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Clinton To Accept Secretary Of State Job

CBS News has confirmed that Sen. Hillary Clinton has decided to accept the offer to join President-elect Barack Obama's cabinet as Secretary of State, according to a senior Clinton adviser.

The adviser told CBS News that Obama formally told Clinton earlier in the week the job was hers if she wanted it.

However, a Clinton spokesman on the record said reports that this is a done deal are "premature."

"We're still in discussions, which are very much on track. Any reports beyond that are premature," said Philippe Reines, a senior adviser to the New York senator.

Earlier, it was reported that Mr. Obama was on track to make the nomination official after Thanksgiving, barring any unforeseen problems, according to an aide to the transition.

"In many ways this pairing would seem the most unlikely of the new administration, especially given the often bitter primary battle between the two," said senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. "But the President-elect has emphasized his desire to bring former opponents into his administration and there's not a better example of this 'team of rivals' approach than this. Whether it works out in the long run is the $64,000 question."

The transition aide told The Associated Press that the two camps have worked out financial disclosure issues involving Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, and the complicated international funding of his foundation that operates in 27 countries. The aide said Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton have had substantive conversations about the secretary of state job.

Clinton is reported to have been mulling the post for several days, but the transition aide's comments suggested that Mr. Obama's team does not feel she is inclined to turn it down.

Some Democrats and government insiders have questioned whether Clinton is too independent and politically ambitious to be an effective secretary of state. But Mr. Obama is said to admire her talents and experience, as do many other Democrats.

A senior adviser to Mr. Obama said the president-elect believes Clinton would bring instant stature and credibility to U.S. diplomatic relations and that the advantages to her serving far outweighed potential downsides.

Meanwhile, some of Mr. Obama's economic team began to take shape on Friday. A senior Democratic official told the Associated Press that Mr. Obama is likely to name Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve, as Treasury Secretary.

Also, CBS News has confirmed that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is a serious contender to be tapped for Commerce Secretary. (Read more)

It was not clear when Mr. Obama intended to make a formal announcement of any of his picks. He has largely stayed out of public view since his election on Nov. 4, preferring to work quietly in a suite of offices in downtown Chicago.

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