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. Dan, Alabama

    Are we serious about this? HIllary has no significant foreign policy experience. I disagree with Rice on most issues, but at least she is a foreign policy expert. The only thing that qualifies Hillary for this job is – well nothing really other than that she is Bill Clinton's wife and parlayed that and the Lewinsky sympathy vote into a Senate seat. And if you want to talk about policy positions, have we all forgotten that Hillary voted to authorize the Iraq war!!?!! I cant believe Obama is thinking of putting her into the SecState job.

    November 14, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. Kenneth

    She should take it. She deserves it and she would be a great SOS.

    November 14, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Robin


    November 14, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  4. No Hillary = No Obama

    Personally, I think she should tell him to kiss her buttocks and stay in NY. It should have been President Hillary Clinton and would have been President Hillary Clinton if not for the subversive media which Obama did not have to deal with. Obama has and always will be full of himself.

    November 14, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. alexD

    I hope she accepts as well. Obama and Hillary's visions for the new administration were not that different honestly. Thanks to McCain, she still has the opportunity to be president 8 years from now (still only in her late 60's at that point). It would make everyone happy if she accepted. Now it would also be nice to find John Kerry and Al Gore official positions...

    November 14, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. some guy in New Hampshire

    Exactly what qualifies Hillary Clinton to be chosen as Secretary of State ahead of people who have built their careers in diplomacy and foreign policy? What wisdom or skill does she bring to the job that others with more experience, insight, and contacts in this field can't provide? The job would be a nice trophy for Senator Clinton and a bone for her still-disaffected supporters to gnaw on, but it's not clear why this is the best choice of a person to guide US foreign affairs - especially when compared to someone like a Richard Holbrooke. If she needs a cabinet job, why not HHS instead? It's a job closer to her experience and professed interests. Someone enlighten me, please.

    November 14, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Fani from NJ

    I don't think Clinton is a good or a wise choice..

    I have very high expectations from Obama, but this is not it.
    Clinton is NOT the change we deserve from the rusty old policies that don't work.

    Kerry is meh and Richardson doesn't seem too qualified.
    Colin Powell would be awesome however...

    November 14, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Getting It Right

    Hillary would be great in any posiion she is offered; I do think she was offered a role, I don't htink it was SoS – but hey, it beats hearing about how the GOP is going to regroup.

    Obama is heavy on the Clinton side, but considering the options – I can live with that. Let's just get some names being these "sources" and we can start taking this "news" seriously.

    November 14, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Vicki5

    As an Obama supporter, I like it. I hope she agrees.

    November 14, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. James

    This is going to be an amazing, effective administration – especially if Senator Clinton accepts the position. This is what progress is supposed to look like – a powerful team with wisdom and solid judgment coupled with the know-how necessary to accomplish what must be done. What fantastic news this is. It shows he's really putting great thought into his cabinet, not that any of us ever doubted that he would. (I should note that I may be biased as a former Clinton voter.)

    November 14, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Lu

    Richardson would be a better choice.

    November 14, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Kim

    Wise choice Obama! He is showing strong leadership and not allowing any politicians/press pressure him. He knows what he wants. I hope she takes it!

    November 14, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. Zman.Indianapolis,IN

    Go Hillary take it please we need you. And I promise you he will make sure you become President one day

    November 14, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. kirk, fl

    the boss will put together a A+ team . big up presi

    November 14, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. Marilyn

    Senator Clinton, Please take it! I always thought you should have been Obama's running mate, but Secretary of State would be awesome and right up your alley.

    November 14, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. abby

    Hillary and Bill as SOS and spouse are a fomidable force. America will regain the respect in the world it deserves with this choice.

    November 14, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Tonybel

    This is her experience lies; I hope she accepts this responsibility.

    November 14, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Rick

    Oh God no....this is going from bad to worse.

    November 14, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  19. lynne

    I'm very surprised and disappointed. Very disappointed.

    November 14, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Suzanne

    Obama is smart...He wants Bill Clinton to be the special envoy to the Middle East to solve Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
    For sure making both Clintons busy outside is excellent idea.

    November 14, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Sheila43302

    A large part of the electorate voted for Senator Clinton in the primaries. A cabinet appointment of this magnitude will very probably convince her supporters to more fully endorse the plans and policies of the Obama administration.

    November 14, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Raymond

    President Obama promised appointing Clinton a Washington insider, this is not change at all. President Obama should choose change not "the same", Clinton is not change!

    November 14, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. Socialist Obama Hugger

    How many wise choices does he need to make to win over the haters? He looks smarter by the day. Hillary would be a great pick.

    November 14, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. Strong Team

    Hillary –

    You and your crew need to learn to keep your mouths shut. The Obama team does not like leaks or people speculating.

    I just heard Wolf Blitzer get all giddy and make a big deal about this ... in fact, he called it BREAKING NEWS .... Oh Puleez .. stop the news inflation.

    If and when she is named Secretary of State, then there is something to report ... give it a rest.

    November 14, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  25. Lesley

    To Richie – no worse than the unnamed aides who trashed Palin! I agree with you though, if you're going to speak, don't hide behind the curtain. I am excited about this choice! I hope she accepts it.

    November 14, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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