Hillary Clinton gets senate panel nod

January 15th, 2009 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 15 (IANS) The Senate foreign relations committee has endorsed the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the next US Secretary of State. The vote was 16-1.The full Senate still must confirm Clinton as President-elect Barack Obama’s chief diplomat, but the committee vote is a clear sign that the former first lady should be in place at the State Department by Obama’s inauguration next Tuesday.

Clinton, a senator of New York, earned the near unanimous support of her colleagues. Only one Republican, Senator David Vitter opposed Clinton’s confirmation in the Senate committee.

Vitter, along with several other Republicans, warned that her husband Bill Clinton’s charitable fundraising overseas could pose conflicts of interest.

Clinton, who campaigned against Obama, describing him as “na├»ve” on foreign policy in the Democratic presidential primaries, has indicated in her confirmation hearing that she supports the incoming president’s intention to place diplomacy ahead of confrontation.

“Smart power requires reaching out to both friends and adversaries,” Clinton said Tuesday in the opening statement of her confirmation hearing. “I am proud to be an American at the dawning of this new American moment.”

“Today’s security threats cannot be addressed in isolation,” she told the panel saying.

“We will build on our economic and political partnership with India, the world’s most populous democracy and a nation with growing influence in the world.”

“If we do our job correctly,” Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry said, “as we begin a new presidency and a new Congress, we stand on the brink of a new era of American diplomacy with the great potential for significant, if not transformational steps forward across the globe.”

Clinton enjoys strong public support, according to a recent Gallup Poll that found 65 percent of Americans surveyed holding a favourable opinion of Clinton-her highest rating in nearly 10 years.

Obama, too, holds similarly strong approval ratings in the Gallup Poll’s daily tracking and in a new Pew Research Centre survey released Thursday showing that 79 percent

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