Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state
offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build
a broad coalition administration, the Guardian has learned.
advisers have begun looking into Bill Clinton's foundation, which
distributes millions of dollars to Africa to help with development, to
ensure that there is no conflict of interest. But Democrats do not
believe that the vetting is likely to be a problem.
be well placed to become the country's dominant voice in foreign
affairs, replacing Condoleezza Rice. Since being elected senator for
New York, she has specialised in foreign affairs and defence. Although
she supported the war in Iraq, she and Obama basically agree on a
withdrawal of American troops.
Clinton, who still harbours hopes
of a future presidential run, had to weigh up whether she would be
better placed by staying in the Senate, which offers a platform for
life, or making the more uncertain career move to the secretary of
As part of the coalition-building, Obama today also
reached out to his defeated Republican rival, John McCain, to discuss
how they could work together to roll back some of the most
controversial policies of the Bush years. Putting aside the bitter
words thrown about with abandon by both sides during the election
campaign, McCain flew to meet Obama at his headquarters in the
Kluczynski Federal Building, in downtown Chicago.
before the meeting, said: "We're going to have a good conversation
about how we can do some work together to fix up the country." He said
he also wanted to thank McCain for his service to the country.
by a reporter whether he would work with Obama, McCain, who has long
favoured a bipartisan approach to politics, replied: "Obviously".
on both sides said Obama did not offer McCain a cabinet job, but
focused on how the senator for Arizona could help to guide through
Congress legislation that they both strongly favour.
Obama's status as president-in-waiting, the two met in a formal
setting, a room decked out with a US flag, and were accompanied by
senior advisers. Obama appeared the more relaxed of the two, sitting
with legs crossed, smiling broadly and waving to reporters, while
McCain sat stiffly, with a seemingly fixed grin.
Although the two
clashed during the election campaign over tax policy and withdrawal
from Iraq, they have more in common than they have differences. They
both favour the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention centre, an
increase in US troops to Afghanistan, immigration reform, stem cell
research and measures to tackle climate change, and oppose torture and
the widespread use of wire-tapping.
Although Democrats made gains
in the Senate in the November 4 elections, they fell short of the 60
seats that would have allowed them to override Republican blocking
tactics and will need Republican allies to get Obama's plans through.
This was highlighted today when the Democratic leadership in Congress
announced that a broad economic stimulus package Obama sought was not
likely to be passed because of Republican opposition.
confirmed at the weekend that he would offer jobs to some Republicans.
One of the names that crops up most often is Chuck Hagel, the former
Republican senator who is a specialist in foreign affairs and a critic
of the Iraq war.