Monday, December 1, 2008

Hillary Clinton Appointed Secretary of State

President-elect Barack Obama on Monday plans to officially announce that Democratic primary rival Hillary Rodham Clinton will be his secretary of state and name other appointees to top posts in his administration.

Obama is appearing at a morning news conference Monday in Chicago to announce Clinton's nomination as the top U.S. diplomat and say that President George W. Bush's defense secretary, Robert Gates, is staying on.

Retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones _ a former top commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Europe _ is to be Obama's national security adviser.

Democratic officials said Obama would name Washington lawyer Eric Holder as attorney general and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary. He also planned to announce two senior foreign policy positions outside the Cabinet: campaign foreign policy adviser Susan Rice as U.N. ambassador.

The Democratic officials disclosed the plans on a condition of anonymity because they were not authorized for public release ahead of the news conference. Those names had been discussed before for those jobs, but the officials confirmed that Obama will make them official Monday in his hometown.

Obama also has settled on former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle to be his secretary of Health and Human Services and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be Commerce secretary, but those announcements are not yet official. Last week, he named key members of his economic team, including Timothy Geithner, president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as Treasury secretary.

The decisions mean Obama has half of the 15-member Cabinet assembled less than a month after the election, including the most prominent positions at State, Justice, Treasury and Defense. Obama takes office on Jan. 20.

Obama's choice of Clinton was an extraordinary gesture of good will after a year in which the two rivals competed for the Democratic nomination in a long, bitter primary battle.

They clashed repeatedly on foreign affairs. Obama criticized Clinton, a fellow U.S. senator, for her vote to authorize the Iraq war. Clinton said Obama lacked the experience to be president and she chided him for saying he would meet with leaders of nations such as Iran and Cuba without conditions.

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