President-elect Barack Obama has reportedly picked a former high-ranking Clinton administration aide to serve as the next attorney general, the country's top law enforcement official.
Eric Holder, a former US attorney who served as the No 2 official in the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton, would be the nation's first black attorney general.
An Obama official and two Democrats in touch with the transition team confirmed yesterday that Holder was Obama's top choice, but the Obama official said the decision was not final. Holder did not return messages seeking comment yesterday.
Word of Holder's likely appointment surfaced while Washington was abuzz with reports that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former president's wife, was at the top of Obama's list to be the next secretary of state, the top US diplomat.
Obama and Hillary Clinton met at the president-elect's transition headquarters in Chicago last week. Earlier, the former first lady had been widely mentioned as a possible vice-presidential choice after Obama vanquished her in the lengthy and often bitter Democratic presidential primary.
Obama, who ran for president on a platform of change, was raising eyebrows with his heavy focus on officials from the former Clinton administration in his transition team and his consideration of them for his Cabinet. He has already named Rahm Emanuel, a key Democrat in Congress and a top White House official under Clinton, to serve as his chief of staff.
The expected appointment of Holder, who served on the search committee that settled on Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as Obama's vice-presidential running mate, emerged after the president-elect's aides began canvassing senators about Holder's chances for confirmation.