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Obama's 'Beast' hits snag in Ireland [NBC: 5-23-2011]
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Monday May 23 2011 1:58 pm
Hillary Rodham Clinton is serving as United States Secretary of State under President Barack Obama, and is the head of the department conducting the foreign policy of the Obama administration. She was preceded in office by Condoleezza Rice and is the third woman to hold this position. She is also the only former First Lady of the United States to become a member of the United States Cabinet. As secretary of state she has traveled widely and initiated many diplomatic efforts on behalf of the Obama administration. Within a week after the November 4, 2008, presidential election, President-elect Obama and Clinton discussed over telephone the possibility of her serving as U. S. Secretary of State in his administration. Clinton later related, "He said I want you to be my secretary of state. And I said, 'Oh, no, you don't.'" I said, 'Oh, please, there's so many other people who could do this.'' Clinton initially turned Obama down, but he persisted. Some Democratic senators welcomed the idea of her leaving, having been allied with Obama during the campaign and believing that Clinton had risked party disunity by keeping her candidacy going for so long. Obama and Clinton held a meeting on the subject on November 11. When the possibility became public on November 14, it came as a surprising and dramatic move, especially given the long, sometimes bitter battle the two had waged during the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries. However, Obama had been thinking of the idea as far back as the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Despite the aggressiveness of the campaign and the still-lingering animosities between the two campaign staffs, as with many primary battles the political differences between the candidates were never that great and the two rivals had developed a respect for one another as well. Consideration of Clinton was seen as Obama wanting to assemble a 'team of rivals' in his administration, à la Abraham Lincoln. The notion of rivals successfully working together also found applicability in other fields, such as George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in relation to Operation Overlord during World War II and Indra Nooyi keeping on her top rival for CEO at Pepsico. At the same time, the choice gave Obama an image of being self-assured. Clinton was conflicted whether she wanted to take the position or remain in the Senate, and agonized over her decision. While the Senate leadership had discussed possible leadership positions or other promotions in rank with her even before the cabinet position became a possibility, nothing concrete had been offered. The prospect of her ever becoming Senate Majority Leader seemed dim. A different complication was Bill Clinton; she told Obama: 'There's one last thing that's a problem, which is my husband. You've seen what this is like; it will be a circus if I take this job,' making reference to the volatile effect Bill Clinton had had during the primaries. In addition, there was a specific concern whether the financial and other involvements of Bill Clinton's post-presidential activities would violate any conflict-of-interest rules for serving cabinet members. There was as well considerable media speculation about what effect taking the position would have on her political career and any possible future presidential aspirations. Clinton wavered over the offer, but as she later related, 'But, you know, we kept talking. I finally began thinking, look, if I had won and I had called him, I would have wanted him to say yes. And, you know, I'm pretty old-fashioned, and it's just who I am. So at the end of the day, when your president asks you to serve, you say yes, if you can.'On November 21, reports indicated that Clinton had accepted the position. On December 1, President-elect Obama formally announced that Clinton would be his nominee for Secretary of State. Clinton said she was reluctant to leave the Senate, but that the new position represented a 'difficult and exciting adventure
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