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Obama and Clinton: Answering the Whys

Why did they do it? (Photo by Jim Young of Reuters)

President-elect Barack Obama's decision to name Hillary Rodham Clinton as his secretary of State likely will be viewed as one of the defining moments in the shaping of his administration.

At the heart of the new union between one-time rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination is a simple question: Why?

That is, why would Obama, a man who ran a campaign based on a new kind of politics that was an implicit rejection of the Clinton years, choose a potent symbol of those years as his chief diplomat?

And, why would Clinton, a woman who is used to being the boss, walk away from the Senate to serve as a cog in the vast Obama machine?

It's impossible to know the definitive answer to either of these two questions but here's our take, based on close observation of both politicians over the last two years.

For Obama, picking Clinton accomplishes practical and symbolic goals.

On the practical level, it's hard to argue with her credentials or her readiness to represent the United States in the world during an extremely challenging time, as evidenced by the Mumbai terrorist attacks over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Clinton was among a trio of high profile elected officials considered for the job that included New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

While both Richardson and Kerry were dedicated Obama supporters, neither carried the star power of Clinton -- a known (and respected) commodity throughout the world.

Symbolically, picking Clinton sends a series of fascinating messages.

It reinforces the "Team of Rivals" meme that seems to have transformed into conventional wisdom in the month (or so) since Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States.

Put simply, picking Clinton shows Obama's bigness -- that his pledge to bring in the best and brightest regardless of their past political entanglements is more than just lip service.

And, despite the hunky-dory report of relations between the two one-time opponents, bringing Clinton into the Obama cabinet also serves as an example of the old adage that you keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

The Clintons -- since Bill and Hillary are a package deal -- were certain to be a base of power within the Democratic party no matter whether they were part of of the Obama Administration or not. By inviting them in through the front door, Obama is ensuring that he will have some control -- how much remains to be seen -- over the country's preeminent political power couple.

Could that move backfire? Sure. Giving Hillary Clinton such a prominent place on the world stage entails risk. But, Obama and his advisers clearly believe that they are better served with Hillary and Bill Clinton under the tent rather than throwing stones from the outside.

As for Clinton, the "why" of her decision to vacate the Senate to become secretary of State is equally fascinating.

In conversations with a number of people close to Clinton, it's clear to us that she saw this decision as a real crossroads in her political life.

Remember that she only emerged as an elected official in her own right eight years ago and that the entire focus of her time in public life over the past two (four? six?) years had been on running for president.

With that dream deferred -- certainly for a while, probably forever -- Clinton had to resolve for herself how she wanted to spend the next five to ten years of her life.

On the one hand was the job as top diplomat where she would be a high-profile and influential force in the world community at a time when America is seeking to redefine its role and reposition itself.

On the other was her seat in the Senate where her symbolic power as a national spokeswoman for the Democratic party occasionally conflicted with her decidedly junior status in the chamber.

Clinton was not likely to play a major role in any of Obama's domestic policy initiatives -- healthcare, energy, etc. -- and, despite an alleged promise to give her a seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee, it was relatively clear that Clinton would be taking a back-seat role on the issues nearest and dearest to her.

The Clintons -- more so than the average political family -- are abundantly aware of their own legacies and faced with the choice of playing a subordinate but influential and high profile role in the Obama Administration or toiling in (relative) obscurity in the Senate, it's clear that Hillary Clinton believed she could have more impact in the former role.

That Obama and Clinton could stand together on a stage -- one as president, the other as his secretary of State -- speaks to the unpredictability and soap-operatic nature of politics.

Make no mistake: this is the beginning not the end of a fascinating storyline in American politics. And we will be there every step of the way.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 1, 2008; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  White House  
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After Obama telling us in the Democratic primary debates that he “questions her judgement”, that she “lacks experience” diplomatically, and his staff even calling her a “monster”… Hill’s OK now?

Chris, you wrote:

"'s hard to argue with her credentials or her readiness to represent the United States in the world during an extremely challenging time" and "... his pledge to bring in the best and brightest regardless..."

Qualified? Best and brightest? Seriously?

It's EASY to argue with her credentials, LOL-

Clinton has not even an iota of foreign policy experience. She lacks basic diplomatic skills and has serious character flaws, like her legendary temper, use of foul language when angry, and berating those serving unfortunate enought to be in the room when she flips.

She was caught lying blatantly on the stump with claims of "coming under fire" at on a visit to Bosnia in 1996, but video and witnesses had a different recall of the events. What happened to honesty and integrity as selection criteria?

Other presidents lacking diplomantic experience have brought someone who has such a background to the State Department… Reagan w/ Al Haig, Carter w/ Cyrus Vance. Obama doesn’t feel the need for such experience on his team, for some reason... hmmm

If Hillary Clinton were not married to Bill Clinton, would we have ever heard of her? Maybe, but I doubt it. Pretty sharp contrast with self-made Palin.

And how about Bill’s consulting deal with the UAE, while his wife was bashing them on the Senate floor.. basically fixing a PR debacle from the Dubai Ports deal that was much Hillary’s own creation? NO conflict of interest? Or the other millions he’s recieved from Kuwait, Morocco, Kazahkstan… no problem there?

Any chance of Obama controlling this loose cannon Hillary? LOL, of course not, the Clintons can’t even control each-other.

Yet, perhaps the most unsettling concern is that Hillary's judgement is severely warped by her blinding ambition to gain power and control- causing her to be manipulative and Machiavellian when interacting with others. Is this the kind of person who should represent the United States with foreign governments?

The only logical explanation for this this terrible choice is the fufillment of a political deal struck during, or after the Democratic Convention- in exchange for her support, of course. Shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s done any real due-dilligence on this disengenuous serial opportunist Obama.

Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | December 3, 2008 6:05 AM | Report abuse

This is a politically motivated appointment. Clinton has no official experience with foreign policy credentials. Bill pretty much stayed out away from foreign policy initiatives, except bombomg Belgrade into submission to chase Milosevic from power under NATO command. That's about it.

Yes Obama will keep the Clintons under his thumb this way, but Clinton with the two generals appointed to the NSA,NSC, along with the Pentagon, (Gates) for the time being will largely call the shots. I don't know the two Generals views but I imagine they are very hawkish which seems very different from Obama's campaign themes about foreign policy which were much more dovish.
For the most part Obama won the nomination on his stance on the Iraq War which was probably the only major issue he differed with Clinton on. That became a less important issue during the year.

Posted by: KRittenmyer | December 2, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Gauntowl, it's true there is historical precedent for an ex-president to serve in the Senate; but if Paterson appoints Bill Clinton, Obama should accept Hillary's resignation as SOS. Apart from the fact that we Dems are so weary of All-Clinton-All-The-Time and had hoped, wistfully, for an end of it, the chances of Bill Clinton's being consistently supportive of the new Administration's policies and positions are zero to none. It would be counterproductive and confusing for the world.

Posted by: Niverville | December 2, 2008 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who answers a bad question by the supposedly mainstream media, (ABCinterview) when asked IF she were President and IF Iran attacked Israel, what would she do, and she answered very off track entirely out of touch with any sane proper policy, she showed her ugly true colors of no diplomacy, no proper direction, when she answered with (likely) her smile, IF Iran attacked Israel and I were President, WE would have the capability to obliterate Iran in 10 years...."

NO, that is not diplomacy, that is not honorable peace intended policy, the proper answer OF COURSE was that, "That will not happen IF I am elected President...because we will begin the proper peace policy and eliminate nukes by taking the lead, and Iran will not attack Israel..." but oh no, she was not talking diplomacy, and she was not talking peace policy and she was not talking international law and majority rule for proper United Nations solidarity for honoring the ABM treaty...she was out of line at one hundred percent...I call that very dumb as the best way to look at it, and UNQUALIFIED entirely....she is not oriented toward this country's best interests nor the world's. She is stupid. She does not have good character, she offers horror and complete lack of proper policy, hardly peace.

She has achieved nothing except support for a former husband, she is not at any level of credibility for her own proper on track policy, she is horrific, we want an end to the production of nuclear weapons, not 10 years of intentions to destroy what should be FRIENDS! She knows how to make enemies out of fictional questions that had no place in the picture in the first place, but, her answer, that was her, a truth that should have prevented any voters from thinking she could achieve anything at all, and should have netted the requested formal apology and admission she was and is entirely OUT OF LINE.

She is horrific.

Ask her friend, former friend, Susan Thomases, an attorney mentioned by George Stephanopulos when he was working with former President Clinton, he too, was mildly out of line, in believing Susan was a brassy blonde, as he put it. Susan is not, as former Head of the CT commission on Status of Women in Connecticut and then attorney employed at the Federal Dept. of Energy, Susan is an assertive and reserved and proper person who knows the status of women and the status of employment is best represented with the MOST QUALIFIED with bona fide occupational qualifications as the selected candidate. Hillary does not fit that whatsoever. Wife of former President Clinton is all she should get A's for. Enough already. No, Hillary is bad, very bad. Bimbo from Yale Law School apparently can happen.

Posted by: ELLISLIZA | December 2, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Angriest Dog-

You keep spouting the same stuff- there is no evidence on the ground for it- Clinton's polling is in the high 60%iles here in NY- with African Americans as well as everyone else-just because you repeat it often doesn't make it true.

Posted by: nycLeon | December 1, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Still, is there no limit to which those devoid of integrity, talent and humanity can rise in America?! Can anyone say it's not simply naked ambition that has driven O and HRC to the top of their tree? Or after 'W' is lust for power considered an improvement?!

Posted by: rupertornelius | December 1, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

"On the practical level, it's hard to argue with her credentials or her readiness to represent the United States in the world during an extremely challenging time" -if it is then how did Obama beat her?

Posted by: rupertornelius | December 1, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

It's not up to us to decide who should be our next SOS. When you elected Obama, you gave him the power to make decisions for you.

Although Hillary is an amateur, hopefully she can get on-the-job training fast. Everybody said she is hardworking. But saying somebody is hardworking is a polite way of saying the person needs to put in more time to achieve the same thing. Let's just hope she works hard in the right direction. My concern is her ability to work as a team with other departments and the White House.

Our Europeans don't like seeing Hillary as our SOS, but they can't do much about it except publishing polite suggestions in the Economist, BBC and etc. Now there is talk about sending Bill to the senate. I wonder what position Chelsea will get after her hedge fund job. Too bad, we can't crown Hillary and Bill and put them away like the Britons did.

Posted by: dummy4peace | December 1, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse


Obama Fomenting A Constitutional Crisis:

Constitutional Lawyer Discusses Ramifications Of Controversy -- By John P. Connolly, The Bulletin

Controversy continues to surround President-elect Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president, and a case involving his birth certificate waits for its day before the U.S. Supreme Court. A constitutional lawyer said were it to be discovered that Mr. Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen, it would have grave consequences for the nation.

Posted by: AJAX2 | December 1, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Why are people still talking about the Republican Party?

When a hurricane looses strength, it becomes a tropical storm.

The Republican Party has now been downgraded to regional party.
It is no longer a national party and never will be again.

Posted by: bobnsri | December 1, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Richardson has issues of sensitivity to feminist sensibilities. That's putting it politely.

Posted by: officermancuso | December 1, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama's picks for his cabinet shows once again that pundits are idiots. For starter, Mr. Cillizza, you self-indulgently declared John McCain the winner of the debates. Why is Obama president in the first place?

Posted by: RegisUrgel | December 1, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

What's odd and disturbing is that extremist anti-O elements (like Rush today) are effusively praising the pick of HRC. You have to wonder why.

O certainly had a very specific, powerful, and so far undisclosed reason for choosing her -- but I doubt it had anything to do with her "foreign policy experience." Biden, Kerry, Richardson, and many others trump her on that score easily. And none of the other MSM explanations for the pick make any sense.

What is missed in most MSM articles is that HRC negotiated the right to select her own staff (rather than have it chosen for her by the White House). So whether State ends up helpful to O's agenda or not, State -- with its multibillion dollar budget -- will be HER agency.

Give them credit: The Hillarians, and their Leader, won.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 1, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama's picks for his cabinet shows once again that pundits are idiots. For starter, Mr. Cillizza, you self-indulgently declared John McCain the winner of the debates. Why is Obama president in the first place?

Posted by: RegisUrgel | December 1, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Many good comments herein. Do agree that this appointment is helpful for Senator Clinton, whatever her future plans, and builds Democratic Party unity, a big plus for President-elect Obama. Certainly, the President-elect is building a large political tent of centrists, and I have to admit that it makes sense to bring the Clintons into it.

If Senator Clinton wants to run in 2016, the Secretary of State appointment is a very helpful move for her, as others on this thread have pointed out. As well, this move is helpful for President Clinton, as he can be used to good effect as a special envoy in the Middle East and in other trouble spots. In sum, the appointment of HRC as Sec State could add luster to the Clinton legacy and adds both Hillary and Bill to the Obama foreign policy team.

Wish that there had been a more prominent role for the very talented Bill Richardson, although I think that he would be great back at Energy, especially if he is given primary responsibility for the Kyoto Accords. I am also concerned about whether Joe Biden will be used well as Veep. Joe Biden is a true expert on foreign policy, and it would be sad to have him ignored in this arena. If Biden has no foreign policy input as Veep, it would have been more helpful to leave him as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Posted by: ANetliner | December 1, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

One more time, what's wrong with an elected official being "all about politics"? Especially early in his term?

Define "politics". Doesn't it have something to do with "paying attention to voters"?

Posted by: officermancuso | December 1, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

While I admire many of President-elect Obama's Cabinet and senior staff picks, this one disappoints me somewhat because I see it as being all about politics and the Clinton legacy, and very little about Hillary Clinton's substantive qualifications for Sec State. That said, there could be a considerable silver lining, which I hope is revealed.

My views, on the cons and the pros:

On the downside:
--The Obama campaign was forged on the premise that his foreign policy outlook was very different than Hillary Clinton's. I suspect that early and ardent supporters of Obama may be tremendously disappointed by the choice of Senator Clinton as Secretary of State.
--Senator Clinton has only modest foreign policy experience and lacks the administrative experience needed to run the State Department smoothly. Let's hope that an experienced Foggy Bottom hand is chosen as her second in command.
--Senator Clinton's elevation to Secretary of State doesn't give Joe Biden (who would have been a terrific pick for the post) much scope for foreign policy influence. I hope that Biden's talents are not wasted as Veep.
--Other candidates for Secretary of State (Richardson, Holbrooke, Kerry) had far stronger credentials. While John Kerry will advance in the Senate, likely to chair the Foreign Relations Committee, I am saddened for Bill Richardson that his early support for Obama was not rewarded more fully. (At this point, I would like to see Richardson back at the Energy Department, brokering Kyoto and other aspects of energy independence.)

That said, there is a considerable silver lining in sending Senator Clinton to Foggy Bottom: the choice of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State gives both Clintons an opportunity to burnish their global legacy, and Bill Clinton could be an exceptional special envoy for the new administration. If Obama, Hillary and Bill can get on the same page with respect to foreign policy (and that's a big if...) some good, even great, things could happen.

I'm hoping that an optimistic outlook is proven out by events.

Posted by: ANetliner | December 1, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I admired Hillary Clinton for her fortitude. It wasn't that long ago when she suffered the ultimate humiliation -- her husband the president in yet another sex scandal. In her shoes, I would have been hard-pressed to stay with such a man and if I had, every time he came around me I would spray him with a disinfectant or splash him with bleach so not to get the cooties. I admired Hillary for her calculating intelligence -- rumor has it that she invested $10,000 and in a short time collected returns of $1 million. Sometimes I wonder if she was the mastermind behind eliminating the deficit during the Clinton presidency. I became disillusioned as I observed Hillary merciless attack on Obama. I think one of the first negative attacks -- as a child Obama wrote a composition at school that he wanted to be president. As a mother whose children have high aspirations, I'd never heard anything so low as to attack a man when he was just a little kid. The disdain has subsided and Obama is President. I still have reservations about Obama's choice of Hillary. The main concern: Will Hillary's ego allow her to give deference? Anyway, we will see. Politics certainly makes strange bed fellows

Posted by: carrisima | December 1, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

"On the practical level, it's hard to argue with her credentials"

I would like to know her credentials. Other than having the last name Clinton and political "star power", what legitimate credential does she have? Failing at a domestic policy overhaul? Traveling abroad? Being a do-nothing senator, serving herself and not NY state?

I still would have voted Obama seeing how terrible Option #2 was, but this is disappointing. It makes Obama look like a puppet for the DNC who want their gal Hillary in the spotlight to appease their man Bill.

Posted by: BurtReynolds | December 1, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

If I were a Republican who had voted twice for George W. Bush and still advocated for his party, and I looked around the world and saw what people are saying about the USA, and looked at the US economy and saw what is happening, I would be ashamed to show my face in any public political forum, including this one.

Broadwayjoe's mileage may vary.

Posted by: officermancuso | December 1, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

"If Mrs. Wm. J. Clinton is the answer, please don't ask the question." -- anonymous wise man, December 2008.

Excerpt from Chapter 38 (Supreme Commander of the National Nation) of "The Lost Tribe of the Hillarians"

...In the end, no one came to the aid of O-Nation.

You can't really blame anyone, certainly not the O-Nation heroes. During the final siege of the Hillarians, Patti Solis Doyle was assaulted by flying discs that appeared to be kd lang CDs. Brutal. Bill Richardson, one of the greatest O-Nationers, was lured into a backroom with the promise of two Big Macs and then locked inside. McCaskill, the most emotionally invested in O's dream, was captured by four Harpies, never to be seen again.

