Hillary Clinton World Bank President?

Hillary Clinton is actively lobbying to be the next president of the World Bank, Reuters reports.

Hillary Clinton is actively lobbying to be the next president of the World Bank, Reuters reports.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in discussions with the White House about leaving her job next year to become head of the World Bank, sources familiar with the discussions said on Thursday.

The former first lady and onetime political rival to President Barack Obama quickly became one of the most influential members of his Cabinet after she began her tenure at State in early 2009.

She has said publicly she did not plan to stay on at the State Department for more than four years. Associates say Clinton has expressed interest in having the World Bank job should the bank’s current president, Robert Zoellick, leave at the end of his term, in the middle of 2012.

“Hillary Clinton wants the job,” said one source who knows the secretary well. A second source also said Clinton wants the position. A third source said Obama had already expressed support for the change in her role. It is unclear whether Obama has formally agreed to nominate her for the post, which would require approval by the 187 member countries of the World Bank.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney denied the discussions. “It’s totally wrong,” he told Reuters. A spokesman for Clinton, Philippe Reines, denied Clinton wanted the job, had conversations with the White House about it or would accept it.

People familiar with the situation, told of the denials from the White House and State Department, reaffirmed the accuracy of the report.

Revelations of the discussions could hurt Clinton’s efforts as America’s top diplomat if she is seen as a lame duck in the job at a time of great foreign policy challenges for the Obama administration.

So, we have three anonymous people saying she wants the job and two known people denying it. Presumably, that means a 60 percent chance she’s taking the job.

Seriously, it’d be a good move for Clinton. The World Bank presidency is a plum job with substantial prestige and pomp but much less scrutiny than her current gig. And she’d have a job regardless of the outcome of the 2012 election.

I’m a bit puzzled by the notion that vying for the World Bank presidency would render her a lame duck, given that she’s already announced that she won’t serve in a second Obama term. She’s already a lame duck.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bandit says:

    Hand it to her – she continues to fail upward.

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    Clinton denies this, FYI.

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Alex: Yes, her spokesman denied it already at the time of the Reuters report. The thing is, people routinely deny their interest in another job until they take it. Coaches are NEVER considering that job from that more prestigious school. Governors are NEVER running for president. Cabinet officers are NEVER angling for a better gig. Until they are.