Will Bill Clinton block Hillary’s choice as top diplomat?

November 18th, 2008 - 10:37 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 18 (IANS) As US President-elect Barack Obama pondered over naming Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton as secretary of sate, media reports suggested that her husband Bill Clinton’s complicated global interests may pose a hurdle.Obama’s advisers “have begun reviewing former President Bill Clinton’s finances and activities to see whether they would preclude” the former first lady’s appointment as the nation’s top diplomat, said the New York Times.

The Clintons “could be positioned to lead a public-private partnership on the global stage unlike any before it, one that experts say would bring with it a host of potential benefits and pitfalls for the new president,” suggested the Washington Post.

Bill Clinton’s international business dealings, global foundation and penchant for going off script could present a significant obstacle to Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state, said CNN citing observers.

On the one hand, his established relationships with world leaders could instantly make the New York senator a welcome face in embassies around the world, it said.

On the other, his complicated global business interests could present future conflicts of interest that result in unneeded headaches for the incoming commander-in-chief.

“These are issues that I’m sure are being discussed, and they will have to be worked out, and it’s legitimate to ask these questions,” James Carville, a former aide to the Clintons, old CNN.

CNN said two officials with Obama’s transition team have confirmed that it is investigating Bill Clinton’s finances and post-presidential dealings.

Besides Hillary Clinton, Obama last week met with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, another former rival for the Democratic nomination,about the secretary of state position. The 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry too is said to be in the run.

Another hurdle could be praise from three prominent Republicans. Henry Kissinger, who was secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations, has said Clinton would be an “outstanding” selection.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told ABC it would be a “great move.” And Republican senator Jon Kyl of Arizona told Fox News, “She’s got the experience; she’s got the temperament for it.”

Meanwhile, A new poll suggests that most Americans are confident that Obama will make the right decisions when it comes to picking his top officials.

Forty-three percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday are very confident that Obama will make the right choices, with 34 percent somewhat confident and only 23 percent not confident.

“Obama is having the kind of honeymoon that no president-elect has had in at least 30 years,” said CNN polling director Keating Holland. “It’s no surprise that Americans have a positive view of anything Obama might do - at least until he does something controversial.”

Asked which appointment will matter the most to the country’s future, 41 percent said the secretary of the treasury; 25 percent said secretary of state; 24 percent said secretary of defence and 8 percent named the attorney general.

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