SECTIONS

Washington, Saturday

If Hillary Clinton is appointed Secretary of State, pundits say, it is because she has experience or Barack Obama is a scheming politician.

Some of the President-elect’s transition advisors pushed hard for Hillary to be Secretary of State, saying it, "would create the ultimate ‘Team of Rivals’ Cabinet".

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During the election campaign Obama was asked what books besides the Bible he would consider essential reading as president.

He named a biography of Abraham Lincoln, called Team of Rivals. "[It] talks about Lincoln’s capacity to bring opponents of his and people who have run against him in his Cabinet. And he was confident enough to be willing to have these dissenting voices ... It’s a remarkable study in leadership," said Obama.

If Hillary accepts the appointment, the political benefit to Obama is much more obvious. If the New York Senator takes the offer that would almost certainly prevent her from challenging Obama for the 2012 nomination – no matter how bad things get in the next four years. The unseemliness of a Cabinet member challenging the president would just be too much.

As they say, keep your friends close.

But Clinton has much to gain politically as well: it could potentially put her in a better position to make one last run in 2016 (she would be 69 then). While being secretary of state would tie Clinton to every Obama administration foreign policy decision, she would avoid taking a position on all of the tough, controversial economic questions that she would otherwise have to deal with in the Senate.

The job will also take her away from the domestic issues, like health care reform.

One potential problem could be that her friend from the Senate, Vice-President-elect Joe Biden was preparing himself to play an overarching role in foreign policy in the next administration.

Agencies