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Reporter’s Notebook: Gwen Ifill on Clinton’s Appointment and Obama’s Transition

BY Admin  December 4, 2008 at 10:40 AM EST

Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton; AP Photo

Ifill outlined a critical qualification of Senator Clinton’s new role:”The most important thing a secretary of state can bring however when he or she travels around the world is the idea that they speak for the leadership of this country.”

She went on to dismiss the idea that the Obama-Clinton rivalry of the 2008 primary race would be a concern in his new administration: “As long as the United States is speaking with one voice, personal friendship is not as important because they have to agree on approach … Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama may have wanted the same job but they didn’t differ that drastically on their approach to foreign policy so they will be speaking with one voice.”

Ifill also cautioned critics who are quick to assess the appointments a new president makes: “You never know what the results of any of this are until these folks get in office. Eight years ago when George W. Bush took over and Dick Cheney was his vice president and Donald Rumsfeld was his secretary of defense, everyone praised those picks as being experienced and flexible … So what the first lush of response is to these appointees should be put in our hip pockets until we see what actually happens when they get in office.”

Listen to the full discussion: