Obama Names Clinton Secretary of State

HarpBlaster.com wire reports

CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2008 — President-elect Barack Obama today announced U.S. Sen. and former political rival Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to be his secretary of state.

In addition, Obama has decided to keep Robert Gates as defense secretary.

“We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends,” Obama said. “We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships. We will show the world once more that America is relentless in defense of our people, steady in advancing our interests, and committed to the ideals that shine as a beacon to the world–democracy and justice, opportunity and unyielding hope–because American values are America’s great export to the world.”

Obama announced other a number of appointments, including Eric Holder for attorney general and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security secretary. Also, Obama tapped retired Marine Corps General James Jones to serve as national security advisor and Susan Rice for the post of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

“Mindful that we are engaged in two wars and face other serious challenges at home and around the world, and with a profound sense of personal responsibility to and for our men and women in uniform and their families, I must do my duty — as they do theirs,” Gates said in a statement. “How could I do otherwise?

“Serving in this position for nearly two years — and especially the opportunity to lead our brave and dedicated soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and defense civilians — has been the most gratifying experience of my life. I am honored to continue to serve them and our country, and I will be honored to serve President-elect Obama,” Gates said.

Gates will not have to go through the Senate confirmation process. President Bush nominated Gates as defense secretary in November 2006. The Senate approved the nomination, and he was sworn into office in December 2006 to succeed Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Gates will be the first Cabinet officer to continue serving in an administration from a different political party.

Clinton has represented New York since her election in 2000 and has served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She served as the chairwoman of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in 1993. She has supported military action in Afghanistan, and has opposed recent actions in Iraq. In the Senate, she sponsored legislation to increase the size of the Army and has consistently worked to help military families.

If confirmed, she will replace Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Jones retired in 2007 after serving as NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command. Before that assignment, he was the Marine Corps commandant. Jones received his commission through Georgetown University in Washington in 1967 and served in Vietnam. He received the Silver Star for his actions there. As NATO commander, he led the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

As national security advisor, he will help to coordinate all aspects of U.S. power in the war on terror. He is currently chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States. If approved, he would replace Stephen Hadley.

Holder served as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration. He also has served as a judge, a prosecutor and as a front-line lawyer in the Justice Department. A native New Yorker, Holder received his law degree from Columbia University. If confirmed, he would succeed Michael Mukasey.

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