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Clinton, Obama Seal The Deal

It’s finally official: President-elect Obama will appear with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in Chicago on Monday as he names her secretary of state, a remarkable reunion of once-bitter rivals.

The news conference at a Chicago hotel is scheduled to begin at 10:40 a.m. Eastern.

Obama plans to roll out his entire national security team. He’s retaining Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon and is naming retired Marine Gen. James Jones as national security adviser.

The “Team of Rivals” war cabinet is very experienced and will have great credibility with the military and with allies abroad, but it constitutes several distinct power centers that could lead to clashes in tough times.

Obama’s transition team gave the green light to Clinton’s nomination after lawyers worked out a remarkable agreement addressing potential conflicts of interest for former President Bill Clinton, who has extensive financial ties abroad.

Most remarkably, the former president agreed to release the long-secret list of 208,000 donors to his presidential library and foundation. As one of nine concessions, he has promised to put out the list by the end of the year.

“It speaks to President Clinton's willingness to do more than what's asked of him," said a Democratic official familiar with the protracted negotiations between Clinton emissaries and Obama transition aides.

The agreement was negotiated by Cheryl Mills, Robert Barnett, Bruce Lindsey and Doug Band on the Clinton side and John Podesta and Todd Stern on the Obama side.

Here’s the full text of the internal guidance about the agreement:

“At the request of President-elect Obama, and to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest between the work of President Clinton and the service of Hillary Clinton should she be nominated and confirmed as Secretary of State, President Clinton is taking the following steps above and beyond the requirements of current laws and regulations.

— The Clinton Foundation will publish the names of everyone who has contributed since its founding in 1997 (this year).

— Should Senator Clinton be nominated and confirmed as Secretary of State, during her time of service, the Foundation will also publish the names of everyone who contributes going forward on an annual basis.

— The Foundation will separately incorporate CGI [the Clinton Global Initiative] from the Foundation; President Clinton will continue to host CGI gatherings, such as the one in NYC and its meetings for college and university students, as Founding Chairman of CGI.

— Although President Clinton will continue to invite participants to CGI events (which involves normal registration fees), he will not solicit 'sponsorship' contributions for CGI.

— CGI will also not host annual events outside the US and CGI will not solicit or accept foreign government contributions.

— Given the extensive and life-saving work of the Clinton Foundation's HIV/AIDS Initiative which can and should continue, the Foundation will continue to fulfill its commitments funded by foreign governments (including, among others, Sweden Norway, France, Great Britain). In the event an existing contributing country chooses to substantially increase its commitment, or a new country, or government-owned entity, decides to contribute, the Foundation will share such proposed contributions with the State Department ethics officials. State may also share the issue to the WH Counsel's office for review. To whatever extent there are conflict of interest concerns raised about such potential contributions related to Senator Clinton's service as Secretary, they will be conveyed to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for appropriate action.

— Same procedure to be followed for any foreign country contributors to CCI [Clinton Climate Initiative], CGSCI [Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative] and CHDI [Clinton Hunter Dvelopment Initiative].

— Regarding President Clinton's private work, during her tenure, President Clinton will share proposed hosts of speeches with the State Department ethics officials for their review, and as appropriate for review by the White House Counsel. Again, should there be conflict of interest concerns related to the Senator's anticipated service as Secretary, they will share those concerns with Senator and President Clinton for appropriate action.

— During her tenure as Secretary of State, should she be nominated and confirmed, President Clinton will share any proposed consultant relationships with State Department ethics officials, and the same procedures outlined above will apply here as well.

“None of these protocols is required by any law, and all of them go above and beyond the requirements of the law to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. The procedures are, of course, in addition, to the already extensive laws and regulations government the activities of spouses of federal officials (such as those outlined in 5 USC 208 and related regulations).”