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Hillary Clinton For Secretary Of State?

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is among the candidates that President-elect Barack Obama is considering for secretary of state, according to two Democratic officials in close contact with the Obama transition team.

People close to Sen. Clinton say the former first lady has not been approached, reports CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante.

But a Democratic official said Friday morning that Clinton and Obama met in Obama's downtown office Thursday afternoon.

Clinton's motorcade was seen leaving the office complex shortly before Obama left for the day. Clinton receives Secret Service protection as a former first lady.

Clinton, who pushed Obama hard for the Democratic presidential nomination, was rumored to be a contender for the job last week, but the talk died down as party activists questioned whether she was best-suited to be the nation's top diplomat in an Obama administration.

The talk resumed in Washington and elsewhere Thursday, a day after Obama named several former aides to President Bill Clinton to help run his transition effort.

The two Democratic officials who spoke Thursday did so on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering Obama and his staff. Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines referred questions to the Obama transition team, which said it had no comment.

One source told Plante that perhaps this is just an honorable mention - a way of rewarding Sen. Clinton for her help during the campaign. But Clinton's visit to Chicago - on what her office will describe only as private business - has renewed speculation that an offer could be forthcoming.

Other people frequently mentioned for the State Department job are Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and New Mexico's Democratic governor, Bill Richardson.

Sen. Clinton campaigned hard against Obama in a bitter battle for the Democratic nomination, but the two began to mend fences -- with Clinton headlining about three dozen campaign events on Obama's behalf.

Democratic strategist Dee Dee Myers expects their relationship to remain one of mutual respect because the bottom line is they need each other.

"I think she has made it clear that she will continue to help him," Myers said. "He has made it clear that he is grateful for all that she has done and he values her advice and values her experience."

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