CHICAGO – Associates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday the former first lady is weighing whether to leave the Senate and become secretary of state in the Obama administration, a job they say she believes is hers if she wants it.
Transition officials for President-elect Barack Obama said other candidates have been vetted for the job. But the New York senator has emerged as the leading contender and the vetting of former president Bill Clinton has been particularly intense.
Associates say Hillary Clinton has been told that Obama wants her to be secretary of state, although accounts differ on how bluntly and directly Obama made the overture. The associates would speak only on grounds of anonymity because of the private nature of the negotiations.
Face-to-face meetings between the transition team and lawyers representing the Clintons have ended, but aides to the president-elect said some final vetting is still under way.
Hoping to ease concerns about possible conflicts of interest, Bill Clinton has shifted a long-standing policy and agreed to publicly disclose the names of all donors who have given more than $250 to his presidential library and foundation. Officials were trying to work out the details on how to handle those who gave money on the condition that their names would not be revealed.
Friends said Hillary Clinton is torn about leaving the Senate, where she served for nearly eight years and where she had hoped to be a leading voice on health care and other issues. She was expected to make a decision very soon.