November 24th, 2008
02:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Analysis: Emerging players in Obama's national security team

Sen. Hillary Clinton is on track to be Secretary of State, say sources.

Sen. Hillary Clinton is on track to be Secretary of State, say sources.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - When the phone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House during a crisis, President Barack Obama won't lack for advice. But the question may be whose advice will be the loudest?

Obama's potential national security team looks like an all-star lineup: Sen. Hillary Clinton is on track, sources say, to be secretary of state; Defense Secretary Robert Gates may stay on; and retired Gen. Jim Jones is a leading candidate for national security adviser.

And according to The New York Times, retired Adm. Dennis Blair may be named as director of national intelligence. He did a tour of duty at the CIA, and his expertise is clandestine military operations.

Observers may wonder if so much high-power talent can get along.

"Are there downsides? Sure. When you have people with this much stature, there can be ego clashes," said CNN contributor David Gergen. "Everybody's ego has got to get into the same room ... and in at least one or two of those cases, I'm sure people think that their egos are big enough to fill the room all by themselves."

Clinton has applauded Gates' candor, but early on put him on notice.

"We need a strong secretary of defense - but that doesn't mean strong-headed," Clinton said during Gates' confirmation hearings in 2006.

Watch the debate over Clinton's foreign policy experience

Full story

Filed under: Obama transition
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Michael, Houston Texas

    It's starting to look like what JFK did, put the best and the brightest around you. I just hope President Obama can manage all this enormous ego's

    November 24, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Open Letter to President George W. Bush:

    President Bush, I beseech you to resign as president of the United States TODAY.

    If you truly love your country, you will do this for the rest of us and let us move on to save what remains of our country.

    November 24, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Larry P

    Looks like the Clinton administration is hard at work. Change????? I don't think so.

    November 24, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. LyonsPhilly

    No one needs to have a darn ego. Just do your job and get this country back on track. No one is trying to outdo the other. You were hired to work together for the best of america. Leave those egos outside.....

    November 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. happy thanksgiving

    with obama's lead and hillarys knowledge it's bound to be heading in the right direction.

    November 24, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. TrueIndependent

    Truth be told, I really do not see what in being the wife of a former President qualifies Senator Clinton for the Secretary of State position.

    On the other hand, I think the enormity of the other resumes of the other key players would ‘encourage’ Sen Clinton to be drama-free.

    If she is not an effective team player, P-E Obama would not hesitate to get rid of her, and that would be the end of her political ambition. Really, who would want to hire someone who was fired from his or her last job for 'Cause'?

    November 24, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Mickie

    Because Obama is not a person who believe is hiring just "yes" men the way Bush/Cheney did, does not mean it can't work. For heavens sake, at least give the man a chance to do things his way. If this isn't change from the "Rovian" method, I don't know what is.

    November 24, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. bill from pa

    Obama needs to bring a muzzle and a flack jacket to every meeting he has with the drama queen and Mr. cigar man

    November 24, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Looks like Obama is trying to get the best and brightest. And from there, figure out how to get us out of the wilderness and back into the light. Oh, the beautiful light.

    November 24, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. 4 Hillary

    Go Hillary. The world and our country will be a better place with you as our Secretary of State.

    November 24, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. young and informed independant

    can't wait for the change you bring.
    except don't spend too much time hunting the Osama bin Laden ghost..

    we all know he is dead.. well according to ex-Pakistani Chair Bhutto knew bin Laden was dead.. Oh yeah what happened to her?

    she died shortly after her BBC interview proclaiming bin Laden dead.
    we need to focus more on energy, cosmos and getting the hell out from under Israel's thumb. They're preparing to bomb Iran yanno...

    well you might not since i imagine no one will post such honest comments

    November 24, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. RealityKing

    All star line up!? Or cold blast from the past!!??

    November 24, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. CMG

    Hiliary: you would not have been my choice, but since I believe in Barack, let us all move forward.

    November 24, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Silence Dogood

    CNN "When the phone rings at 3 a.m. ..." Thanks for opening the article with one of catch-phrases for the Hillary haters. Cheap shot and a thinly veiled intro to today's 2 minutes of hate ("1984").

    We no longer hate Hillary, She has always been on Obama's side. Just like in "1984" – "we have always/never been at war with...."

    From 1984 Bush-style to 1984 Obama-style. Sort of a change.......

    November 24, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. demwit

    And what is Hillary going to be advising him on....., dodging sniper fire??

    November 24, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    This is what McCain would have like to call "All hands on Deck" these people are professionals and they will check their ego at the door for the good of the country. it is an ALL-Star cast of people and we should expect nothing less from our government. same on the economic front; there are no positions to spare and this Administration will need strong individuals to lead and to carry out a plan. Sen. Obama is demonstrating his willingness to do whatever it takes to get the country on the right track and I believe the public will like that in the end

    November 24, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. therealist

    Hillary Clinton , Robert Gates, Jim Jones
    all-star lineup??

    Boy, talk about dumbed down expectations..

    November 24, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. JuanM let me see. Biden voted to invade Iraq, and Hillary voted to invade Iraq. yeah...real good decision Obama. More of the same. "Change" mean appointing Washington insiders. Obama, like Bush, is way in over his head. I guess that's why he's appointing people like Hillary. he needs someone to bail him out. This is just like those SNL "3 am phone call" skits.

    November 24, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. FreeNLovIt

    I'm so proud of America. We have just fused the two brightest Democratic rivals, the Obamas and the Clintons. One that can manage and one with a proven track record of stability.

    November 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. JS


    President Bush cannot resign because if he did Dick Cheney would be President not Obama.


    She is a U.S. Senator and has a great record of representing NY. Sec. of State is a step down for her.

    November 24, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Silence Dogood

    Sexism 101:

    Obama's enormous ego – "leadership"
    Hillary's enormous ego – a "problem"

    When will it be OK to have a strong, confident, smart woman around?

    November 24, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. Janice Illinois

    Looking forward to Hillary taking this job. She deserves this , she worked for Obama and helped to get him elected , she gave it up and that must have been hard to do, she deserves credit for that alone. She is her own woman and will do the job on her own . Leave Bill out of it , how would the rest of the world like being judged for their spouses behavior. Leave her alone on that, it's not fair and very judgemental.

    November 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. Mike, Syracuse NY

    So far HRC is the weakest pick of the lot, and the only one who is purely political. Being married to a President doesn't make you a foreign affairs expert any more than being married to a brain surgeon would make you a doctor.

    November 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. Brian - Trinidad

    Once again the media is hitting poor Hillary Clinton.Instead of raising issues of what she would or would not do in the Obama cabinet,should we not be talking about his judgement in wanting her in his Cabinet when HE TOLD THE WORLD THAT SHE HAD POOR JUDGEMENT IN HER VOTES ON THE IRAQ WAR AND SHE WAS UNFIT TO LEAD BECAUSE OF THAT?

    November 24, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. Mark

    Excellent choices all way round. I am an enthusiastic Obama support but Clinton was a strong second choice. She will be an excellent Secretary of State.

    November 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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