President-Elect Chooses Former Rival Hillary Clinton to Be Secretary of State

President-elect Obama and Sen. Clinton before reporters yesterday.
President-elect Obama and Sen. Clinton before reporters yesterday. (By Pablo Martinez Monsivais -- Associated Press)
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Obama's Former Rival Clinton Joins His Team

· Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton fought hard against each other this year during the Democratic primaries. But yesterday, President-elect Obama named his former rival to serve in an important role in his administration.

Obama picked Clinton to serve as secretary of state, the person who leads the country's efforts in foreign affairs. Obama praised Clinton, saying she has "extraordinary intelligence and toughness."

Obama also said that Robert M. Gates, President Bush's secretary of defense, would stay on in that role in the new president's Cabinet. The Cabinet is a group of advisers to the president on special issues.

Obama's approach in selecting his team of advisers is similar to that used by President Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s.

Lincoln was said to have collected "a team of rivals," meaning that he hired some advisers who did not agree with him on many issues. He did that so he could hear conflicting views. He even hired one who had once called him an ape!

Obama has said he wants to be surrounded by people with their own strong opinions so he can hear many different views on an issue before making a decision.

He also picked several other members of his team.

They include Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to serve as secretary of homeland security. That department works to prevent terrorism on American soil. Eric Holder was selected as attorney general, the person who heads the Justice Department and is the top law enforcement officer in the country.

Clinton, Napolitano and Holder must be confirmed by the Senate.

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