To get Biden, the Hillarians put a fake microphone in front of him that said "world BBC" and that started him talking non-stop about his favorite topic, Biden. There was hope Janet Napolitano would come through, perhaps a last minute call to the Jersey Boys, but alas, no. The Hillarians had their spokesman Lan E. Davis talk to Napolitano and she feel asleep.

What remained of O-Nation got O and his family to an secret location in Newark in the hope he could later mount a counter-attack. O would always remember the last scene at the State Department building, re-named the Steel House, and the official self-coronation of the Hillarians' pants suited blond leader as "Supreme Commander of the National Nation" (whatever that is). Some say as O's helicopter took off for Newark, he was seen tossing out of the window a book called "Team of Rivals" typed, er "written" by hysterian Doris K. Goodwin. When he looked down, he saw lifetime Hillarian Kaye T. Core-Ick covering the event for the Clinton News Network. O then sadly turned away and lit up a Marlboro.

Next: Chapter 38, Time for Oprah

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 1, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Hillary will carry out the deciders agenda. She is capable by herself, but tell me what couple can work a dinner room better than Bubba and Hillary.

Posted by: jameschirico | December 1, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

I think Chris nailed this on the head.

It's a wise choice, and sets the tone for the upcoming sound Administration of our country, while at the same time forcing the Clintons to go into a neutral non-partisan non-political manner by virtue of the legal duties of the Secretary of State.

In other words, a twofer.

And, it buttresses one of her admittedly weak points making her a better candidate for 2016.

Posted by: WillSeattle | December 1, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious to me that a lot of us do not understand the difference between running a campaign and running a country. Obama is doing what any smart person should do. That is, get the job done with the best qualified person you can get. At the end of the day, what counts is the achievement of your administration in making the nation and the world a better place than they saw it. He would be dumb not to learn from the mistakes of the past administrations that came to washington with their buddies, only to find out that you need a seasoned hand to get things done in washington. The president is only a part of our government and for things to work smoothly, you must have all part working together. Those liberals that are complaining that Obama is not doing what he promised in his campaingn should realize that there are about 48 million Americans who made a different choice and he has to take them along if he wants to be successful. Else he would end up like the current President did.

Posted by: Ahoy44 | December 1, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Reflect for a moment on the idea that we criticize an elected government official for making a decision on a "political" basis.

That criticism must be coming from sub-groups who supported that official's election, who would prefer that he not pursue policies which a majority of voters would support.

Certainly there are times for "profiles in courage", when an elected official adheres to a principle and goes against the wishes of his or her electors - but those are exceptional times.

What we face at the moment are very hard times in the wake of the Bush/Republican economic meltdown, and it is going to be extremely important for the person who has to clean up that mess to enjoy the confidence of a majority of the American people.

I suspect that Obama is both politically smarter and more principled than posters in comment boxes who render judgment on him every day as the whim strikes us.

Time will tell.

Posted by: officermancuso | December 1, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

First of all..

The Democratic Party is NOW OBAMA'S.

As long as Hillary was in the Senate she had
POWER to perhaps STOP Obama, Reid, Dodd, Franks and Palosi. With her out of there,and
a possibility of 60 Seats in the Senate.

He would have complete control of the PARTY.

HIllary is out of the picture now for the 2012 campaign.

So he killed three birds with one stone..

I do not think is was a reward... more of a tactical move.. plus he can REMOVE her at any time..

Slick tactical move.

Looking forward to see what comes from the Supreme Court on Friday... to determine IF he is a citizen of the United States.

Posted by: miller51550 | December 1, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

From the second I heard Obama was going to appoint Clinton as his Secretary of State, I thought: "Political." This is clearly a political decision. Perhaps he feels he owes her? Or--on a more altruistic level--her supporters, most of whom grudgingly to willingly stepped over the Democratic divide to support him? His decision shows how canny and shrewd he is. It also shows he's an idealist, in the midst of all his pragmatism. I can only hope that all of President Clinton's "international peccadilloes" have been resolved; and/or absolved; or both...

Posted by: maggib | December 1, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

It is worth noting that Obama's supporters who detested, and some still do, Clinton never had the foresight to think that Obama might be his own man or to trust his judgment. Well, from what little we've seen it appears Obama has been looking to appoint who he believes to be the most qualified people to key positions to employ their abilities where he thinks he needs help given his own deficiencies.

As for Clinton's detractors one must ask, if you don't trust Obama's judgment in appointing Clinton then state such. Just acknowledge that you made a mistake about Obama, his character and judgment.

Posted by: brwntrt | December 1, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama's transition team and some of his cabinet choices, including Clinton, makes no sense to me. I see a Clinton/Obama coupling. If I had wanted Clinton, I would have voted for her instead of Obama. Instead, I get her anyway. All the status quo generals are in place. Why do we need Obama? He appears to be just window dressing.

The ambitious Democratic elitists are now at the helm. I fear, there will be no change. They too, are just as power and money hungry as their counterparts, the Republicans.

Posted by: tpagotie | December 1, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I got you, babe.



Posted by: thc1138 | December 1, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Making Hillary Clinton Sec of State was a very disappointing decision to me. As someone who voted for Obama, I had taken his early and outspoken opposition to the Iraq war as an indication that he would push the US in a new direction in foreign policy, one less premised on military power. Instead Obama has chosen to nominate someone who favored the Iraq war and who is among those Dems who feel compelled to favor military force in a variety of situations, not because it makes the US safer, but because they live in fear of being called soft on national security. It is this kind of unprincipled and ultimately unwise approach to public policy that Obama ostensibly repudiates. With this nomination he has endorsed it wholeheartedly. Clinton is not especially well-qualified and lacks the conviction and long-term view necessary to make strategically wise decisions. Give this round to the military industrial complex-dominated, energy insecurity-driven foreign policy status quo.

Posted by: bryantfromchesapeake | December 1, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Just a few loose thoughts on the subject .....

1. Consistent throughout Obama's campaign, and campaign stump speeches, were his insistence that he was the only one in Washington with a pulse to be against the Iraqi invasion. He frequently called the invasion a "strategic blunder." Yet, when choosing his Vice Presidential pick, and his Secretary of State nomination, he has chosen two people who voted FOR the authorizing of the war, which is curious at best. Especially disconcerting is his apparent fondness for Hillary, the target of many foreign affairs debates in an attempt to illustrate differences.
It should be noted here that Hillary wiped him off the floor in any foreign affairs debate.
He also denounced her for voting in favor of a Senate resolution branding the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. During the primary campaign, Clinton declared that the US would "obliterate" Iran if it attacked Israel. Now Obama is considering placing her at the head of US diplomacy. Very curious, indeed. Did he in fact, protest too much, during the campaign? Did a clearer picture of his true foreign policy stance show itself when he vowed to bomb Afghanistan if they had a fix on the location of Bin Laden?
Did his campaign platforms truly represent the measure of the man, or the result of a staged and carefully measured set of positions guaranteeing victory?

2. Does a Secretary of State truly carve out foreign policy, or will Hillary do nothing more than carry the water of Gates, Jones and BO?

3. The Clinton's certainly have a personal cache around the world, and this could be capitalized on.

4. BO is NOT, repeat NOT worried about Hillary running in four years against a sitting Democratic President.

5. Any thought that she cannot be appointed because of Article 1, Section 6 of the constitution should remember 1973.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon was able to appoint Sen. William B. Saxbe as his Attorney General, despite the fact that Saxbe was part of a Senate that nearly doubled Cabinet pay 1969, by convincing Congress to reduce Saxbe's pay as Attorney General to its pre-1969 levels.

The sidestep, since known as the "Saxbe fix," was also used by President Taft in 1909, President Carter and President George H. W. Bush, who actually implemented the fix to enable Sen. Lloyd Bentsen to serve as treasury secretary for President Clinton's incoming administration.

The so-called "fix," however, has been criticized as perhaps honoring the spirit of the law, but nonetheless violating a clearly written statute of the Constitution.

6. Clinton is tough. In the Senate committees, she would work everyone from the Pentagon over the coals. Remeber, she was the ONLY one to get into the Pentagon's grill and demand an Iraq exit strategy.

7. Gates, Petraeus, Jones, and the Republicans are relieved at the pick. The GOP feared he would appoint someone as liberal as he is.

Posted by: kimba1 | December 1, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer"

The Godfather.

Obama wants her out of the Senate and under his control where he can keep an eye on her. If she pisses him off he can fire her.

Posted by: Etek | December 1, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I think it was a very smart ove on Obama's part to name Clinton.

