President Clinton announced more progress in filling second-term job vacancies Friday by nominating Chicago lawyer William Daley as commerce secretary and the hostage-freeing Rep. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., as ambassador to the United Nations.
In an afternoon news conference disrupted when Daley, 48, fainted and tumbled off a riser, Clinton also announced almost offhandedly that he is reappointing Attorney General Janet Reno. She will stay on along with Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner, Clinton said.
His announcement ended weeks of uncertainty about Reno’s future amid resentment by some in the White House that she has appointed four independent prosecutors to investigate administration officials.
Nearing completion of a new economic team, Clinton said that Charlene Barshefsky, acting U.S. trade representative for the past eight months, will be permanently appointed. She faces a legal obstacle to Senate confirmation in once having represented Canadian trade interests.
Instead of splitting the job of outgoing National Economic Adviser Laura D’Andrea Tyson between her two deputies, Gene Sperling and Daniel Tarullo, a plan that was under consideration, Clinton gave the post to Sperling and awarded Tarullo the new title of assistant to the president for international economic policy.
Whatever the titles are, Clinton made it clear that Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, “the captain of our economic team,” will continue to rule the policy-making roost.
Economic portfolios remaining unassigned after Friday’s appointments are the secretary of labor’s job and the chairmanship of the Council of Economic Advisers. In addition, Clinton still must find secretaries of transportation and housing, and staff several high-ranking White House positions. He has said he expects to fill the organization chart by Christmas.
Clinton said he will soon announce the Reno reappointment and some others “formally,” after finishing interviews with current officeholders.
William Daley, brother of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, worked as White House point man to steer the North American Free Trade Agreement through Congress in 1993. He narrowly missed 1992 nomination as Clinton’s transportation secretary when the president picked Federico Pena, in part to please Latino groups. This time, Daley was prominently mentioned for both the transportation and commerce posts. He got commerce, replacing Mickey Kantor.
“Public service often is demeaned and denigrated in these days,” Daley, whose father also was Chicago’s mayor, said in accepting Clinton’s appointment, “but I have a very different view. I come from a family in which we were taught by word and example that there is no higher calling or greater trust.”
The already high stock of Richardson, 49, rose further in Clinton’s esteem recently when he negotiated the release of an American held by North Korea and won freedom for an American, an Australian and a Kenyan captured by African insurgents. “Just this week,” Clinton noted, “Congressman Richardson was huddled in a rebel chieftain’s hut in Sudan, eating barbecued goat and negotiating the freedom of three hostages.”
Richardson, whose mother is Mexican and who has led Congress’ Hispanic Caucus, launched remarks accepting the U.N. nomination by jokingly apologizing to his family for his Sudan ride “in the DC-3, 50 years old, without windows.” He was directing similar quips to his congressional staff when Daley, standing behind him, lurched forward with his head lowered. He took four staggering steps and fell headlong into the first row of reporters’ seats. He held both hands to his head. “Where’s my doctor?” Clinton called out.
After officials helped Daley out of the overheated auditorium in the Old Executive Office Building adjoining the White House, Clinton told the audience, “I think he’s fine. I think he’s fainted.”
Officials escorted Daley out of the room. Daley returned in about 10 minutes, looking grim, just in time to leave the stage while Clinton fielded questions. White House press secretary Mike McCurry said later that Daley, who hadn’t eaten lunch, indeed had fainted. Doctors checked his vital signs and pronounced him well, McCurry said.
xxxx CABINET UNDER CONSTRUCTION President Clinton’s progress in building a new 14-member Cabinet: Nominated: Secretary of State: Madeleine Albright, the U.N. ambassador, to replace Warren Christopher. Defense Secretary: William Cohen, the Republican senator from Maine, to replace William Perry. Commerce Secretary: Bill Daley, the Chicago lawyer, to replace Mickey Kantor.
Leaving: Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros Labor Secretary Robert Reich
Expected to stay: Attorney General Janet Reno Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin Education Secretary Richard Riley Health and Human Services Donna Shalala Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown -Associated Press