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Clinton endorses Clinton as Barack Obama's secretary of state

November 18, 2008 |  2:22 am

It may come as a huge surprise for everyone that ex-President Bill Clinton thinks that ex-First Lady Hillary Clinton would be a "really great" secretary of state in the new administration.

His reaction comes amid unsourced reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering his former Democratic primary rival for the post of chief U.S. diplomat. She's said she just wants to be the best possible New York senator, which is what you're supposed to say until accepting the next job.

Ex president Bill Clinton indicates it would be a smart move to name his wife Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in a new Barack Obama administration

She's been noncommittal herself about the State Department assignment, but added coyly that she wants to do everything to ensure the Obama administration is a success.

H. Clinton would bring instant overseas name recognition to the post and being in the cabinet would foreclose any public second-guessing from the peanut gallery on Capitol Hill.

With a Democrat in Albany as New York governor ready to appoint a Democrat replacement, a sudden Senate vacancy there would not threaten the party's newly enlarged majority in Washington.

And having his wife as secretary of state wouldn't exactly hinder B. Clinton's access to officials and potential donors overseas either. Not that that would ever cross anyone's mind.

Obama came under some fairly strong intra-party criticism last ...

... summer for his transparently insincere talk about considering Clinton as his Democratic running mate. He was quoted admitting to one Clinton sympathizer his concern about "complications" with Hillary. That complication was spelled B-i-l-l.

How many ex-presidents does it take to change a White House lightbulb?

So especially after the New York senator genuinely worked so hard for his election all fall (despite tepid Obama help retiring her campaign debts, as promised), it is in Obama's longterm interests to provide at least the seemingly sincere consideration now of including her in this century's first Democratic cabinet.

Obama and Clinton met secretly in Chicago last Friday. Monday word leaked that there could be "complications" about the financing of Hillary's husband's global initiative.

B. Clinton has not gotten around to disclosing what foreign companies, individuals, maybe even governments have contributed to his good work and could create a potential conflict if his wife was the top American diplomat.

Now comes word that ex-ambassador, current governor, lifelong Latino Bill Richardson is also in the running for State. Obama owes Richardson big-time for his perfectly timed endorsement during the primary season, rejecting entreaties to at least remain neutral during friendly Super Bowl snacking with the president who gave him so many plum jobs.

Of course, the question hangs in the air, with a Clinton or Clinton people as Obama's head of transition, economic advisors, labor advisors, defense advisors, chief of staff, legal counsel, potential secretary of Treasury and State and who knows what else, is this the change from a Bush III administration or a change to a Clinton III administration?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Associated Press

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