Posted by: mrshep | December 1, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

This is an excellent analysis by The Fix regarding why the position of Secretary of State was offered and accepted. Obama seems to have settled for a middle ground between old school DLC Democrats and the progressive wing of his party. Both groups are well represented in the cabinet. Hillary Clinton is now in a good position to have a real impact on world affairs, much more so then in the U.S. Senate. I think this was a thoughtful and pragmatic choice by Obama and for the country's sake, I hope it works out. I am more worried about Bill's mecurial personality and temper then Hillary who seems much more grounded and sincere in her desire to improve U.S. relations in the world, and addressing issues such as world peace, womens rights, genocide, disease, and poverty. Whereever this takes us, we will be better off then we have been these past eight awful years.

Posted by: maxfli68 | December 1, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Line of succession? Gee, Obama's not even constitutional yet without the oath and people are already talking about his potential absence?

I think that the Clintons are the couple who stay together because they xerox together. Remember all those FBI files that wound up in the hands of an army investigator and bar bouncer? The latter named Craig Livingston, I recall. Does anyone really trust the Clintons with files at the State Department? 'Peeking' at passport files has yet to result in anyone being fired, yet even civilians are subjected to this abuse without notification by the agency.

I would not trust Hillary Clinton with a rolodex of passport applicants and holders. And I wouldn't trust her with the CIA, either. Today Barak Obama said his nominees were his national security team. This is advertising that the Secretary of State is the CIA. I mean, do you really want to acknowledge this? Oh, and you'll be spying on people. I'm concerned about domestic spying, something the Clintons have shown a proclivity for.

And yes, Bill Clinton will continue to cheat, picking up women pretty much everywhere. Nice for security in a government agency? Is this better or worse than having a drug or alcohol problem?

Posted by: redd1 | December 1, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Both Obama and Clinton have not spent one moment of their lives considering the possibility of registering Republican. They are people who live for politics, who see the Democratic party as the engine of hope for a better future. Aside from this common ground, their differences are minor.

Both see an historic opportunity for the Democratic party to lead in national politics for decades to come *if* this incoming Democratic administration governs well in the wake of the really remarkably disastrous George W. Bush administration.

In a normal year the personal friction left over from the Democratic primaries would cause Obama and Clinton to repel each other.

This is not a normal year. George W. Bush has been a failure of major historical proportions in every respect. The opportunity is there for the Democrats, if they can seize it. Led by a very wise and emotionally stable fellow, they are not about to blow that opportunity over petty personal disputes.

Posted by: officermancuso | December 1, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes to everything you wrote, Chris. Hillary will do a great job and in nominating her Obama elevates his own stature along with hers.

But it is also politically shrewd. With Hillary in the Cabinet instead of elected office, she loses her political apparatus. She also becomes a part of any success or failure Obama has as president. It is now impossible for her to mount any sort of rebellion campaign in 2012.

SOS seems like a 4 year job; not an 8 year job. I'm curious about what happens in 2012. Does Hillary become VP? Richardson SOS? Biden National Security Advisor? Some interesting possibilities down the road...

Posted by: matt_ahrens | December 1, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Clinton as SOS keeps up a single prevailing theme with all of Obama's picks so far:


And damn....ain't it refreshing?

Posted by: RightDownTheMiddle | December 1, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton gave Barack Obama a serious run for his money for the nomination. The Democratic Party's nominating system, because it's not winner-take-all, was much more competitive and serious that the show the Republicans ran. And Hillary got a lot, a lot, a lot of votes in that process. That is just a fact.

Maybe Obama is just serious about our government being democratic, small D, and republican, small R. Besides the fact that she has very serious policy chops, Hillary Clinton also represents a lot of people, and he's accepting that those people are entitled to representation. That is a wise and big-hearted thing to do. Now it's her job to do her job well. This is all okay. No harm, no foul -- play on.

Posted by: pressF1 | December 1, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

While this was not my ideal outcome 6 months ago, I have been impressed by Hillary Clinton's party loyalty and perserverance in setting aside her own ego for Obama's election. She convinced me, and I believe she will convince the rest of the world. Especially in comparison to the other mentioned options (John Kerry? Really??) she was the best choice. And I absolutely agree, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. My fervent hope is that Hillary Clinton truly sees Obama is the Democrats' man until at least 2016 and at that point her presidential chances would be between zero and nil. And so instead of building some competing power base she truly becomes part of the team for ALL of us. I think her performance during the general election showed she's capable of that and I trust Obama will continue to build that relationship so that it happens.

Posted by: Omyobama | December 1, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I have watched VP Elect Senator Joe Biden over the years doing his work in the senate. I think this honourable man and fearless thinker needs to sit one of those supreme chairs. That man is destine to the supreme court. He brings legal conversation to life, he thinks deeply carrys the burden of the "little people" in his work. America will be the better with him as a guardian of their constitutioon. Make no mistake Biden has the fabric of a man worthy of that office. Robe Justice Biden. I look forward to read one of Justice Biden legal opinion whether in the affirmative or descent.

Posted by: inch4inche | December 1, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Reported on CNN:
General Petraeus was asked, after his testimony before the Senate, who, in his estimation, was the Senator he most respected for their knowledge and understanding of the situation:
"Oh, you mean which senator besides Senator Hillary Clinton?"
Just goes to show you, she has garnered great respect during her service in the Senate on the Armed Services Committee.
She's Obama's right-hand support in dealing with these crises throughout the world.
This is a solid team; they will serve America with great distinction.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | December 1, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I concur with Andy3. I think you have a clear understanding of political issues. The Clintons wont be going away any time soon. And why not have Preseident Clinton make history as a senator. Ha, i could hear the pundits. It would open up a whole new politcal conversation.

Posted by: inch4inche | December 1, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Here's my prediction, to be filed in the "Keep Your Enemies Closer" folder for future review: In 4 years Joe Biden, who will be 70, will retire and bow out of a second term. Hillary will then become Obama's running mate in 2012. That will prevent her from trying to unseat Obama in 2012, and the trade-off for her is that it will all but ensure that she gets the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. What else have they been talking about for the past several weeks?

Posted by: BillB4 | December 1, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Enough already with this TMZ style political reporting. Obama and Clinton are "rivals" to the extent they ran a close campaign against each other. The campaign was close because they are ideological twins and the actual differences were petty. The "rivalry" at issue is generated by the hysterical antics of their respective bleachers from the the primaries, not by their competiting and distinct visions for the country.

Posted by: wharwood | December 1, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"The best and the brightest!" It's so refreshing to read that phrase connected with Washington, DC again!

Posted by: TESimonton | December 1, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"Results are all that matter ...
And not in a year or two ..."
Posted by: DwightCollins | December 1, 2008 12:24 PM
Dwight, after 8 years of the fiasco you supported, you don't have a leg to stand on.
Neither do the other Hillary-haters on these comment boards.
After the disaster their "heroes" wreaked on this country, the only option they have (no thanks to Reagan who shut down the mental institutions in this country, where they might have gotten treatment) is to grab up their tin cups and settle in under a highway overpass somewhere (preferably not in a city, but deep in the countryside) where they can rail against heaven and beg for pennies from paasers-by.
Their daze are over -- in 50 days, thank God.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | December 1, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

why did obama pick clinton? because he knows it will keep you clowns occupied sniffing sheets for the next 4(8) years while he and his administration get to work repairing the catastrophic damage that has been done to this country while you all giggled at your latest bushie nickname.

Posted by: mycomment | December 1, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

The analysis in this article is typical of the small-mindedness that passes for political reporting these days --the preoccupation with personal rivalries and shallow intrigues.

I look at Obama's efforts to include Clinton and the overall attempt to cast a wide net in search of the most competent and prominent voices out there as a sign that Obama is planning the biggest change in American foreign and domestic policy since FDR. He already said it, he disdains small-minded ideas that come from inter-party one-upmanship, he seeks revolutionary changes to fix, among other things, health care, the environment, energy, financial regulation, as well as a new approach to foreign affairs.

To successfully push change this big, he needs the support of all of the Democrats, most of the independents and some of the Republicans.

Posted by: aardman | December 1, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

In all of the larger political and professional organizations there are several leadership tracks - each of which is terminal. Hillary saw no path to the presidency or Senate Majority Leader. She took the next-best alternative, which is Secretary of State. It was a well-deserved and honorable choice.

Posted by: Marletter | December 1, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama appointed Hillary for a few reasons: to keep her from running in 2012 as an "I told you so" candidate after he fails as president and to prevent her from becoming Majority leader of the Senate where she can stop his legislative plans.

Why would she take it? Because he probably promised to retire her $20million campaign debt and because is 2016 she will be 70 years old and too old to run for President.

Senate is the highest she could go on the federal level and Hillary aspires to be more than Biden, Kennedy, Byrd or Rockerfeller. She will stay in Foggy Bottom for a few years then run for Governor of NY State.

Posted by: rightPOV | December 1, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

As an employee at the Department, I'm worried about her management skills. Other than the campaign, which was poorly managed, she has never managed anything.

What do you assume her campagin was ineffective?

