While Sen. Hillary Clinton has been discussed as a possible contender for various appointments in an Obama administration, her name didn’t officially enter the short list of those reportedly under consideration to serve as Obama’s secretary of state until today. The Washington Post reports:
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 may 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.
While the appointment might rub some Obama partisans still bitter over the prolonged nomination battle the wrong way, Hillary Clinton would have many advantages for the post. The Clintons are revered and familiar faces abroad, the appointment would please her own partisans, and one of the most coveted cabinet jobs would go to a woman.
It also would solve one possible problem. Senate staffers say if Obama picks Sen. John Kerry to be secretary of state, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) would be next in line to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and that might cause the new administration something of a problem, as Feingold has voted differently from Obama and Biden on key issues in the committee.
Similarly, if Obama asks Robert Gates to stay on as Secretary of Defense (for a year or more), he might not want to give a second top cabinet post to a Republican, that is, retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel. Every appointment has its repercussions.
And that sometimes makes it hard to figure out what moves are under way. But more to come as we hear it.