WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama plans to nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state after Thanksgiving, an aide to his transition said Thursday.
One week after the former primary rivals met secretly to discuss the idea of Clinton becoming the nation’s top diplomat, the two sides were moving quickly toward making it a reality, barring any unforeseen problems.
The transition aide told the Associated Press that the two camps have worked out financial disclosure issues involving Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, and the complicated international funding of his foundation that operates in 27 countries. The aide said Obama and Hillary Clinton have had substantive conversations about the secretary of state job. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama is not prepared to make his decision official.
Clinton has been mulling the post for several days, but the transition aide’s comments suggested that Obama’s team does not feel she is inclined to turn it down.
Some Democrats and government insiders have questioned whether Clinton is too independent and politically ambitious to be an effective secretary of state. But Obama is said to admire her talents and experience, as do many other Democrats.
A senior adviser to Obama said the president-elect believes Clinton would bring instant stature and credibility to U.S. diplomatic relations and that the advantages to her serving far outweighed potential downsides.
Clinton would have to surrender her New York Senate seat, which she has held for eight years, to take the job.
The president-elect also is likely to choose Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to be secretary of homeland security, top Obama advisers and several Democrats said Thursday as the shape of Obama’s Cabinet begins to emerge.
The Obama advisers cautioned that no final decision has been made on putting Napolitano in charge of the Homeland Security Department, the massive agency created by Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But the advisers said she was easily the top contender.