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | December 1, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Their word as to Clinton's qualifications and ability is worth precisely nothing.
Because you say so?

Look at the idiot bremner, gold plate resume (same with Kissinger) yet not one success, not one, at all.

So, tell me, what makes a success?

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | December 1, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Yawn. I think Biden should be VP/SOS.

Posted by: soonerthought | December 1, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I recently read a column in the Washington Post that suggested the Govenor of NY appoint Bill Clinton to assume HRC's Senate seat.

There has been a historical precedent in which a former President served in the Senate (was it Adams?).

This'll give Mr. Clinton something to keep him occupied and allow him to exercise his considerable powers of persuasion for Obama's congressional initiatives.

Posted by: gauntowl | December 1, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

How about this scenario. Clinton takes the SoS job for the next four years then in 2012 we see an Obama/Clinton ticket?

Or even better Obama nominates Biden to the Supreme Court at the next opening. That opens up a spot for a VP who would sail through confirmation hearings. Enter Secretary Clinton.

Then in 2016 Clinton can run for one term with Mark Warner or someone else young for her VP. Then in 2020 that person runs alone.
You all may pooh-pooh this idea but trust me someone in the DNC is thinking about 2020 right now and if they aren't they should be.

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 1, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

It's a joy to hear bright, articulate, experienced, realistic appointees who are not simply rehashing faith-based or loyalty-based ideological talking points. Imagine the prospect of an intelligent government! After the last eight years, almost anything would be an improvement -- except for that nitwit from Alaska and the impulsive, pheromone-driven near flunk-out from the Naval Academy.

Posted by: frodot | December 1, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

When Ms. Clinton dismissed Mr. Obama’s foreign policy proposals as “naive,” there was an undeniable element of truth to her statement. In an increasingly complex world an executive’s willingness to delegate authority to more experienced specialists is essential.

The president elect has become quite fond of Roosevelt analogies. One of FDR’s more creative machinations was appointing Joe Kennedy, a man he considered a pain in the a$$, ambassador to Britain. In an era before intercontinental airline flights this was an effective way to isolate someone. Roosevelt came to regret this decision when Kennedy became a leading proponent of appeasement.

Posted by: dcn1 | December 1, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, i was happy to hear that Chris Matthews is running for the Penn Senate seat by Spector in 2010. This is very brillaint of soon to be Senator Matthews to run at this time. I thinks he has a STRONG shot at winning. Chris Matthews will be missed. It will be a tough fight for Spector to beat Matthews considering he's had health issues. Matthews will be missed.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | December 1, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Most of this commentary is recycled from several weeks worth of post-election Sunday talk shows' panel discussions among people who have spent the last two years of their lives following the Presidential campaign.

As such, it breaks no new ground. One question, though, ought to be asked: it may indeed be hard for Chris Cillizza to argue with Hillary Clinton's credentials or readiness to serve effectively as Secretary of State, but Cillizza covers political campaigns for a living. How the hell would he know?

People like Dean Acheson and Henry Kissinger became famous by making foreign policy. Hillary Clinton has now been offered the chance to make foreign policy because she is famous. Of course the people who live in Campaign World, where Clinton is a colossus, think she's qualified to do anything, including be Secretary of State -- but the truth of the matter is that most of these people don't know anything about foreign policy, or managing the State Department, or indeed very much about government beyond what is required in the context of election campaigns. Their word as to Clinton's qualifications and ability is worth precisely nothing.

Posted by: jbritt3 | December 1, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

As an employee at the Department, I'm worried about her management skills. Other than the campaign, which was poorly managed, she has never managed anything.

Posted by: Scotty6 | December 1, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

That picture cries out for a "caption me" contest.

Posted by: gbooksdc | December 1, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Why did Obama do this? Its because thats what an inexperienced, unqualified candidate is forced to do. He pays off the left who pulled out all the stops and left no ballot box stuffed with the almost complete re-assignment of the clinton administration.


This is Karl Rove, and Cheney, and the whole right wing tuna can, too.

Do you even see it?

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | December 1, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

The Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates picks could work for Obama and even for Hillary to fix the mistake for voting for the Iraq war.

1. If this team helps Obama end the war in Iraq fast it will reconcile her politcal future for a 2016 run.
2. By ending the War Obama and this team can take all the credit.
If Obama follows through ending the War, following the liberal agenda(wage increase, universal healthcare, jobs)
his presidency will be a success.
That will also rehabilitate Joe Biden and Hillary for historic reasons and a polital future. Obama will also secure his reelection for 2012.
The Republicans would not be able to stop him from reelection and getting the whitehouse back. He and his team really needs to accomplish those goals for a successful 4 years.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | December 1, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Why did Obama do this? Its because thats what an inexperienced, unqualified candidate is forced to do. He pays off the left who pulled out all the stops and left no ballot box stuffed with the almost complete re-assignment of the clinton administration.

Obama has no experience, no qualifications, no background. It is very likely that left to hi sown devices, most of his personal picks would very quickly be indicted. This way, he avoids that, and chooses the few of the clinton administration who evaded indictments and
some of the left is mollified.

Hmm, seems that during the silly season, the media - when they took time off from being on their knees - assured America that this elections was about CHANGE!

The only change America sees is left wing clintonites now being referred to as "conservative."

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | December 1, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Clinton is one of the most persuasive and leadership voices on how to put together a coalition of stakeholders to implement universal health care. She had business on board (they are going broke supporting employee health benefits), doctors on board (they are limited in their professional discretion and most health care profits go to micromanagement of insurance companies and their own malpractice insurance, and so on. When you build a reform package where a lot of the major players in the issue are stakeholders in your reform movement, that is a powerful force. HIllary Clinton was in a position to at minimum be a powerfully persuasive voice. While not as stark as health care, other domestic issues threatened to be dominated by the Clintons' influence.

Obama, by putting her in state, has taken Hillary Clinton and her husband off the domestic policy issues playing field. During the present economic crisis, it will be difficult to enact socialist style reforms, so any advances Obama wants to make toward a more left-wing domestic policy front has to be well-targeted and meaningful. He's more or less cleared the decks of domestic Health and Education policy centrists.

There is no point in Obama trying to make big lefty moves in economics and national security/international affairs via his appointments right now. He has to be centrist on account of the disasters he's faced with addressing and the crisis that have to be handled. Any lefty moves in economics and national security have to be scheduled for later (second administration?) after the country's dire position it is in right now has stabilized. If America were a hospital patient, the economy and national security problems would put it in the intensive care unit and so centrist approaches provide the greatest crisis-management and problem-solving opportunities.

When it comes to left-wing international affairs moves, Obama can achieve that by his very presidency (already symbolic in the world's imagination) and making new friends and opening new dialog with former standoffs. This is not something that is too left for the Clintons to excel at. It's not as if, in foreign affairs, Obama needs to or wants to go so far as to ally with Russia and denounce Western Europe as capitalist imperialist pigs. The Clintons can go as far left as Obama can reasonably want to go.

Obama's biggest challenge is to win a second term in a country facing multiple historic challenges and global dislocations of unprecedented nature wherein America's future roles in the global economy are uncertain. His best chance at succeeding is to put together an "A" team of potential winners. I.e. substance over ideology and politics.

His cabinet picks aren't all ideal but as a whole he's doing very well so far.

Posted by: AsperGirl | December 1, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office."
The position of Secretary of State was not created during the Clinton's period of public service.

Inasmuch as Clinton [obviously] never foresaw such a possible move while a US Senator, any challenge under the first portion would likely be interpreted by the courts in such a fashion so as not to be in conflict with the pay increase. This is especially true since she is not BOTH Secretary of State AND a US Senator simultaneously.

Posted by: | December 1, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"An Obama-Clinton Union: Why?"

Because H. Clinton is extraordinarily bright, and because H. Clinton is a very experienced politician, and because H. Clinton has the intelligence of acknowledging what she does not know, therefore she will select the most experienced people to advise her.

Face it, Chris, the era of mediocrity is over. You may be next on the "pink slip" sheet.

Posted by: Gatsby1 | December 1, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"she does represent the Dem. party as much as he does."

Um, no. He's the President. She isn't.

"or "there is conflict of interest due to salary increase"- meaning that all of the senators in the admin. are out- just get over hating her already."

This wasn't hating on her. This is asking a legal question. I'm fine with her being SOS, but I'm still curious about how this will play out.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 1, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

sushilverma -

Sec. of State is not third in line of succession, but fifth - speaker of the House and president pro tem of the Senate are third and fourth, respectively.

Posted by: doctorm | December 1, 2008 2:30 PM

Al Haig notwithstanding.....

Posted by: abqcleve | December 1, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"You cannot have a bipartisan foreign policy when the Secy. of State has a vendetta against Reublicans."

