(Corrects 6th paragraph to attribute the information to NBC
By Steve Holland
CHICAGO Nov 13 Sen. Hillary Clinton emerged on
Thursday as a candidate to be U.S. secretary of state for
Barack Obama, months after he defeated her in an intense
contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Putting Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, in
the position could help heal whatever lingering divisions
remain in the Democratic Party after her bitter battle with
Obama passed over Clinton as his vice presidential running
mate in favor of Sen. Joe Biden, a decision that angered her
ardent supporters and widened a rift in the party that Obama
and Clinton later worked hard to heal.
Her selection as top U.S. diplomat could also mean a more
hawkish foreign policy than that advocated by Obama during his
presidential campaign. On the campaign trail, Clinton was more
reluctant than Obama to commit to a firm timetable for
withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
But both Obama and Clinton were adamant about improving the
image of the United States abroad and correcting what they
considered the "failed policies" of the outgoing Bush
NBC News quoted an adviser as saying Clinton had flown to
Chicago, where Obama has an office, on Thursday on personal
business. Her office would say only that she had no official
business on Thursday.
Neither her aides nor aides to President-elect Obama would
say whether she was interviewed for the job by Obama, who spent
a great part of the day behind closed doors in transition
meetings in Chicago.
"Any speculation about cabinet or other administration
appointments is really for President-elect Obama's transition
team to address," said Clinton's senior adviser, Philippe
NBC News and The Washington Post reported that Clinton was
under consideration for the top U.S. diplomatic position.
This would mean Obama was expanding his search beyond other
candidates mentioned for the job, such as Massachusetts Sen.
John Kerry, a Democrat who lost the 2004 presidential election
to George W. Bush, and Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican
who backed Obama over Republican John McCain this year.
CNN reported that on Monday night, while walking into an
awards ceremony in New York, Clinton was asked if she would
consider taking a post in the Obama administration. It did not
sound like she ruled it out.
"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," Clinton said.
The former first lady had argued during the Democratic
primary campaign that Obama was too inexperienced to be
president. But they mended fences and during the Democratic
National Convention in Denver, she declared that "Barack Obama
is my candidate and he must be our president."
Analyst Paul Light of New York University's John Brademas
Center for the Study of Congress said picking Clinton would
mean Obama was serious about reaching across the party divide.
On the other hand, he said: "To put her in the competition
with several others and pick somebody other than Hillary
Clinton after you've floated her name is to have a repeat of
the spring and summer division and raise questions about
Obama's seriousness about healing the division within the
Clinton was at first considered the shoo-in to win the
Democratic nomination only to watch the 47-year-old Illinois
senator defeat her in a series of decisive battles.
Whether Clinton would want the position was immediately
debated on cable television talk shows. After all, she wanted
to be president, and why would she settle for anything less?
"I think she has her sights set higher than that," said
Stephen Hayes, a columnist for the Weekly Standard Magazine, on
On the other hand, Obama won election over McCain
decisively and if he is successful in his first term, he very
well could win again in 2012, probably putting the presidency
out of reach for Clinton, who is now 61.
As U.S. first lady Clinton devoted a great deal of time to
the rights of women around the world, often traveling the globe
with her daughter, Chelsea.
As a presidential candidate, she argued for putting greater
U.S. emphasis on defeating the Taliban and Al Qaeda in
Afghanistan and in ensuring nuclear weapons do not spread.
(Additional reporting by Vicki Allen, Jackie Frank and
JoAnne Allen, editing by Jackie Frank)