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Secretary of State - Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Secretary of State - Hillary Rodham Clinton Empty Secretary of State - Hillary Rodham Clinton

Post  brianmoore on Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:09 am

Secretary of State - Hillary Rodham Clinton Clinton
Obama's former political foe has filled the top diplomatic post since the beginning of his administration. However, she has previously said she will not serve another four years, even though she is open to staying in the job through her replacement's confirmation. Questions about a future presidential run abound despite her insistence that her job at the State Department will be her last in public service.
Current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Obama confidant Susan Rice has long been a favorite to become the top U.S. diplomat. The former National Security Council staff member and assistant secretary of state for African affairs during President Bill Clinton's second term served as a foreign policy adviser to then-Sen. Obama's presidential campaign in 2008 before she was confirmed by the Senate for her current post in January 2009.

Despite her national security bona fides, an ugly Senate hearing would be expected after she served as the administration's public face after the September 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. In multiple TV appearances days after it occurred, she cited a hateful video and mob attack as the reason for the deaths and did not call it a terrorist assault. Officials said she relied on an intelligence assessment for her statements.

It will be a careful calculation on the president's part if he decides to nominate Rice for the job. Republicans know Clinton will stay until her replacement is in place, which could cause Senate Republicans to hold up other confirmations and create a credibility problem for the nominee. But Obama publicly defended Rice in a press conference following his re-election and may not back down from the fight.

Rice met with three of her loudest critics, Arizona Sen. John McCain, South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, to try to explain the disparities in what she said in her television appearances and the intelligence that later came out. But the meeting did little to smooth over opposition to her possible nomination. Coming out of the meeting all three senators expressed concern over what was said. Other Republican senators questioned whether, as secretary of state, Rice would be able to maintain independence from an administration she is so close to.

As is common for second-term presidents, Obama is likely to engage in more diplomacy and an existing productive working relationship would no doubt help with that transition. If Rice's nomination is too mired in controversy, Obama could put her on the NSC.



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