Obama reiterates confidence in Clinton

December 1, 2008 7:56:36 PM PST
President-Elect Barack Obama has said that he wanted advisors who weren't afraid to speak their mind.

We saw it with his economic advisors in appointing Larry Summers and Paul Voelker and now we're seeing it again with his national security team.

In appointing Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State, President-Elect Obama said she possesses an extraordinary intelligence and a remarkable worth ethic.

"She is an American of tremendous stature who will have my complete confidence, who knows many of the world's leaders, who will command respect in every capital, and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world," said Obama referring to Clinton.

On the campaign trail however, he called her resume "exaggerated" and said her foreign experience had more to do with tea parties than treaties. On Monday a reporter asked him about those comments.

He replied, "Look. I mean, this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign."

He brushed aside the campaign rhetoric saying there will be no more effective advocate than Hillary Clinton for advancing American interests.

"Mr. President Elect, I am proud to join you on what will be a difficult and exciting adventure in this new century," said Hilary Clinton.

Congresswoman Anna Eschoo, who endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, calls Clinton's appointment a testament to Obama's strength.

"And I think the President-Elect has the confidence that there will not be any daylight between what he says is his foreign policy and the Secretary of State carrying that out," she said.

UC Berkeley international relations expert Steven Weber believes that Obama's big challenge will be standing up to strong independent voices from within his own camp.

"I think people were concerned about that during the campaign. He's now obviously shown that he's real confident in his ability to do that. We'll see how it works out during the first set of fights," said Weber.

If Hilary Clinton has her own ambitions for the White House, being Secretary of State will certainly give her more national exposure than being the junior senator from New York.

"Would I say that she's been bumped up? Absolutely!" said Eschoo.

But there is also a price.

"Every word out of her mouth will be the president this, the president that, rather than I. That's not a great place from which to run a political campaign. I don't remember a U.S. Secretary of State who has ever been elected president," said Weber.

The last Secretary of State that made it to the White House was James Buchanan who was appointed in 1845 and elected in 1857.

As Professor Weber implied, it has been a while.


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