What an idiotic thing to say. If if Sen Clinton is waging this so-called vendetta against republicans, how do you imagine she would conduct it as Sec of State? More to the point, how would she use the position of Sec of State more effectively than as a Senator? Speaking of which, her Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle have had good things to say about her bipartisan nature within the Senate. In short, it seems you may be imagining something that does not exist in reality.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 1, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

ABQCLEVE, Lloyd Bentsen left the Senate to become SecTreas and took a paycut to a previous standard to avoid the operation of the clause. That was not tested in court.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 1, 2008 2:18 PM

Ah, as Walter Sobchak might say, "I did not know that." However, very telling that it was not tested, as you observe. Given the history of the far right to the Clintons, could you not see the Judicial Watch clowns testing this, not that anyone but them would think this to be a productive thing? I think the Bentsen "solution" sounds a little flimsy. We'll see.

Thanks again!

Posted by: abqcleve | December 1, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Clinton has some motivation to behave in this position. Mr. Obama will be the boss (make no mistake about that) and can fire her. Should that happen, Ms. Clinton will be out of the Senate, out of the administration, and off the stage. A strong team-oriented performance will greatly enhance her chances in 2016.

On a related issue, a lot of chatter relates to how the strong players who have been invited to be part of the new administration will be telling Mr. Obama what to do. This is a misreading. The new President intends to harness the diverse strengths and talents toward objectives that will in many cases be different from the positions previously favored by some of these individuals. Folks who don't want to work that way will be replaced.

Posted by: pmp2430-wp | December 1, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

One should not confuse the precampaign mode and postelection exigencies. We should be patient and see the results of the team as and when they function successfully or otherwise. All we do is showing our impatience for results with premature judgements.

Posted by: gvenkat46 | December 1, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

You cannot have a bipartisan foreign policy when the Secy. of State has a vendetta against Reublicans.
No, that was Karl Rove, Bush, Cheney, the idiot neocons.

And it failed.

Why in the world would Clinton imitate a failed, grandiose world vision of control, like Cheney, his dreams of a Nixonian revenge, laughable, severely harming the US?

It's failure, and speaks volumes of Cheney's intellect, doesn't it?

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | December 1, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

you failed to mention Chris... that because HRC went with racial dog whistles during the primary she lost much of her black support in the NYC Boroughs...., and would be really dead politically if she were to lose that seat, and also now the Governor of New York can name her replacement... hopefully a black Senator so we will have atleast one black Senator now that Obama has resigned his seat.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | December 1, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Smart move by Obama. Now he knows "all" about Hillary and Bill's life and finances. Smart move.

Posted by: msreginacomcastnet | December 1, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

it's perfect on several levels. one, Richardson is immensely qualified for Commerce, which actually calls for real administrative skills and expertise he has. Clinton's main qualification for State is simply that she's tough - that's hard to doubt no matter what else you think of her. she won't tell us she saw Putin's soul, that's for sure. and besides, when there's a cabinet meeting, they are all in the room, so you get Richarson's input on foreign affairs anyway. and finally, Obama want people in the room who disagree with him. Bush proved what happens when everyone is everyone else's yes man. Hillary is sure to speak her mind. Listening to those who disagree with you before you make a decision is always the best way to make any decision.

Posted by: JoeT1 | December 1, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

You cannot have a bipartisan foreign policy when the Secy. of State has a vendetta against Reublicans.

Posted by: gbooksdc | December 1, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

you all are forgetting:

a) she is massively qualified: she has the respect of foreign leaders and the depth of policy knowledge

b) This is not Carter picking Kennedy: She had just as many votes as he did for the nomination- losing politically rather than by popular vote- she does represent the Dem. party as much as he does. She also cooperated and played nice in a way that Saint Edward did not (in fact, neither did Dean, Bradley, or many other past losers without her status)

c)anyone who who doesn't like her for whatever reason and comes up with "some leaders don't respect women"- ruling out 52% of the population including 2/3 last SOSs; "she was wrong on Iraq"- as were Richardson and Kerry and Obama didn't vote on it or "there is conflict of interest due to salary increase"- meaning that all of the senators in the admin. are out- just get over hating her already. We are not going to get a brilliant lady as our first female president any time in the near future- isn't that enough for y'all?


Posted by: nycLeon | December 1, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

sushilverma -

Sec. of State is not third in line of succession, but fifth - speaker of the House and president pro tem of the Senate are third and fourth, respectively.

Posted by: doctorm | December 1, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

He did it simply to neutralize Bill Clinton. Now every speech by Bill has to be cleared by ---
his wife. He can't do anything without his wife giving the OK. She's got him in her tight little fist. That's why she took the job. Oh, and one more -- she's getting too old to be El Presidente. Won't look good on TV in eight years.

Posted by: RFN8143 | December 1, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"ABQCLEVE, Lloyd Bentsen left the Senate to become SecTreas and took a paycut to a previous standard to avoid the operation of the clause. That was not tested in court."

Jeez. You know everything!

Posted by: DDAWD | December 1, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

As Secretary of State she will be third in line of succession, the closest she would ever come to the presidency.

Posted by: sushilverma | December 1, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

It's just so typical that the media analysts can't rise above pundit-level analysis and see what's in front of them.

If Obama delivers peace and prosperity, then he's done his job.

The Clintons are best positioned to help him pursue his peace initiatives.

The media - and I understand that you folks have to keep writing about the same stuff to keep the ad revenue coming in - keeps taking its eye off the ball and keeps personalizing situations.

Play the ball, not the people.

We have real challenges that need to be addressed. The days of bloodsport and taking our eyes off Bin Ladin so we can persecute the Clintons are OVER.

Posted by: jrob822 | December 1, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

ABQCLEVE, Lloyd Bentsen left the Senate to become SecTreas and took a paycut to a previous standard to avoid the operation of the clause. That was not tested in court.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 1, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

What was the bill that raised the salaries of Cabinet officials? Was it passed before 2007? Then it might be ok since Hillary would be on a different term.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 1, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

To: OrlandoNan--

Are you on medication???

Such nonsensical blather.

Posted by: twilson66 | December 1, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse


• A Judicial system bypassed by state-funded citizen vigilantes must be restored

Barack Obama has acted decisively to co-opt and disarm a potential silent coup that could bring down his presidency or insidiously subvert it from within.

Ideologues have hijacked federally-funded programs intended to "keep America safe" and have employed these programs in a campaign to stifle individuals and groups deemed as threats to their peculiar world view.

Obama realizes this. Perhaps more than most politicians, Joe Biden, a man with knowledge of the inner workings of law enforcement, knows this to be true.

Hence, the wise decision to retain Robert Gates at Defense (with him comes Admiral Mullen and General Patreaus); to appoint Jim Jones as national security advisor; and, to complete the insurance policy against seditious acts, the installation of Hillary Clinton as SecState -- gaining Obama the active support of a former President with a demonstrated ability to survive political intrigues.

While the media focuses on the "team of rivals" strategy as a way to exploit "the best and the brightest," pundits may be missing the bigger picture: Obama's pressing need to consolidate his power as he attempts to restore the rule of law in a nation whose judicial system has been usurped on the local level by a federally-funded vigilante network.

Under George W. Bush, urgent pleas to the FBI, intake unit for the Civil Rights Divison of the Justice Department, to take action against "vigilante injustice" have seen no demonstrable results (DEPUTY DIRECTOR JON MILLER, ARE YOU LISTENING?)...

OR RE: "American Gestapo"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 1, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

There is one potentially enormous Plus, Senator Clinton
could bring to the SoS position. In the last year of the
Clinton Presidency, an Israeli-Palestinian deal came within
inches of success.

If she could restart that process, using President Clinton
as a bulwark in negotiation, she could qualify for the
Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted by: patb | December 1, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution prohibits legislators from raising the salary of a cabinet position and then taking the position. The Senate that Hillary was a part of raised the salary of the Secretary of State last year....
Posted by: websmith1 | December 1, 2008 1:22 PM

Interesting point. I have to admit, I doubted this statement, so I looked it up: "(The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.) (The preceding words in parentheses were modified by the 27th Amendment which modified how legislators can enact pay raises.)....No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office."

I can't think of how Senator Clinton gets around this. I would appear to disqualify her. Anyone have knowledge of how this does not apply in Clinton's case????

Posted by: abqcleve | December 1, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Why Obama Clinton? I'll tell you why. In politics there's the old saying: "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer."

From that, we can say that Obama is a very smart guy.

Posted by: simonleonard | December 1, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

By putting Hillary Clinton in the state department, Obama takes the Clintons with all their baggage, and puts them into one compartment within the Federal government in which there are numerous checks and balances from the White House, the Congress, the UN and elsewhere. He also co-opts the Israeli lobby, which could potentially derail any Middle East peace initiative, because they trust her more than they trust him. If she had stayed in the Senate, she would have behaved like free-range poultry, pecking at anything she thought was interesting and occasionally laying an egg. This is a really good move which will pay big dividends in the years to come, because it will harness the "good" side of her to the benefit of the American people.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | December 1, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Some of the posters here seem to forget that Hillary's job will not be to make policy, but to implement the policy made by President Obama.

