Advising Obama on that 3 am Phone Call

14 11 2008

Journalists must be feeling giddy about the idea of reporting on the mere prospect of Senator Hillary Clinton serving as Secretary of State instead of writing stories on obscure beltway figures uttering cryptic remarks at ho hum press conferences on the minutiae of executing a brilliantly well run transition to power.

The junior Senator from New York has reportedly been sited in Chicago pulling up in her own two car motorcade preparing to meet with folks on what one Clinton aid described as “private” business. All inquires as to the nature of the trip have been directed not to her own communications staff, but the Obama transition team. Staffers on the transition team have instructed the media to take the rumor “seriously,” though have remained mum on the subject themselves, according to March Armbinder of the Atlantic.

So far three reasons have been posited for why the Obama team is seriously considering Clinton. One is the lack of enthusiasm for the shortlist of Secretary of State, Clinton’s experience on the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, and, of course, because it fits in so well with the “Team of Rivals” narrative that the Abraham Lincoln obsessed Obama and his aides have tried to craft.

Interestingly enough, this is a notion that Obama has clinged to for a long while. In fact, even as early as December of 2007 Obama floated the possibility of having Senator Hillary Clinton as an adviser albeit in a tongue and cheek kind of way.

And in May of this year Obama would tease supporters and the media alike about the possibility of having Hillary Clinton serve in his administration.

I can tell you this. My goal is to have the best possible government. And that means me winning. So, I’m very practical in my thinking. I’m a practical guy. One of my heroes is Abraham Lincoln. Awhile back, there was a wonderful book written by Doris Kearns Goodwin called ‘Team of Rivals,’ in which she talked about how Lincoln basically pulled all the people he’d been running against into his Cabinet. Because whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was, ‘How can we get the country through this time of crisis?’ I think that has to be the approach one takes to the vice president and the Cabinet.

So I guess the signs were always there. But that is not to say some in the Obama camp do not have their reservations. Marc Ambinder reports:

That said, there is no reason, other than speculation, to believe that Obama has suddenly warmed to the idea of putting a harsh rival into his cabinet; it’s not known whether Obama trusts Clinton; whether he trusts her managerial ability; whether they’ve reconciled personally; it is certainly true that many former Clinton aides are now working for Obama, including several of Hillary Clinton’s top policy advisers.

Well, I guess we are going to have to say tuned.




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