Obama held secret meeting with Hillary Clinton

USA-OBAMA/CLINTON

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Senator Hillary Clinton with outstreached arm (D-NY) attend a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida, in this file image from October 20, 2008.

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CBC | Nov 14, 2008

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has met with his former rival Hillary Clinton, who Democratic officials have confirmed is a possible candidate to become his secretary of state.

Clinton met with Obama at his transition office in Chicago Thursday, Democratic officials said Friday, but the meeting was kept secret until after it was finished.

Unnamed Democratic sources have been quoted saying the two discussed the position. Clinton walked away from the meeting under the impression that it was hers for the taking, should she be interested, multiple sources told CNN.

Other sources have suggested that where she stands amongst other candidates for the job, or whether she would even accept it, isn’t yet clear.

Speaking in Albany, N.Y., Friday, Clinton was coy about the reports.

“I’m not going to speculate or address anything about the president-elect’s incoming administration. And I am going to respect his process and any inquiries should be directed to his transition team,” Clinton said.

Officials in Obama’s transition office refused to comment.

Both NBC and the Washington Post reported Thursday that advisers to the New York senator said she was under consideration by Obama to replace Condoleezza Rice as the United States’ top diplomat. If she took the post, Clinton would be the third woman to hold it after Rice and Madeleine Albright.

Obama also met Friday with New Mexican Gov. Bill Richardson, who is reportedly under consideration for the position of secretary of state as well.

Richardson was the former ambassador to the United Nations under Hillary’s husband, former U.S. president Bill Clinton. He has also done diplomatic work in his role as governor in places such as Sudan and North Korea.

Others who have been named as potential candidates for the job include 2004 presidential contender John Kerry, who was defeated by incumbent George W. Bush, and Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who threw his weight behind Obama over McCain in the recent election.

Meanwhile, news emerged Friday that Obama had selected his longtime friend Valerie Jarrett to become his White House senior adviser — a post once held by Karl Rove in the administration of current president George W. Bush.

Jarrett, who hired Michelle Obama to work in the Chicago mayor’s office years ago, has a background in real estate and politics.

She was chosen as senior adviser after being considered for several high-level administration positions, according to a person said to be close to Obama who didn’t want to be named in advance of the official announcement.

Obama, who beat his Republican opponent handily in the Nov. 4 election, is due to be sworn in Jan. 20, 2009. The Illinois senator is scheduled to resign his senate seat on Sunday.

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