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Obama, Clinton discussed key post

world Updated: Nov 16, 2008 00:23 IST
Steve Holland

US Senator Hillary Clinton left the door open to becoming secretary of state on Friday, a day after a meeting with President-elect Barack Obama at which a Democratic official said they discussed the job.

Obama’s selection of Clinton would be a bold move that would bring into his coming administration a high-profile former rival who had questioned his level of experience and his foreign policy ideas in the Democratic primary battle earlier this year.

In introductory remarks at a speech in Albany, New York, Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, did not confirm or deny that she had a secret meeting with Obama on Thursday. Democratic officials said the meeting did take place.

“I’m not going to speculate or address anything about the president-elect’s incoming administration. And I am going to respect his process and any inquiries should be directed to his transition team,” Clinton said.

The Obama’s transition office in his hometown Chicago refused to comment.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, said Obama met on Friday with another former rival, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and that they talked about the secretary of state position.

A Democratic official said Clinton and Obama “had a serious meeting but the question was whether an actual offer was made.”
CNN quoted Democratic sources as saying Obama and Clinton had a serious discussion to gauge her interest in becoming secretary of state and that she left the meeting with the impression the job was hers if she wanted it.

Nominating Clinton for the job would be a dramatic step by Obama as he seeks to build a high-powered team in Washington. He defeated the New York senator in a sometimes bitter duel for the presidential nomination, then miffed her supporters by not choosing her as his vice presidential running mate.

Obama also scheduled a meeting in Chicago on Monday with Republican Senator John McCain, their first face-to-face talks since Obama defeated him.

Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Obama and McCain would discuss ways to bring about a “more effective and efficient federal government.”

McCain had campaigned on reforming government by cutting out programs and reducing spending.

New Jersey Democratic Governor Jon Corzine said Clinton would be great as secretary of state.