Obama’s dilemma: two Clintons for the price of one!

November 20th, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 20 (IANS) Amid continued media frenzy over the possibility of Hillary Clinton becoming the next secretary of state, Bill Clinton is reported to have made several concessions to help move his wife’s vetting process along.Among other things the former president has agreed to make public all donors to his foundation and clearing all of his future speeches and charitable activities with Obama administration officials, media reports said citing Democratic sources.

But there continued to be some dispute about whether president-elect Barack Obama had formally offered the job to Hillary Clinton. However, aides to Obama were Wednesday quoted as saying that it would be difficult for her to now walk away from the position.

Obama’s staff has gone down the path of thoroughly vetting her and her husband with the understanding that, if he should make an official job offer, she would accept it, the Washington Post cited the aides as saying.

Another candidate for the post, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, emerged from his meeting with Obama last Friday under the impression that the job had not been filled, it said. The 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Senator John F. Kerry is also said to be on Obama’s shortlist for the position.

Two Obama transition officials cited by CNN didn’t say how fast financial information is being turned over, but they did shoot down a report suggesting that transition officials are annoyed by slow cooperation from the Clintons.

Clinton is mulling whether to take the post with her husband and close advisers, the Post said citing a source, noting that becoming the nation’s top diplomat would be a major and career-changing decision for the former first lady.

Bill Clinton said Wednesday that he would do whatever was asked of him in regard to the vetting process.

“Whatever they want, this is a deal between president-elect and Hillary and you should talk to them, but I’ll do whatever they want,” he said. “We’re both committed, completely committed to his success so that’s for them to work out. Whatever they do, I’ll support.”

Clinton’s international and financial dealings with his foundation and presidential library have been a sticking point with an Obama camp worried that Clinton’s position in the cabinet could create a potential conflict of interest as the country’s top diplomat, CNN said.

“I think that he knows a lot of world leaders and he has informal conversations with those world leaders, and those will be conversations that the administration will not be able to track nor can they control,” said Politico’s Jeanne Cummings.

Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Programme of the New America Foundation, said despite their policy differences, “hiring Clinton may be a masterstroke of genius that has all the markings of a high-risk, high-reward move with which this political tycoon Obama has grown comfortable.”

“By bringing her on, Obama finally gets the keys to the Clinton political franchise, adding it to the Daley, Daschle and Kennedy Democratic party franchises he has already acquired and integrated. Obama neutralizes a potential rival for the 2012 race,” he added.

In an editorial Wednesday, the Post said “Hillary Clinton should get fair consideration, but Bill Clinton’s role would have to change.”

“Choosing Clinton would show that Obama (and this comes as no surprise) is confident enough to surround himself with smart and capable people. But if Obama chooses Ms. Clinton, he’ll get Mr. Clinton -two for the price of one, you might say,” it said summing up Obama’s dilemma.

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