US president-elect Barack Obama planned to nominate Democratic Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as his secretary of state today, transforming a once-bitter political rivalry into a high-level strategic and diplomatic partnership.
Obama will name the New York senator to his national security team at a news conference in Chicago, Democratic officials said on Saturday. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly for the transition team.
To clear the way for his wife to take the job, former president Bill Clinton agreed to disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation since its inception in 1997. He will also refuse donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), his annual charitable conference, and will cease holding CGI meetings overseas.
Bill Clinton’s business deals and global charitable endeavors had been expected to create problems for the former first lady’s nomination. But in negotiations with the Obama transition team, the former president agreed to several measures designed to bring transparency to his post-presidential work.
The former president had long refused to disclose the identities of contributors to his foundation, saying many gave money on condition that they not be identified. He’s now agreed to do so and has volunteered to step away from day-to-day management of the foundation while his wife serves as secretary of state.
Bill Clinton also agreed to submit his speaking schedule to vetting by the State Department and White House counsel and to submit any new sources of income to similar ethical review.
Obama’s choice of Hillary Clinton was an extraordinary gesture of goodwill after a year in which the two rivals competed for the Democratic nomination in a long, bitter primary battle.
The two clashed repeatedly on foreign affairs during the contest, with Obama criticizing Hillary Clinton for her vote to authorize the Iraq War and Hillary Clinton saying that Obama lacked the experience to be president. She also chided him for saying he would meet with leaders of rogue nations like Iran and Cuba without preconditions.
The bitterness began melting away in June after Hillary Clinton ended her campaign and endorsed Obama. She went on to campaign for him in his general election contest against Republican Senator John McCain.
Advisers said Obama had for several months envisioned Hillary Clinton as his top diplomat and he invited her to Chicago to discuss the job just a week after the Nov. 4 election. The two met privately on Nov. 13 in Obama’s downtown transition office.