EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM ‘RENEGADE’: Obama On Clinton Pick: “I’m Not Begging Her To Take This Job”

via HuffPost

In an exclusive excerpt from Newsweek Senior White House correspondent Richard Wolffe’s new book, “Renegade: The Making of a President,” Wolffe details the internal debates within the Obama camp over whether to select Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.RENEGADE-

Wolffe will discuss his new book on NBC’s“Today” show on Monday morning.

Of all his transition choices, none was easier to make, or more complex to execute, than Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Obama had long wanted his former rival on his team, no matter what his friends and aides said about her aggressive campaign… His staff opposed the idea for the most part, arguing that Clinton would never be truly loyal. But Obama was willing to leave the primaries behind, including his own strong feelings at the time. “I don’t hold grudges,” he told his aides. “I don’t worry about the past. I’m concerned about what happens now. If she can help me and Bill Clinton isn’t too much of a liability, we should seriously look at this.” …

Obama was under no illusion about the legacy of the long primary season. During one transition meeting, Obama said he wanted to offer Clinton the diplomatic job. “I’m really interested in pursuing this, but I know she has some hard feelings coming out of this campaign.” Emanuel and John Podesta, the former Clinton official who ran the transition, assured Obama that she was over those hard feelings now. Obama smiled and said, “Believe me. She’s not over it yet.”

His decision to offer her the job of secretary of state came surprisingly early. Well before the end of the primaries, when his staff and friends still felt hostile to her, Obama decided that Clinton possessed the qualities to carry his diplomacy to the rest of the world. “We actually thought during the primary, when we were pretty sure we were going to win, that she could end up being a very effective secretary of state,” he told me later. “I felt that she was disciplined, that she was precise, that she was smart as a whip, and that she would present a really strong image to the world…I had that mapped out.” Continue reading