Hillary emerges as US State department candidate
Chicago, November 14, 2008
Senator Hillary Clinton emerged on Thursday as a candidate to be US secretary of state for Barack Obama, months after he defeated her in an intense contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Putting Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, in the position could help heal whatever lingering divisions remain in the Democratic Party after her bitter battle with Obama.
Obama passed over Clinton as his vice presidential running mate in favor of Senator Joe Biden, a decision that angered her ardent supporters and widened a rift in the party that Obama and Clinton later worked hard to heal.
Her selection as top US diplomat could also mean a more hawkish foreign policy than that advocated by Obama during his presidential campaign.
On the campaign trail, Clinton was more reluctant than Obama to commit to a firm timetable for withdrawing US troops from Iraq.
But both Obama and Clinton were adamant about improving the image of the United States abroad and correcting what they considered the 'failed policies' of the outgoing Bush administration.
Clinton was described by her office as having flown to Chicago on Thursday on personal business.
Neither her aides nor aides to President-elect Obama would say whether she was interviewed for the job by Obama, who spent a great part of the day behind closed doors in transition meetings at his Chicago office.
'Any speculation about cabinet or other administration appointments is really for President-elect Obama's transition team to address,' said Clinton's senior adviser, Philippe Reines.
NBC News and The Washington Post reported that Clinton was under consideration for the top US diplomatic position.
This would mean Obama was expanding his search beyond other candidates mentioned for the job, such as Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Democrat who lost the 2004 presidential election to George W. Bush, and Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican who backed Obama over Republican John McCain this year.
CNN reported that on Monday night, while walking into an awards ceremony in New York, Clinton was asked if she would consider taking a post in the Obama administration. It did not sound like she ruled it out.
'I am happy being a senator from New York, I love this state and this city. I am looking at the long list of things I have to catch up on and do. But I want to be a good partner and I want to do everything I can to make sure his agenda is going to be successful,' Clinton said.
The former first lady had argued during the Democratic primary campaign that Obama was too inexperienced to be president.
But they mended fences and during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, she declared that 'Barack Obama is my candidate and he must be our president.'
Analyst Paul Light of New York University's John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress said picking Clinton would mean Obama was serious about reaching across the party divide.-Reuters