Did Senate Dems want Clinton out?

A reporter says Hillary Clinton became secretary of State because her colleagues wanted her gone from the Senate

By Alex Koppelman

Published June 1, 2009 6:35PM (EDT)

In his new book, "Renegade: The Making of a President," Richard Wolffe tells a pretty interesting story about how Hillary Clinton came to be secretary of State. Wolffe reports that President Obama was an early and committed proponent of naming his former rival to the post, even over the objections of some people in his camp.

And there were other important advocates for the idea, Wolffe says, according to an excerpt published by the Huffington Post:

As it happened, plenty of people in the Senate were begging Obama to offer Clinton the job. Obama's aides believed that many Senate Democrats thought Clinton had extended her presidential campaign far beyond the point where she had lost the election. Her negative advertising wasted Democratic money, threatened to undermine the party's nominee, and suggested that she was disloyal to the party. They were unwilling to offer the junior New York senator a position ahead of her lowly rank, and she stood little chance of becoming majority leader. "There was a lot of encouragement from inside the Senate to get her into this job," said one senior Obama aide. "They wanted her out of there."

Politico's Glenn Thrush is skeptical -- he writes that Wolffe "may be overstating the case" and adds, "It's not as flashy a point, but taken as a group, I think [Senate Democrats'] attitude was more indifferent than hostile."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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