June 7th, 2009
10:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Clinton originally rejected Secretary of State offer

Secretary of State Clinton accompanied the president on his recent trip to the Middle East.
Secretary of State Clinton accompanied the president on his recent trip to the Middle East.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - When then President-elect Barack Obama first asked Hillary Clinton to be his top diplomat, she turned him down and recommended others for the job, the secretary of state said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Speaking to ABC's "This Week," Clinton also said the president has answered the central question she raised about him when she was his chief rival for the Democratic nomination last year.

In her famous "3 a.m." ad, she questioned whether Obama was the right candidate to handle a middle-of-the-night international crisis.

"Has the president answered it for you?" host George Stephanopoulos asked.

"Absolutely," Clinton replied. "And, you know, the president, in his public actions and demeanor, and certainly in private with me and with the national security team, has been strong, thoughtful, decisive, I think he is doing a terrific job. And it's an honor to serve with him."

The former senator from New York and former first lady revealed details of how she came to accept the role.

"I never had any dream, let alone inkling, that I would end up in President Obama's cabinet," she said. "When I left the presidential race after getting some sleep and taking some deep breaths, I immediately went to work for him in the general election... And I was looking forward to going back to the Senate and, frankly, going back to my life and representing New York, which I love. And I had no idea that he had a different plan in mind."

When her name was mentioned in the media as a possible member of Obama's cabinet, Clinton said, she found the idea "absurd."

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. patrick, Portland OR

    Love her. Love him. Class and intelligence... This woman has devoted her life to the country. She deserves respect for that. Like her or dislike her politics.

    June 7, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. dem

    Why is she coming out with this now? Her entire campaign she kept talking about "fighting" for what you believed in, while Obama was talking about bringing people together who don't agree. He has stuck to his word - even with her– and she has to come out with interview and demonstrate how her initial instinct is not to work together with her opponents? How is that good for her current SS position/building relationships around the world?
    Would you go on TV and talk about how you don't/didn't agree with the president if you worked for him? Ask ANYONE who has worked as staff for an elected official and the answer is NO NO NO NO. Would you do this with any boss you wanted to continue working for? Not necessary! To bring up all these divisive thoughts about their campaign at this point in time only serves selfish posturing. Do you job and stay out of any other media! If the President has to spend 30 seconds being briefed about this interview, this is taking away for our country's business. Selfish....

    June 7, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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