The megaphone diplomacy coming from Hillary Clinton’s camp yesterday was loud and clear: she wants to be secretary of state and should “go for it”, according to her close friends and advisers.
As Clinton pondered her political future, the coterie known as Hillaryland had already begun celebrating the return of one half of the world’s most famous power couple to the global stage.
President-elect Barack Obama, her former rival and nemesis, had not formally offered Clinton the job but the word was it was “hers if she wants it” after the two met for private talks in Chicago. The appointment of Clinton, 60, as America’s top diplomat would be a dramatic coda to a presidential election that never lost its power to excite and surprise.
Obama’s initiative could unite the two clashing power centres of the party while acting as a “force multiplier” for American diplomacy, according to the president-elect’s closest advisers.
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“She would be fantastic. Hillary Clinton has an international reputation and relationship with the world’s leaders,” a senior Obama adviser said.
The former first lady had claimed she was running for president to “restore America’s standing in the world” – and this could be her second chance. It would also enable her to be at the end of a red telephone at 3am in the event of an international crisis, the theme of her most vicious anti-Obama campaign advertisement.
At the time Susan Rice, Obama’s senior foreign policy adviser, scoffed that one did not acquire experience “merely by being married to a commander-in-chief”. The Obama camp also ridiculed “Snipergate”, Clinton’s claim to have landed in Bosnia under fire in the 1990s when television footage showed otherwise.
All has been forgiven after the graciousness with which Clinton campaigned for Obama after the end of the Democratic primary – a test of her diplomatic skills. “She did over 60 events for us. She put her heart and soul into getting Obama elected,” an Obama aide said.