Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State?!
The big political news this morning is the buzz surrounding speculation that Hillary Clinton could be tabbed as Secretary of State.
Politico’s Mike Allen:
Several Obama transition advisers are strongly advocating Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for secretary of state, a move that would create the ultimate “Team of Rivals” Cabinet, according to officials involved in the discussions.
President-elect Obama has narrowed the possibilities for secretary of state, and Clinton is among those being strongly considered, the officials said. Some even call her the favorite.
It is not known what Obama himself thinks of the idea. But the fact that it is being entertained within his camp shows how much things have changed in the months since he defeated her for the Democratic nomination in a protracted primary marathon.
Al Kamen and Philip Rucker, WaPo:
There’s increasing chatter in political circles that the Obama camp is not overly happy with the usual suspects for secretary of state these days and that the field might be expanding somewhat beyond Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and maybe former Democratic senator Sam Nunn of Georgia.
There’s talk, indeed, that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) may now be under consideration for the post. Her office referred any questions to the Obama transition; Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to comment.
The pick of the former presidential contender and Senate Armed Services Committee member would go a long way toward healing any remaining divisions within the Democratic Party after the divisive primaries. Also, Clinton has long been known for her work on international women’s issues and human rights. The former first lady could also enhance Obama’s efforts to restore U.S. standing amongst allies worldwide.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell:
Two Obama advisers have told NBC News that Hillary Clinton is under consideration to be secretary of state. Would she be interested? Those who know Clinton say possibly. But her office says that any decisions about the transition are up to the president-elect and his team.
Clinton was seen taking a flight to Chicago today, but an adviser says it was on personal business. It is unknown whether she had any meeting or conversation with Obama while there.
Other Democrats known to want the State Department post are Sen. John Kerry and Gov. Bill Richardson. A possible compromise choice would be former Sen. Tom Daschle.
Clinton is from the Chicago area, so I wouldn’t read much into the trip.
While a “Team of Rivals” concept is a good one, Clinton for State isn’t. She’s simply not qualified. Aside from some dog-and-pony show trips as First Lady and Senator, she’s got no foreign policy credentials whatsoever. Her training, experience, and demonstrated interests are in domestic issues.
Nunn would be the most interesting of the above picks, followed by Richardson and Hagel. Only Daschle makes less sense than Clinton.
In terms of a fence mending make-nice move, she’s too old for a Supreme Court appointment, which would otherwise be attractive. I’m not sure there are any other Cabinet jobs that would be particularly attractive, given her stature and presumptive competitiveness for Majority Leader once Harry Reid steps down.
UPDATE: Slate’s Emily Yoffe has a brilliant and amusing observation:
I wonder if the Obama administration would waive the 63-item questionnaire all potential administration officials are required to fill out before naming Hillary secretary of state. There are so many questions that might be troublesome, from No. 6, concerning “whether you or your spouse” ever received money from any foreign entities (See Bill’s amazing Kazakhstan adventure), to No. 8, asking for a description of the “most controversial matters you have ever been involved in,” to No. 12, “Please identify all speeches you have given” to my favorite, No. 13, in which the candidate is asked to describe any electronic communication they have ever sent that might be “a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President-Elect.” There isn’t enough bandwith in the world for Hillary to attach all the documents that answer these questions.