November 24th, 2008
02:20 PM ET
9 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. Susan

    Obama is picking an excellent cabinet. Thanks to him, change should come!

    November 24, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. yen

    We have seen how hard Obama fought to get the most difficult work in the world today. His calm and thoughful demeanor carried him through the most difficult process of running for president. Now we should all pray for him to succeed. Because his success is our success.

    November 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Ed, Santa Fe, NM


    November 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. karen raleigh

    I think they will get along or they will be gone.

    November 24, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. karen-phoenix

    What a wonderful team!!!! Finally we are going to have some really smart people in Washington!!!! As a former republican of over 40 years I voted for Obama this year and I'm soooo proud I did!!! It really is going to work and he will get us out of the mess the republicans got us into!!!

    November 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. Jan

    The "best and brightest" would be Republicans–this group is , thankfully, not Obama's choice, but the Clinton's choice. The 2nd "best and brightest! At least Axelrod is smart enough to advise Obama that sucess in any form includes the Clinton's! I look forward to another Clinton Presidency–at least it will not be "far left"

    November 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Obama08

    Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon November 24th, 2008 2:32 pm ET

    "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."

    What do you think would happen if Bush resigned? If you dont know, Cheney would be President.

    November 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. Terry in NY

    Clinton has her own agenda. Beware Barack. Bill Clinton is promoting her big time because he wants her on the road and we all know why.....

    November 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Obama won't just listen to who is the loudest: he'll listen to those who make the best case using facts and knowledge.

    As for those who are silly enough to think that using proven, qualified talent from the Clinton administration isn't change – you're just whistling past the graveyard.

    President Clinton picked the best and the brightest – and now they have more experience in a lot of different areas. Who would you rather have Obama pick? You liked the Bush appointees with no qualifications? You want a fresh face like Joe the Plumber?

    Change will come from the direction Obama leads: he's getting the best people around to make that happen ... he's getting an experienced, intelligent fired-up group of people to help and that's good for a change!

    November 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Outraged

    Seriously....Hilary as Secretary of State? So much for "change". The Clintons have successfully wormed their way back into Washington. Foolish me, I thought Obama would different.

    November 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. ANGIE

    Hillary would not be my choice for sos but we must have faith in Barack and support his Decisions

    November 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Iroko Nija

    Somebody should please remind Sarah Palin that it is time for her to donate the designer dresses to charity as she promised. Or has it been overtaken by events??????????????

    November 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. wait a minute

    It will be a big mistake not to seek advice from General Petraeus., who is a Ph.D. trained by Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

    November 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. carol

    I'm sure there will be days when these folks will not agree, but that is part of having people with different ideas....none of us agree all the time, as long as the outcome is the right one for the country that is the main thing.
    I think Obama is a strong leader who will not take any nonsense, listen to other people and take advice if necessary, but I don't think he will be a push over at all.
    His team will be ready to go on Jan 20th, what a mess they have to sort out and I just hope we can be patient enough to let this man have a chance to correct these mistakes....nothing will be solved overnight and that is what we must remember.

    November 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. VA

    Hillary. The world need you

    November 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Peter (CA)

    I am hopeful this will all work out but I think there will be some rough patches.

    Let the right wingers foam at the mouth-the team that is coming together looks good. But I would not mind seeing Dick Lugar and Chuck Hagel in there, too.

    November 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. me

    Hillary doesn't really deserve this.

    Sec. of State is supposed to deliver the message originated from the executive branch. Can you see HRC delivering anyone's mesage but her own?

    Plus, he owes her nothing. She pulled evil Republican tricks in their primary! No respectable Democrat (Human) would act like them.

    November 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. earle,florida

    Senator Chuck Hagel is without a doubt a great choice if Obama really is sincere about reaching across the aisle. But ,we'll see, won't we if old man Gates stays? Bravo for change....?

    November 24, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. SA in OO

    And on the issues of to many big ego's on the dream team . . .

    Remember Obama is from Chicago.
    He watched the Bulls win year after year, with a whole team of ego's. As long as these people came by their inflated sense of self worth because they really are the very best in their league, then putting them on the same team can be a very good thing.

    What's Phil Jackson doing now anyway. Would he be interested in a stint in Washington. If he could keep Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scotty Pipin on the same page, this should be easy.

    November 24, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. activist mom

    I think its really funny how people on these blogs dont realize that the statements they are attributing to Obama, Clinton and others during the campaign disparaging each other are just words flung and now left over from a political fight!

    Clinton wouldnt be my choice for SoS b/c I think Bill is stuck to her coat tails and I think HE has his own agenda. I'm worried about her ability to be independent of him, but I'm 100% willing to trust Obama to keep his cabinet in hand. He doesnt strike me as a guy who suffers fools, or huge egos, or rogues, easily.

    November 24, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. LyonsPhilly

    Demwit is a dimwit.

    November 24, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. Andy

    William Ayers for Homeland Security!!!

    November 24, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Laverne

    I think there will be bumps in the road as with any administration, but at the end of the day, I think everyone will do what is best or the country. If they can not stomach it, they will move on after the first 4 years. We are not living in ordinary times and therefore we can't do ordinary things and choose ordinary people for the tast that lies ahead. President elect Obama and VP elect Biden will serve this country well because Obama is an extraordinary person. Looker for brighter days will start Jan. 20, 2009!

    November 24, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Spencer/Virginia

    I'm sure President-elect Obama is not thinking of egos or fragile insensibilities. He is putting a team of great minds together to work for a common cause. I think having these high profile candidates with different views on a wide range of international topics will only allow President Obama to make sound and intelligent decisions. I trust his judgement.

    November 24, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Matt

    Is it just me and I am no fan of Hillary's, but that she is being suckered into the Secretary of State job. She won't be able to run for president, she can't oppose him if he screws up and gets tied to the same faliure if he does as well. And any accomplishments she might make are really Obama's accomplishments as it is his administration.

    November 24, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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