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Clinton Says Yes To Secretary Of State

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

From NPR News this is All Things Considered. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

And I'm Melissa Block. A flurry of names emerged today as the Obama administration appears to be taking shape. Sources close to Senator Hillary Clinton have told the New York Times, she decided to accept the offer to be named secretary of state in the Obama administration. NPR has confirmed that report. We have also confirmed two other names as Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, and as Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson. Joining us to talk about the developments is NPR correspondent Scott Horsley. And Scott, let's clarify the status here. All three of these folks we've mentioned: Senator Clinton, Bill Richardson, Timothy Geithner, all have been offered the jobs and accepted them?

SCOTT HORSLEY: That's what sources are telling NPR. I should say with respect to Hillary Clinton as secretary of state - both the Obama camp and the Clinton camp are saying it's not a completely done deal, but there are reports that Hillary Clinton has made the decision to take the offer.

BLOCK: OK, and we'll talk more about Senator Clinton in a little bit, but first let's talk about the man who is evidently in line to be secretary of the treasury, Timothy Geithner.

HORSLEY: That's right. He's very well thought of. The stock market soared on news of his selection today. He's young, but former treasury secretary Robert Rubin says you quickly forget that because Tim Geithner is so smart. As president of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, he has been connected to Wall Street, he knows Wall Street, but he spent his career in government, so he hasn't been getting rich off the excesses of Wall Street that the rest of us are now paying a price for.

BLOCK: And he also used to work for a man whose name was also bandied around for the job of treasury secretary and that's Larry Summers?

HORSLEY: That's right. Larry Summers was sort of Tim Geithner's mentor at treasury in the Clinton era. And Geithner is thought of as being similarly smart like Summers, but also more diplomatic and more willing to let other people in the room feel like they're smart. He is known for his self deprecating sense of humor, and his skill at building consensus. In fact, the descriptions of him sometimes sound a little bit like those of the president-elect himself.

BLOCK: Another name, Bill Richardson, for commerce secretary, Bill Richardson of course, himself a one time presidential contender.

HORSLEY: That's right. He was an early contender that this go around and of course the New Mexico governor, he served as the U.N. Ambassador and energy secretary under former President Clinton, but then made headlines when instead of endorsing Hillary Clinton, he came out for Barack Obama fairly early in the primary season. He would be a high ranking Latino cabinet member and that's something that the Obama camp has been trying to achieve. Latinos voted for Obama by a better than two-to-one margin and, of course, they are a growing share of the U.S. electorate.

BLOCK: OK, let's talk now about Senator Clinton and she has apparently had some reservations about leaving the Senate and whether this would be the right move for her?

HORSLEY: That's right. She is a junior senator, but obviously has influence there and wondered about whether she would be actually taking a demotion to become secretary of state. She had a secret meeting - maybe the worst kept secret ever - with Barack Obama a week ago, Thursday. Since then sources close to the transition tell us there have been more substantive talks between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And now there are reports that she has made the decision that this is a job she wants.

BLOCK: You know, at the same time, there were a lot of reservations on the other side from the Obama team about Hillary Clinton's husband, the former president Bill Clinton, and his connections in the business world through his foundation. What happened to those concerns?

HORSLEY: That's right. We're now told that the financial disclosures for Bill Clinton's complicated business deals have been worked out and that things are on track. That said, we still don't expect a formal announcement for the secretary of state's job until after Thanksgiving.

BLOCK: OK, Scott thanks very much.

HORSLEY: My pleasure, Melissa.

BLOCK: That's NPR's Scott Horsley. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.
Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.