Posted by: thrh | December 1, 2008 1:24 PM |

Agree totally. Wonder what promises given or implied made to Hillary? Sec. States do not seem to stay long in that job.

I do see a Good Guy/Bad Guy role between Barack and Hillary on some foreign policy issues, with Hillary doing the Bad Guy role when needed.

Posted by: Spectator | December 1, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Why do people still think that Hillary and Bill work as a team? They came together as a show of unity for the presidential campaign, but now will go back to leading the more or less separate lives they have led for the past 8 years.

If anything, the campaign showed just how wide and vast the split was...her people don't even really talk to his people...

Posted by: squatty2 | December 1, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I do not doubt that, among the thousands of issues to be dealt with, there may be a few times where Secretary Clinton will make a comment that President Obama disagrees with. And how that will work out is that the President will clarify policy for the Secretary of State, the media will make a big deal out of it, the Secretary of State will get back on message.

I was concerned that Obama would surround himself with adulatory yes-men and yes-women (like many of his online supporters are), as Bush Jr. did. He's showing more leadership and better judgement than I expected.

Clinton has learned from past mistakes. Anyone who watched the campaign knows she is someone who can get media attention and who can hold her ground against the strongest opposition; these are very useful qualities for a secretary of state, and qualities other potential candidates just don't have to the same degree.

While party unity is not the most important criterion, it is useful, and as a tremendous gesture of goodwill to the moderate half of the party which includes a lot of ex-Reagan Democrats, this will help the administration get their agendas through Congress.

Posted by: lartfromabove | December 1, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

From his perspective: Keep your friends close, keep your enemies even closer. She and Bill have to give up so much to take this on that she will have a terribly difficult time bailing out and running for President again in 2012...
From her perspective: If Obama screws up, she will by then have been a Senator AND Sec of State and in the latter role can blame all mistakes on him, so she will really be the inevitable nominee in 2012 if he screws up or 2016 if he does not.

Posted by: DorothyfromColumbus | December 1, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Impeachment of Bush would shake up this match appropriately and put foreign policy as it is legally required to be, in proper perspective. Impeachment is on the table, and due.

Posted by: ELLISLIZA | December 1, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

This is a team designed to engage problems around the world through diplomatic means, reflecting Obama's oft-cited preference for dialogue over military incursion. Whether the world will accept it as such, or see it merely as an effort to obscure from view America's imparative need to rebuild its exhausted military, remains to be seen.

Posted by: thewolf1 | December 1, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

On a interview with an author of a recently published book, "The Ayatollah begs to differ" by Hamman Majd, Terry Gross of Fresh Air on NPR back in September, played a clip of a translation of a speech delivered by Ahmadinajad of Iran addressing the United Nations, Hamman Majd's translation, with, a quote that to me was a stand=out, "All sovereign countries should stay within their boundaries and WALK IN THE PATH OF GOD." Certainly it is a given he considers IRAN a sovereign country. He is telling the world who he is as a leader, and that GOD is the given path, for proper religion and human relations and even international relations. Call God whatever name you want, Allah, God, Creator, or, even as Benjamin Franklin put it, "Oh, Powerful Goodness!" was what Franklin implored daily as inspiration while diaring early every morning. Certainly we are not doing that with the current improper use of political appointments entirely lacking proper view of diplomacy as HONOR and RESPECT due. We do not tell Iran how to talk to Israel. We do have the duty to speak honorably to both Israel and Iran and stay out of the dialogue, which I believe is provoked and offended by involvement with nukes. It is heinous. Hillary is a very poor choice for proper policy. Peace is not even recognizeable with a hawk as a supposed viable policy. It is not viable and she offers no peace talk. Neither did Condi Rice. Both are despicable warmongers who endanger and destroy what is certainly worth respect. Ahmadinjad's words are not just words, they are his policy for Iran, and Hillary owes the shut up she deserves, and also the castigation of Obama for picking a policy maker who does not match his claims before election. The Democrats do not offer peace, they offer sleeze, and the Republicans are no better. Not with the supposed frontrunner, which I know many Republicans did not want. McCain does not understand proper policy for peace and diplomacy or international law, anymore than Obama. Proper behavior, urged by Ahmadinjad is correct. Oh I know how upsetting that is to the predatory Hillarys and Obamas of the world. We do not want them, those of us who like the planet and the supposed Global Community supported by the honor due the United Nations.

Posted by: ELLISLIZA | December 1, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Some of the posters here seem to forget that Hillary's job will not be to make policy, but to implement the policy made by President Obama.

Posted by: thrh | December 1, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Overthinking this can lead to missing the obvious and is an insult to Clinton. The fact is that she is likely to be a better and tougher negotiator on the world stage than Kerry or Richardson.

Isn't it just possible that she was the best person for the job? I think that for Obama, competence trumps symbolism.

Posted by: stratzrus | December 1, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution prohibits legislators from raising the salary of a cabinet position and then taking the position. The Senate that Hillary was a part of raised the salary of the Secretary of State last year.

We found out what happens when you get swept off of your feet with Bush who used terror as his broom. Instead of getting swept off of our feet with Obama's smile, we should remember that out loyalty is to the country and keep an eye on this guy.

The government is being handed to the Fed. Geithner, Volker, and Summers are from the Fed and Hillary is supported by the Rothchilds who are major stockholders. These people want war so wealth can be transferred. The last time we got swept off of our feet, we entered into an illegal war and transferred a trillion dollars of taxpayer wealth to the military industrial complex. Now we are in the process of transferring trillions more to the Fed and the Fed associated banks with the bank bailout. Hillary may have traveled the world at taxpayer expense, but she has no foreign policy experience.

Posted by: websmith1 | December 1, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

This Clinton/Obama drama is entirely created by the media to sell copy. The Clintons are professional politicians and they know the role of the SOS better than any of us do. The SOS carries out the policies of the President. The idea of Hillary going Rogue on Obama is just silly.

She has spent her entire life serving this country ever since her time on the Watergate Committee as a young lawyer.

She took the job because her chances of being Prez are now probably lost, which is the only reason she became Senator. Now, she wants to do something interesting, and what could be more fascinating for a public servant than restoring America's place in the world?

Posted by: JonnyGoneWest | December 1, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

How about: Obama thought Clinton was the best person for the job?

Posted by: ejs2 | December 1, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I wish this article hadn't told me what every other political blog has been saying for the past two weeks.

Surely a national paper can find a blogger who can do more than simply troll others' work.

Posted by: jakfish | December 1, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Hillary went to Iraq and came back with nothing to offer during the frontrunner Obama and Hillary done by the media. Obama had a press conference scheduled, and a reporter noted indeed it did look as if she was playing her version of politics when she refused comment, between the lines it was due to wanting to play against Obama, not to offer any truth, which, of course, was a question. Did she have anything to offer regarding her visit to Iraq then? She smiled and sealed her lips, and the reporter, at least, said, "Sure, and the dog ate my homework." He was disappointed, because he believed she was supposed to know and say something, or why was she there?" Therein lies the rub. Why is she there, here, and intending her lack of policy entirely, and hawk is the POST want, not the public want, and the truth is sleeze worthless politics is before us and lack of proper policy is the extreme offense in front of everyone, yes, everyone. Force her to comment, force it, force the truth, she has nothing to offer diplomacy, politics, or truth.

Status of Women? I say, nothing there. She is unqualified and she knows it. She will smile and sleeze out of commenting. Force a proper comment on what she expects to achieve with her hawk claims! Peace? Who sees that. Certainly not Iran.

Oh yes, I hated Condelezza Rice. Rice was cause for impeaching Bush, and I am still on that page as entirely justified. Bush wars were illegal and against all proper policy and law.

Posted by: ELLISLIZA | December 1, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I suppose I could never be a President because (1) I wouldn't take clues from a bad, discredited historian, and (2) I wouldn't bring anyone into my Administration who (more or less, in code) wanted someone to get rid of me.

Posted by: rusty3 | December 1, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Get over it, people. Move your butts out of the wagon, get down in the mud and start pushing!

