November 14th, 2008
05:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama asks Clinton if she is interested in secretary of state post

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[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sources say Obama asked Clinton if she is interested in the secretary of state post."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Multiple Democratic sources tell CNN that President Elect Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton had a “serious discussion” Thursday to gauge Clinton’s interest in the post of Secretary of State, if she were offered it. Senator Clinton’s response is unknown, although multiple sources agree that Hillary Clinton was left with the impression that if she were interested in the post, it would be hers.

“There was a serious discussion to determine whether, if offered Secretary of State, she would accept it,” said a source close to the Obama transition.

In these circumstances, that source added, a president-elect does not meet with potential cabinet secretaries unless they are serious about making an offer.

Another source close to the Obama transition team told CNN, “this (asking Clinton to be Secretary of State) has been of great interest to Obama for awhile. You’ve got to assume that Hillary Clinton did not come to visit the city of Chicago.”

Over the course of the last 24 hours, sources close to Hillary Clinton have softened their one-time solid public position that she would not be interested in a cabinet position. Those sources now say that Hillary Clinton is clearly contemplating various ways in which she can serve the Obama Administration.

On Monday, Senator Clinton responded to a reporter’s question by saying, “I am happy being a Senator from New York, I love this state and this city. I am looking at the long list of things I have to catch up on and do. But I want to be a good partner and I want to do everything I can to make sure his agenda is going to be successful."

Another source close to the Obama transition team tells CNN that among the key details to be worked out with Clinton, should she express interest in the position, are issues of how her husband, former President Bill Clinton, will be able to continue his work with the Clinton Global Initiative without complicating Hillary Clinton’s work as Secretary of State.

soundoff (280 Responses)
  1. Tennisguypitt

    I don't know what to think. I'll be happy with Clinton, Hagel, Kerry, Powell, Richardson... you won't hear me complain.

    Some of these comments surprise me. "No change?" I don't think he was referring to this. I think it was more along the lines of the Bush policies.

    I respect Hillary and I do think she would make a great secretary of state. She has foreign policy credentials. I will applaud any reasonable choice.

    November 14, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  2. Michael from St. Louis

    For all you clowns hating on the fact that her last name is Clinton, and that Obama "isn't" showing change should look at what the Clinton Administration did in those 8 yrs. compared to the past 8yrs. And you want to whine about the fact that it isn't change. You should be happy for the fact that Obama is considering someone of her caliber to this position. Not taking anything away from Sen. Richardson and Hagel who also are qualified, but I think Hillary will do a stellar job. You can't put someone "new" into that type of position. Experience is absolutely necessary!!!

    November 14, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. KLEE

    Look – Politics is Politics – I found a 1932 Harpers Magzine "The Collapse of Politics" – talks about the Democratic and Republican National Convention – "Some people thought by 1936 the White House would be occupied by a dictator, Fascist or Communists" – hey nothing changes....politics is politics!!

    Obama is looking for the best and brightess people to fill administrative & cabinet positions. He has a plan in his mind – that is what he was elected to do....and by golly he's gonna do it!

    I haven't received a phone call from him or his staff asking for my opinion about anything......thats why I voted – now its his turn! "_"

    November 14, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  4. teesha

    Mrs Clinton say NO please

    November 14, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  5. MH from St. Louis

    Wayne ( Canada ) November 14th, 2008 7:06 pm ET

    I don't understand some of the arguements presented her about change.Change does not mean that you a whole team of completely different cabinet members who have little or no credentials. New faces do not translate into new ideas or automatic success. President Obama wants to bring in the most talented people with the highest credentials. In fact he is willing to bring in people who will challenge him and bring the best solutions to the problems facing the country .That is real change. Kudos

    EXACTLY!!!!! He doesn't need people who are all going to have the same opinion! If he did that, he would be no different than the soon to be past administration!

    November 14, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  6. OBAMA 4 President

    I think we can all agree that Obama is a thinker and visionary, and he is usually at least two steps ahead of public opinion. If he picked Clinton as Secretary of State, I trust he has very good reasons and is a strategic move that will become apparent in time. No second guessing Obama, remember he is a winner!

    I can't stand these bitter repuglicans who are just chopping at the bit to see Obama make a mistake, your comments are reprehensible. There are other countries that you can move to if you so wish otherwise it will be a long 8 years of belly aching for you guys.

    The sooner the loud-mouth repuglican foot soldiers get on board the better for them, otherwise we'll be clearing Guantanimo for them. If its good enough for terrorists, it is good enough for unrepentant traitors!!

    November 14, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  7. Sam

    He promised change from the Bush/Cheney mess, which has nothing to do with the Clintons. Hillary said some stupid things, I agree, but she also campaigned her arse off for him too. I saw her in Orlando and she was on fire. She's a smart woman and would be dedicated to her country and her president. she's not going to do anything to make him look bad.

    Now McCain, I wouldn't trust that old grouch as far as I could throw him. He's deceitful and a liar. He proved that. O should steer clear of McCain's dirty ways. He's not worth the trouble.

    November 14, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  8. Cali_nb

    Senator Clinton authored an article in the November/December 2007 of Foreign Affairs titled "Security and Opportunity for the Twenty-first Century." Anyone who doubts why President-elect Obama is considering her for the position should read this. Her views are clear-eyed, insightful, and dovetail with his positions. She would be an exceptional choice.

    November 14, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  9. linda illinois

    Remember Obama is building a TEAM. That team will lead to CHANGE
    Clinton would probably be a good choice. He probably has something else in mind for both Richardson and Kerry. We have to be supportive!!

