the meaning of the word "statesmanship".

Surely the GOP's overblown "concerns" about his domestic baggage would take a backseat to affairs of state... Right?

Posted by: EBC1 | November 14, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget that the Secretary of State also has to run a large organization and (hopefully) look out for the well-being of Foreign Service officers and their families. State has seen its funding and people funneled into Iraq, and that obviously has to stop. What are we now going to do with the huge, defective Iraq embassy? It's going to be dirty work, and it's going to take more than a "big" name to do it.
I'd like to see some one who can at least make Iraq a safe post for family members, and if not, make it possible for families of Iraq-posted officers to have an adequate living allowance.
Maybe Hillary would be a good fighter for FSO's, or maybe she'd just jet off and do the glamorous thing. Her ego during the campaign certainly seemed to interfere with her judgement. Frankly, I'd feel safer with Bill Richardson.

Posted by: possum_pouch | November 14, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I pray each night that Barack Obama gets up healthy and stays that way—since the idea of Joe Biden as President is as frightening as Sarah Palin is not. Even Al Gore’s similar combination of ego and surrealism is no match for Biden’s self-important outbursts. I don’t think Putin and Chavez will say, “Aw shucks, that’s just old Joe being Joe Biden.”

Intellectuals said Obama was their guy. Then why not have him release his Columbia transcript so thinking people can lord his grades and classes over Bush, Palin, McCain, etc.? You’d think reporters would wish to find something to wax about—like an A+ in Gender and Post Colonial African Literature, or an honors thesis on Psychology of the Oppressed.

Where did all these Clintonite retreads come from in the hope and change era? And does Billary think they have an in with, or are gnashing their teeth at, the ‘the king is dead, long live the king’ former coterie—Podesta, Emaneul, Richardson, Ross. The list is growing daily and these ‘keep Saddam in his box/give a basketball or two to the North Koreans’ guys are not new.

I never saw any evidence in Chicago of Obama’s racial healing, or bipartisanship in the US Senate, or much moderation anywhere. So why does anyone think as President he will “rule”, as they say, from the middle?


Posted by: king_of_zouk | November 14, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Clinton may very well be qualified for the job, but Obama should make his own way. He ran on "change" and got a mandate from the people to that effect, and should hence make a clean break with the voices of the past. To have a single Republican in the administration would be an abomination.

Posted by: JOlsson1 | November 14, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

There’s another big reason not to make Hillary Secretary of State. In order to restore America’s image in the world, we need someone ethical at State, and Hillary’s demonstrated lack of ethics make her the wrong candidate. Whether it was voting for the Iraq war to show she was tough enough to be commander-in-chief, or the many occasions during the primary campaign she showed how low she could sink to advance her political interests, she’s proved herself to be the exact opposite of what we need to restore America’s image in the world. Moreover, her miscalculation of how the public would react to her race-baiting and religious attacks shows that either her judgment is severely lacking, or she’s seriously out of touch.

Posted by: llhanlon | November 14, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I meant liberals. Actually, it was Huffington Post writer Carol Anne Burger who stabbed her roommate to death, Erica Jong who said “blood will run in the streets” if Obama lost, Spike Lee talking about Condi Rice not Michelle Obama, and the Nuremberg style trials were called for by the environmentalist wackos over at Grist for people who had the audacity to disagree with them over climate change.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that no one on the right gets angry or that all of us are just fine with losing to Obama, the performance of Republicans in the congressional races, and the grievous harm the left is going to inflict on our country over the next few years. That wouldn’t be honest.

What I will tell you is that after eight years of falsely calling Bush a liar on a daily basis, accusing Bush of being behind 9/11, spinning conspiracy theories, Bush assassination art and plays, pursuing politically motivated prosecutions against Republicans, winking at terrorists like Bill Ayers, undermining the war in Iraq, throwing food at conservative speakers at colleges, participating in angry demonstrations, and calling conservatives evil, Nazis, & racists, the right has a long, long, way to go to catch up to the left in the “rage” department.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | November 14, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

You can also expect the Democrats to go back to the “right-wing rage” meme as soon as the glow starts to wear off of Obama. After all, he ran as an “everything to everyone” candidate. He portrayed himself as a diehard liberal and a moderate, a hawk and a dove, a tax cutting free marketer and a statist, a pragmatist and an idealist, a partisan tough guy and a unifier. No matter what he does, a lot of people are destined to be deeply disappointed in him.