Posted by: katie8 | December 1, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Early in the 2008 election campaign, when asked by a major TV network host, what she would do with foreign policy if elected president, she happily and glibly said, "I will ask my advisors!" No clue. When she was heavy in front with Obama because the FIX and other such media frontrunners put them there instead of the public, willfully ignoring objections, consistently, the Post reporter (not this one) disappointed in the hyped Hillary as supposedly worthy when all she did was go there with their hype, as her catapult, not much but that, then returning and knowing Obama was holding a press conference, asked for comment, she smiled her Hillary nothing to offer by hype political sleeze smile, that's Hillary all the way, plus a bimbo wife of no policy tendered, just figuring her husband must have had a reason for his whitewashed by the media hawk postures which she thinks works because oh yes, look where she is works doesn't it, according to her it does, according to those of us who utterly hate her, I am there, it does not work, it is proof of who they are, both Obama and Hillary, hawk is not welcome, not wanted, not by anyone but the likes of the POST, for no reason. Why does Israel have nuclear weapons? Why would Iran be mad? Why is the U.S. so in their faces and refusing the proper view of religious freedom and tolerance and no military offensives wanted or welcome in any religion's proper view? No clue. Hillary smiles and bites her tongue, and then, when put up as if ok, then she says hawk works for her. It does not work for the world, it is over, and not welcome and the U.S. needs the change of peace policy due for everyone, 911 is over, Iran could care less, I do not blame them. Hillary is a bimbo taking a position she is entirely unsuited for. Diplomacy is hardly hawk status, but the Post loves it, the Post hates public majority rule, they rule and so do the bimbo hawks like Hillary, until the Public learns how to stop this. "Monster" yes, she is that. That was accurate. (Harvard Professor who accused Hillary of stooping to nothing as nothing is too low for her to claim heights in politics according, I say, media powermongers against proper policy, proper religious behavior, proper international law. Does Hillary know nukes are ILLEGAL world-wide?!! For good reason? Does she have any sanity, no, monsters do not practice good policy or sanity. Honor the ABM treaty as a top agenda, that would be a good secretary of state, the Post doesn't want that. They think this is fun. It is not.

Posted by: ELLISLIZA | December 1, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget- not only does Clinton have previous international experience (more than almost anyone else but her husband), but she also is a woman and will help round out Obama's team that way. Obama will not have much patience for any country that does not want to deal with a person based upon the gender or skin color with which the person was born.

Posted by: netnuevo | December 1, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

We need to have faith in Obama's judgment. As a NY'er, i voted for HRC twice. However, i supported Obama for president because of my positive perception of his leadership skills and judgment; not his experience. So far, most experts on both sides have positive commentary on these leadership and judgment criterion.
There are many arguments for her; unity, prestige, access to world leaders, and experience. There are equal arguments against her; lack of management ability, incorrect positions on foreign policy issues, divisiveness, and lack of experience.
We should assume that it is the correct decision until proven otherwise.

Posted by: ielmar | December 1, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The fact that many of Obama's supporters have difficulty hearing is that there is no big political difference between Obama and the Clintons. Obama, described his foreign policy objectives today. There was nothing in his high level goals that either Hillary or Bill Clinton would disagree with. Inevitably there will be some difference in the details. But there is no reason to expect big disagreements between Hillary Clinton and Obama on anything having to do with foreign policy.
I doubt it was the major reason for Obama's choice. But I do suspect that there is more potential for disagreement between Obama and Clinton on domestic policy. The Obama difference is his focus on effective change rather than ideology or Democratic Party special interests. In the cases where there is some conflict between traditional Democratic Party interests and effective change, Obama will have a tricky path to navigate to both protect the interests of his supporters but still pursue changes that are not totally aligned with their desires. There is some potential for Hillary Clinton to be more attached to some of the traditional Democratic Party special interests and for that attachment to complicate an already difficult Obama task.

Posted by: dnjake | December 1, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

don't care who does what...
what matters is what they do for us...
fix the economy...
find jobs for us...
results are all that matter...
and not in a year or two...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 1, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Funny blast from the past:


Across 90 minutes, the fierce competition between the two Iowa front-runners shone through only once _ when Obama was asked how he could offer a new type of foreign policy since several of his advisers once worked for President Clinton.

Hillary Clinton laughed out loud at that, and said with a smile, "I'm looking forward to hearing that."

Obama, also smiling, waited for the laughter to die down before saying, "Hillary, I'm looking forward to you advising me as well."

Posted by: novamatt | December 1, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Do we know who remains in the running for DNI? Adm. Blair? CIA? Hagel?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 1, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Thrilled to see her in place. He is more like a figurehead now, and HRC rocks and rolls. Hope she does well and runs next time - Hillary the world awaits.
Congratulations, we salute you. Change? Snicker - off with the dopey slogans and back to the Clintons. Fine by me. Jones is a winner too.
(Joe who??)

Posted by: OrlandoNan | December 1, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I stated my reservations about HRC on a previous thread. They were FP issues. I also concur that she has not demonstrated management talent. HOwever, I must add that the press focus on personality /perceived internal grievances is silly.

What stands out here is the concept of "rolling out" appointees in teams. BHO has performed well during this interregnum. As one of his critics, the WaPo's own Mr. Krauthammer has noted, BHO has an apprpriate temperament for this job.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 1, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

It gets her out of the way if political necessity forces a less than 100% universal health care coverage bill to Obama's desk, and it gives Hillary 2 years of high profile (hopefully) successes for when she runs for governor of New York.

Posted by: tcryer | December 1, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Please let this insane rivalry die. Hillary Clinton will make an excellent Secretary of State. Barack Obama will make an excellent President. Hillary Haters and Obama Outcasts give it a rest. Time to fix America.

Posted by: scrappyc20001 | December 1, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton name still has a lot of international capital, while the United States is currently bereft of international capital. This appointment is an immediate interjection of credibility on the world stage.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 1, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Re "On the practical level, it's hard to argue with her credentials .."

As freedom41 notes, it's quite easy to argue the credentials question.

Those who say she is a great choice for SOS slough over the details of what they believe make her such.

What are the specifics of her experience and demonstrated wisdom that place her on a par with Richardson, Kerry and others who are much more experienced than she on national security issues?

What would she bring to the table re Iraq and Afghanistan that would enable her to participate as a full partner in policy discussions where Biden, Gates, and Jones will be prominent participants?

Is she best qualified to deal with Israel/Palestine? Iran? If so, why?

What will be the effect of her lack of management experience in dealing with the complexities of the Department of State?

Is her vote for the Iraq war resolution and her not credible explanation of what led her to it a matter of no consequence?

Posted by: myers131 | December 1, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

State is already such a mess...I certainly hope Obama knows what he's doing. One hopes he sees capability and experience on her resume, because I sure don't. If she runs State like her own campaign, we're in deep trouble.

Posted by: possum_pouch | December 1, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse





Putting Hillary anywhere near the line of sucession is COMPLETE INSANITY.





Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 1, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse


- Hillary: "I voted for the Iraq war because I trusted Bush's intelligence".
- Obama: "Voting for the Iraq war proved Hillary's bad judgement".


- Hillary: "Iran's National Guard is a terrorist organization. Let's obliterate Iran".
- Obama: "Let's talk to Ahmadinejad, no preconditions".


- Hillary: "Talking to foreign dictators diminishes the Presidency".
- Obama: "Hillary, please make sure everything is ready for my NO-PRECONDITIONS meeting with Chavez".


- Hillary: "Let's have a tax holiday on gasoline; let's make Big Oil pay for those taxes".
- Obama: "Hillary's tax holiday is a fraud".


- Hillary: "I was greeted by sniper fire in Bosnia".
- Obama: "I attended elementary school in Indonesia".


- Hillary: "You know, it's the President's duty to answer that call".
- Obama: "Joe, answer that damn phone!!!"

Posted by: tropicalfolk | December 1, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Amused by these comments, which imply that Richardson is more politically competent than Clinton. How many delegates did he manage to get again? The Hillary haters still apparently have a reason to wake up in the morning. It's a beautiful thing.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | December 1, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Good grief! Give it a rest, people. Some of you (The WaPo, included) seem to want to continue fighting the longest primary campaign in our nation's history. The president-elect has the smart to invite one of the hardest workers in American politics to join his team and help transform our image here at home and abroad. Obama and Clinton are taking a chance on working together. The rest of us need to offer our prayers and support their efforts. Let's pack away the name-calling and hatred with our campaign posters and buttons, because our new leadership team needs us working together and not fighting each other.

Posted by: tlc20011 | December 1, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

While Bill Richardson would have been an excellent choice too, I feel very comfortable with him at Commerce. We can't forget that the economy is still our number one issue.

As a package, having Governor Richardson at Commerce and Senator Clinton as Secretary of State is the strongest team.

Posted by: amaikovich | December 1, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

This is an insane appointment. Michelle should walk out her marriage.

Posted by: lockmallup | December 1, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Actually, it's very easy to argue with Clinton's credentials. She seems to be a horrible manager (witness her campaign), an untested quantity in negotiations (but her healthcare fiasco doesn't bode well), and has a knack for putting her own ego before the interests of country or party (her final campaign speech, her refusals to congratulate Obama after his primary victories).

Posted by: freedom41 | December 1, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Well, now she will have an opportunity to talk to government leaders instead of their wives and make her experience match what she claimed during the campaign.

But Richardson was the resume candidate. He's already talked to key players and doesn't bring her self-serving baggage.

Posted by: GWGOLDB | December 1, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

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