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Hillary Clinton ready to accept Secretary of State post: Report

Source: PTI
November 22, 2008 10:35 IST

Hillary Clinton has decided to accept the post of Secretary of State in the incoming Obama administration, a media report said on Saturday, raising prospects of the former Democratic rivals joining hands to guide the United States foreign policy amid steep challenges at home and abroad.

Clinton came to her decision after additional discussions with President-elect Barack Obama about the nature of her role and his plans for foreign policy, one of her confidants was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

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The former first lady, who was defeated by Obama for the Democratic Presidential nomination in a bitter battle, has decided to give up her Senate seat and accept the powerful post of Secretary of State, the report said.

However, her spokesman Philippe Reines issued a statement on Friday cautioning that the nomination was not final. "We're still in discussions, which are very much on track," Reines said. "Any reports beyond that are premature"

Obama's office also told reporters earlier that the nomination is on track, but this is the first word from the Clinton camp that she has decided, the paper noted.

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"She's ready," the confidant told the paper, adding that Clinton was reassured after talking again with Obama because their first meeting in Chicago last week 'was so general'.

The purpose of the follow-up talk, he said, was not to extract particular concessions but "just getting comfortable" with the idea of working together.

A second Clinton associate, the NYT said, confirmed that her camp believes they have a done deal.

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Senior Obama advisers told the paper that the offer had not been formally accepted and no announcement would be made until after the US Thanksgiving Day which is on November 27.

But they said they were convinced that the nascent alliance was ready to be sealed.                                                                                

Obama has stepped up efforts to assemble his future team as he geared up to tackle challenges like the worsening domestic economy and its global impact as well as the ongoing US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The decision to offer the second most powerful job in the administration to 61-year-old Clinton followed days of intense vetting and negotiations intended to clear any potential obstacles to her taking the job, due to her husband Bill Clinton's global business and philanthropic activities.

Lawyers for Obama and former President Bill Clinton combed through his finances and drew up a set of guidelines for his future activities intended to avoid any appearances of conflict of interest should she take the job, the NYT said.

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Citing people close to the vetting, the paper said Bill Clinton turned over the names of 208,000 donors to his foundation and library and agreed to all of the conditions requested by Obama's transition team, including restrictions on his future paid speeches and role at his international foundation.

Driving Hillary Clinton's deliberations in part, friends told the paper, was a sense of disenchantment with the Senate, where despite her stature she remained low in the ranks of seniority that governs the body.

She was particularly upset, they said, at the reception she felt she received when she returned from the campaign trail and sought a more significant leadership role in the expanding Democratic majority.

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