Speculation about the job of secretary of state in the Obama administration continues to center around Hillary Clinton, but with conflicting reports all over the place, it’s still hard to get a fix on where exactly we are in the process and whether Clinton even wants the job.
“Negotiations between the Clintons and Team Obama are rapidly moving toward formal offer and acceptance,” Politico’s Mike Allen reported Wednesday. “Both sides want to get it done and believe she can be announced as Secretary of State before Thanksgiving… Barring a snag, look for an announcement some time next week.”
On the other hand, Allen’s colleague Glenn Thrush writes, “Clinton isn’t certain she would accept the Secretary of State post even if Barack Obama offers it to her, several people close to the former first lady say.” Thrush quotes one anonymous “Clinton insider” as saying, “A lot of the speculation and reporting is out ahead of the facts here. She is still weighing this, independent of President Clinton’s work.”
The New York Times has a similar take. It says Clinton “has reservations about accepting” the job. The paper sources its story to an unnamed “adviser to Mrs. Clinton who is familiar with her thinking.” The source “described Mrs. Clinton as flattered by President-elect Barack Obama’s interest but said she was agonizing over the decision. Mrs. Clinton likes being her own boss and is reluctant to give up the independence that comes with that,” the Times reports.
ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, himself a former Clinton insider, also hears that the Senator isn’t sure she wants the job, but says that it’s “likely” she will be secretary of state.
As I discussed in a post earlier this week, the other big obstacle facing Clinton’s nomination is her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and the work he’s done since leaving office. But he appears to be taking steps to cooperate fully in the vetting process and alleviate concerns. The Associated Press reports:
Clinton has agreed to release the names of several major donors to his charitable foundation and will submit future foundation activities and paid speeches to a strict ethics review, said Democrats knowledgeable about the discussions.
They also said that Clinton would step away from day-to-day responsibility for his foundation while his wife serves and would alert the State Department any new sources of income and to his speechmaking.
Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.More Alex Koppelman.