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Hillary "on Track" to be Next Secretary of State
    2008-11-22 00:36:40     Xinhua

The path has been cleared for New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the next U.S. Secretary of State, a CNN online report said Friday.

Citing three sources, the network's report said President-elect Barack Obama is "on track" to name his former Democratic nomination rival to the top diplomatic post after the Thanksgiving holiday.

However, Clinton's advisors insisted in a newly released statement that "any and all speculation about Cabinet or other administration appointments is for president-elect Obama's transition team to address."

Speculations on Clinton's role in the future Obama administration were fueled by their secret meeting last week in Chicago, where Obama's transition team headquarters is located. The two had a substantive discussion on how to enlist Clinton, according to Obama's aides.

Earlier reports said former President Bill Clinton had agreed to cooperate with the vetting procedure to clear the path for his wife to head the State Department from Jan. 20.

He greenlighted the release of details about several major donors to his Clinton Foundation, and the submission of future foundation activities and paid speeches to Obama's team for a strict ethics review, reports said.

He also agreed to step down from his day-to-day responsibilities at the foundation and inform the state department of his speaking schedule and any new sources of income, to allay Obama's worries that his international and financial dealings may create a potential conflict of interest with his wife.

Obama's offer of a key cabinet post to his former rival was considered a sign of a remarkable union between the two and an effort to heal internal divisions in the Democratic Party following the long-drawn nomination battle.

However, some Democrats and political analysts reportedly questioned whether Clinton was too independent and ambitious to work in her former rival's cabinet, but such doubts have been dismissed by Obama's team, which cited her capability to rebuild U.S. foreign relations with her credibility and experience.



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