    November 14, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. keekers

    Hillary would be an excellent cabinet member for the Obama team.
    Go Obama, go Hillary!

    November 14, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  11. Bobby in Powder Springs, GA

    To all the whiners that keep complaining that this is not change, you are all acting like school children. S of S is just one of SEVERAL cabinet positions he will appoint. I am sure Gov. Richardson, Sen. Kerry, Gen. Powell and a host of others are all in consideration for other cabinet positions as well. What our President Elect Obama is trying to show you is to put aside all of your petty differences and opinions and lets all work TOGETHER to get out of this mess. If you can't understand the message he is trying to send, pack up and head elsewhere while the rest of us join together to reshape this nation and our perception in this world. Obama doesn't hold grudges and when he selected V.P. Elect Biden, he said he wanted someone to challenge him. If Clinton accepts the post, she works for Pres. Obama. I am sure he will also choose the best Rep. to fill a vital position also. Stop whining and grow up! United WE stand!

    November 14, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. Helen, VT

    Barack Obama thinks that he is a king and he has all the power. he is calling Hillary, John McCain and others to Chicago. In fact he does not know what to do. Lack of experience...

    November 14, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. WJYung

    Senator Hillary Clinton would make an excellent Secretary of State. In 8 years from now, she will be the next President elect.

    November 14, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  14. Phoenix

    Look, are we shocked? Didn't you silly people know (listen up PUMAS) that if either made it they would offer each other jobs. I hope she takes it. As far as reviving the Clinton administration, remember, those same people had to bail us out from George I.

    November 14, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  15. 3strikes

    democrat infighting, LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!. that 65 million that voted for obama, they're goin to slowly turn against him, except the die hard democrats.

    November 14, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  16. Darrell

    Wow I am surprised that anyone would be surprised at this. This whole thing was started wat back when there was no way Hillary could be picked for VP. There was never a chance she would be a VP choice for obvious reasons and Obama has always held her in high regard, so we alll knew she would be chosen for high placement in his cabinet.This is no surprise at all for anyone that knew Obamas laser focus.

    November 14, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. Dennis

    Hmmmm...... Michael Daley is her campaign manager, brother of little Richie. She get a juice appointment. The Mayor's brother gets a little something for his trouble, and Barry gets Hillary away from the trail for 2012. Chicago politics, what a wonder.

    November 14, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  18. Natalie


    How is building a team for the his administration a lack of experience?

    November 14, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  19. Dennis

    OBAMA 4 President November 14th, 2008 8:49 pm ET

    I can't stand these bitter repuglicans who are just chopping at the bit to see Obama make a mistake, your comments are reprehensible. There are other countries that you can move to if you so wish otherwise it will be a long 8 years of belly aching for you guys.


    The sooner the loud-mouth repuglican foot soldiers get on board the better for them, otherwise we'll be clearing Guantanimo for them. If its good enough for terrorists, it is good enough for unrepentant traitors!!


    I SEE THE VILE SOME HAVE PROTESTED AGAINST 4 & 8 YEARS AGO WAS A ......searching for the term.......LIE. OMG

    November 14, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  20. Kriss-ATL

    Clinton, Kerry, Richardson, all sound good on paper. Richardson because he seems even tempered, Kerry seems knowledgeable, but I think Clinton lacks relevant foreign policy knowledge and experience. If she dodged fire in Bosnia, then she might possess one of the necessary skills. Having lived and traveled in Asia and Europe I know first-hand that she can't bully-ride her way through foreign policy matters. Cultures in the Middle-East, Asia, parts of the African Continent, and even Central & South America, including the Carribbean do not take kindly to dealing with females or working policy matters with them; such is an affront to their cultural norms. Notwithstanding, Albright and Rice have done very well. With the current economic and political/War/security situation worldwide I would love to see a male in this position. It puts us in a greater bargaining position, which we now need. I do not have any ill will for Senator Clinton, I only prefer that she takes a position in an area in which she has shown interet, and has experience such as Health & Human Service, or on the Supreme Court.

    November 14, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  21. independent now


    November 14, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  22. Angie-OHIO

    I think it would be a great fit for her and for him. I hope he did offer her the job. And I hope she accepts. She is a very strong & intelligent woman.

    November 14, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  23. Edward

    I like how Obama thinks, he surrounds himself with people who will test him and make him think so that he can weigh all of the variables before making a decision rather than staffing up with a bunch of yes men. He isn't as arrogant as some like to think and this tells me that he wants to get things done right.

    November 14, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. Katz4

    Wow – Senator Clinton has always been my number 1 choice to lead the country. If she's willing, Pres. Elect Obama should say "yes" to Sec. of State. And to ask Bill Clinton to serve in his cabinet as well! The Clintons are the greatest!

    November 14, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  25. Ed

    Let's see....where do i start. As a New Yorker, I have mixed feelings about this. While i think it would be a great blessing to have this carpet bagging phony out of my state government (she spent more time campaigning than addressing the needs of NY), the thought of sending her and "hot pants" Bill back to DC makes my skin crawl.

    Mr Obama ran his campaign on the theme of "change". Certainly the country is in need of an injection of new ideas, and new energy. So why does he keep surrounding himself with "old school" politicians (Biden, et al.)??

    Hillary Clinton is like a bad case of herpes – as soon as you get over the pain and aggaravation, and think everything will be OK, she gets active again.....

    November 14, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
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