Media figures continue to suggest Clinton will pursue rogue agenda if named secretary of state

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Media have continued to respond to reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state with the smear that she (or Bill Clinton) might pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not President-elect Barack Obama's, including the assertion that "Obama may wake up one day and discover that Hillary has decreed a new 'Clinton Doctrine' of foreign policy."

Media have continued to respond to reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton secretary of state with the smear that she (or Bill Clinton) might pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not Obama's. For instance, in a November 17 post on the Harper's blog Washington Babylon, Washington editor Ken Silverstein asserted that Sen. Clinton "[i]s not a team player" and claimed that "Obama may wake up one day and discover that Hillary has decreed a new 'Clinton Doctrine' of foreign policy."

Additionally, on the November 17 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker speculated that Bill Clinton "could be out there creating his own foreign policy on the side."

While Silverstein and Tucker suggested that naming Clinton secretary of state could create problems, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker suggested that one of the reasons Obama might make the nomination is because Clinton could potentially cause problems for him if she stayed in the Senate. On the November 17 edition of MSNBC Live, Parker said that "clearly, you know, there are other reasons for Obama to select" Clinton as secretary of state, adding: "[H]e gets her out of the Senate, gets her off of the continent."

Media Matters for America previously noted that several media figures similarly speculated that Clinton would pursue her own agenda as secretary of state and not Obama's, with at least one pundit speculating that she would attempt to set up a "parallel government" while others speculated that Obama is considering the nomination because if Clinton remains in the Senate, she poses a threat of challenging him for the nomination in 2012 and can "mak[e] trouble" for him in the Senate.

From the 1 p.m. ET hour of the November 17 edition of MSNBC Live:

ANDREA MITCHELL (host): One of the things that we saw with Teddy Kennedy's return to the Senate today is that Ted Kennedy is still in charge of health care in the Senate, another reason why Hillary Clinton doesn't have that much leverage in the Senate, not enough seniority, and why it might be very attractive to her to go to the State Department.

PARKER: Interesting timing, wasn't it? That --

MITCHELL: Very.

PARKER: -- Senator Kennedy shows up just as she's trying to decide this. Well, clearly, you know, there are other reasons for Obama to select her and to -- I mean, she -- he gets her out of the Senate, gets her off of the continent, and the benefit is that she and Bill might run in to each other every now and then. That was very catty of me, wasn't it?

MITCHELL: But that's why we love you. Thank you so much for being with us.

PARKER: Thanks, Andrea.

From the November 17 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: Let's talk Lincoln history here, Team of Rivals. Let me go to Cynthia first. Team of Rivals. This man, the new president, our president-elect, is very Lincoln-esque. We've known that from the beginning. Does he really believe that Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton can be in the tent, in other words, total Obama-ites? Really rooting for his historic success, and if so, how does he test that motive before making the final decision?

TUCKER: Well, certainly, he believes Senator Hillary Clinton can be in the tent.

Now, Hillary Clinton was never the Clinton that Obama had to worry about most. She has still a long political career in front of her, which can be very successful. She has everything to gain by cooperating with the Obama administration in whatever position in which he wishes for her to serve. Secretary of state would be a great plum appointment for her if indeed it has been offered.

But Bill Clinton is out there doing his own thing. His financial ties are a problem. He brings his own drama -- that's a problem. And for heaven's sake, he could be out there creating his own foreign policy on the side.

So, the difficulty for Obama is not Senator Hillary Clinton, and keeping her in the tent, but how do you get her in the tent and then keep the former president under control as well?

From Ken Silverstein's November 17 blog post, "Five Reasons Hillary Clinton Should Not Be Secretary of State," on his blog Washington Babylon:

It looks like Barack Obama has offered Hillary Clinton the post of Secretary of State and she's mulling over whether to take the job or not. Obama's apparent offer makes him look magnanimous and delights Hillary Clinton's former backers, so maybe it's smart politics. But there are a number of good reasons why Clinton should not be secretary of state. Here are five:

1. Hillary Clinton will have her own agenda (as will her husband). She's not a team player and will bring in a crew of cronies whose chief aim will be to promote the boss, not the administration. Obama may wake up one day and discover that Hillary has decreed a new "Clinton Doctrine" of foreign policy.

2. It would be impossible, politically, to fire Hillary. No matter what she says or does, or how insubordinate, Obama will be stuck with her as long as she wants to stay.

3. Her husband is a walking conflict of interest. Bill helps a Canadian businessman land a uranium contract in Kazakhstan, and soon afterwards the businessman contributes to the Clinton Foundation. Bill's personal and business dealings are embarrassing enough without Hillary heading the State Department.

4. The Clinton style of management-for example, pitting one faction of staff against another-would be a disaster at the State Department. Just look at how well it worked on the campaign trail.

5. And the strongest strike of all against Hillary as secretary of state... look at who endorses her.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Show/Publication
Hardball, MSNBC Live, Harper's Magazine
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Bill Clinton, Propaganda/Noise Machine, Hillary Clinton
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