Panel on Clinton Secretary of State Speculation

Panel on Clinton Secretary of State Speculation

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume - November 14, 2008


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D-NY) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me just say that I'm not going to speculate or address anything about the president-elect's incoming administration. And I'm going to respect his process, and any inquiries should be directed to his transition team.

BOB BECKEL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: What does she want to do? Does she want to spend the next six years getting post offices in the finger lakes of New York, or does she want to go around to the European capitals and go to China? This is a big deal.


BAIER: Democratic strategist Bob Beckel with his own unique view of the meeting in Chicago where President-elect Obama talked to Senator Hillary Clinton about the possibility of the job of secretary of state.

According to the reporting of Jim Angle, that job is on the table. Senator Clinton has yet to accept it, but there are a number of Democrats who believe she should, or would.

We're back with the panel. Fred, Secretary Clinton, what do you think about that possibility and about the move?

BARNES: I think it is a smart move by President-elect Obama, and I think Hillary Clinton is bound to take it. It is a great job. This is not ambassador to Sri Lanka. This is Secretary of State of the United States. It's a huge job.

I'm surprised that we have gotten into a situation where I happen to think that she is by far the best person he could pick of all those that are out there.

This is going to make John Kerry completely bonkers since he was the guy -- remember when Obama first became a rock star in politics, it was at that speech at the 2004 convention, Kerry's convention, when he was being nominated for the Democratic presidential nomination in Boston, and he is the one who elevated Obama.

Kerry wants to be secretary of state. I think Hillary Clinton would be much, much better. She's smarter. She's tougher. She knows a lot of these world leaders, or at least some of them. She was in the White House for a while.

I don't know what will happen to Bill here. Maybe he will be ambassador to Sri Lanka.

BAIER: Jeff, politically smart move?

BIRNBAUM: I think it's a very smart move.

As you pointed out, as the old adage goes, you want to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. And by bringing in Hillary Clinton, he keeps an eye on Hillary Clinton. In fact, she has to work for him.

This is very much like another president from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, who filled his cabinet with rivals, as Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote in her recent book, a book that Obama has said he really admires. So I think he really is taking a page from that.

BAIER: Any reason she wouldn't take it?

BIRNBAUM: I can't imagine it. And she gets a better deal than the one her aides said she wanted, that is as vice president. I think secretary of state is a much better job.

BAIER: Even under a vice president Biden, who is active in foreign policy and will be engaged on foreign policy in this administration?

KRAUTHAMMER: If she is secretary of state, he won't be. That's how the Clintons operate, I'm sure. If she accepts the job, it will be under those terms. She is not going to split the job with the sage of Wilmington.

What's really ironic here is, if you remember, for about half a year, she was touting her credentials in foreign affairs, and Obama was ridiculing them. And remember there was this little episode about her being shot at in Tusla?

But I guess change has come to America, and now all of that is behind us.

I would agree with Fred--she is a reasonably good choice. But what is so cynically brilliant and impressive about this is that with her out of the way, Obama is not going to have to show up in Iowa or New Hampshire in 2012. He has now cinched the re-nomination.

In the Carter administration, Kennedy challenged him as his presidency weakened. The Clintons have owned the party for 16 years, and it's now Obama. He knows that if he weakens and if he ever has a challenger, it would be her. And now, if she accepts, it won't be her.

BAIER: And then even in the Senate, on the healthcare issue, for example, perhaps a cleaner move for an Obama administration to get things through without a Senator Clinton on healthcare, Fred?

BARNES: I don't think he would have that big of a problem with her, not the problem her husband Bill Clinton had with Senator Pat Moynihan from New York back in 1994, in particular. And Moynihan wasn't crazy about the healthcare bill.

But, look, I don't know how Charles knows what's going to happen in 2012, but I certainly don't. and I wouldn't write anybody out of anything. The Obama presidency hasn't begun yet. Anything can happen.


KRAUTHAMMER: You can hold me to it if I'm still around!


BARNES: If you make a prediction, if it's far enough in the future, though, nobody will remember it and you won't be accountable.

BAIER: We have the tape.

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