When that happens and his approval rating starts to tank, what better way will there be to explain it than to blame the racism of those “angry white males” who are destroying the unlimited potential of Barack Obama? Then, the reporters will head for the red state heartland and interview a few hundred people, ask them leading questions, pick out the angriest, most racist sounding yokels in the bunch, and portray them as the average conservative who disagrees with Obama.

That’s just how they roll, believing that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” only applies when Republicans are in power

Posted by: king_of_zouk | November 14, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I supported HRC in the primary but I think this does not make sense for either Clinton or Obama. She is more influential in the Senate, especially on domestic issues where she has more experience (like health care). He is better off making a clean break.

Here's what I wonder: is this just a trial balloon (apparently by Clinton loyalists) intended to enhance her stature and show Obama consulting her, with all sides realizing that is its only purpose and she is staying in the Senate?

Posted by: billmcg1 | November 14, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

Posted by: kidvid | November 14, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

How a promising leader turned into the playground bully — overnight!

Obama vs. Pelosi/Green Machine vs. Jobs

On the Detroit bailout, Obama has hinted that he wants to make sure the money goes to retooling for clean, fuel efficient cars. Just like the original $25 billion Department of Energy bill was supposed to do. Nancy Pelosi is most worried about the UAW and jobs and would probably pump fresh blood into an entire city of the dead to save a single union job. So it looks like Obama and Pelosi are going to clash — and soon. Some reports indicate that GM will be down to its minimum operating cash before the end of the year — and that would make Chapter 11 all but a foregone conclusion. Detroit needs cash, but for what? The Obama Plan or the Pelosi Plan?

Obama vs. Southern Democrats on Guns

Obama is also gearing up for a fight with southern Democrats. After being mostly silent on guns during the campaign, Obama’s Web site has recently added or restored language indicating the return of the “assault weapons ban” on scary-looking rifles. Southern Democrats paid with their jobs for Clinton’s ban back in 1994. You might expect the new Blue Dog Dems to join hands and sing Kumbaya with House and Senate Republicans to block a new Scary Looking Rifles Law.

the thugs go to work

Posted by: king_of_zouk | November 14, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The Fix neglected to include 'two for the price of one' as a Con as well.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 14, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse


Bill would have to disclose all his donors, which could pose some interesting conflict of interest questions for a SecState Hillary.

And then there's that 3 a.m. phone call spoof. Who needs that? Perhaps there's a reason it was so funny. Obama will be his own SecState; he needs someone to skillfully execute his policies, like Bill Richardson. Si se puede!

This is a politically deft gesture, but why would Hillary take it? Hillary could wield more power as Senate majority leader, and many Dems think it's the right time for a new one.

Then, after several years helping guide Obama's agenda through Congress, she can retire from the daily grind and become an influential member of the highest court, helping to restore the power of the judiciary -- which has been degraded by the Bush administration's ideologically driven, unconstitutional "extrajudicial targeting" of American citizens.



Posted by: scrivener50 | November 14, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Like it or not, the Clinton White House team is the largest collection of Democrats with White House experience. Hiring a bunch of them was bound to happen. But what is very impressive about Obama is that he is secure enough to hire and consult with outsiders as well. I sincerely hopes he brings in a bunch of accomplished people with private sector and non-government experience as well.

I worry about Clinton "freelancing", but in the end, the Cabinet serves at the pleasure of the President. Let's see how Obama manages these big personalities before we go off the deep end of rampant speculation.

Posted by: PDiddy | November 14, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Qualified on every issue? Experienced? Well respected?

This is a woman famous for THREE things: Whitewater, failing miserably at setting up a national healthcare system, and losing a nomination that she should have won.

What the hell has this woman accomplished? I don't get it. I just don't get it.

Posted by: SouthernAWF | November 14, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I gave Obama a lot of money in the primary, just so I DIDN'T have to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election. I have a number of problems with the Clintonian "Third Way" of resolving legislative and policy conflicts.

So I'm not at all pleased to see Obama apparently installing a third term of the Clintons. Don't like Emanuel, or CLinton. I want Bill RIcharson and Howard Dean in important cabinent positions, and apparently that isn't going to happen. I'm not completely disgusted YET. But I'm going to watching to see if Obama actually has PRINCIPLES that he will stand up for (no torture, etc.)or if he is blown in the political wind just like the Clintons were. 2012 will be a dramatically different election if Obama lets his supporters down in this first term.

Posted by: smeesq | November 14, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of putting her at SecDef instead, much less lattitude to stray from the reservation, and the same Pro arguments from above apply.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | November 14, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

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