President-elect Barack Obama named Hillary Clinton, his formal rival and the former first lady, as the new secretary of state today. Clinton, who will replace Condoleezza Rice as the nation’s top diplomat, will represent the nation’s foreign policy.
Obama called Clinton a “tough opponent,” and said she will command respect all over the world.
The announcement came as Obama introduced his security team, which included Robert Gates, who is the Bush administration’s defense secretary. Gates agreed to remain in the job.
The Clinton appointment had been expected for more than a week: President-elect Obama met with Clinton over a week ago in Chicago. During his interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” recently, Obama coyly dodged questions regarding their conversation. However, several Washington insiders had speculated that Clinton was indeed offered the position.
In the last few days, the Obama transition team has worked with both Senator Clinton and former President Bill Clinton on disclosing their complicated personal finances including the funding of his foundation.
The Obama team had promised that an official announcement would be made after the Thanksgiving holiday.
When asked about Obama’s choice, Reverend Jesse Jackson told ESSENCE.com, “It’s a great choice that represents sound judgment. She will be following his directives and his direction but their views are generally quite compatible. She has great popular appeal just as he does; they will make a strong team. President Bush and Secretary Rice drove us into a narrow world view. President-elect Obama and Hillary are sure to revive our global vision for foreign policy.”
Editor of TheDailyVoice.com, Keith Boykin, was once an aide under the Clinton administration. He recently wrote an article in The Daily Voice about the possibility of Clinton’s new role as secretary of state.
“She’s an excellent choice. She’s tough and brings a world of experience having met everyone in the world,” says Boykin. “I can imagine her negotiating with Vladimir Putin in Russia or sitting down with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. She’s the best possible choice. Obama is smart to tap her into his cabinet.”
Congressman James Clyburn, who endorsed Obama in the presidential election, supports the president-elect’s decision and believes Clinton’s grasp of international issues makes her a capable candidate.
“She has demonstrated as first lady an ability to interact on an international stage. If she has accepted the secretary of state position, her selection would allow President-elect Obama to fulfill his promise to turn the page on partisan wrangling.”
Additional reporting by Jenisha Watts and Lauren Blassingame