WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama is filling his Cabinet at record speed, choosing loyal friends and one-time foes to guide his wartime foreign policy decisions. Obama plans to appear at a morning news conference Monday in Chicago to announce Democratic primary rival Hillary Rodham Clinton as his secretary of state and say that President George W. Bush's defense secretary, Robert Gates, is staying on.
Democratic officials said Obama would name Washington lawyer Eric Holder as attorney general and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary. He also planned to announce two senior foreign policy positions outside the Cabinet: campaign foreign policy adviser Susan Rice as U.N. ambassador and retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones as national security adviser.
The Democratic officials disclosed the plans on a condition of anonymity because they were not authorized for public release ahead of the news conference. Those names had been discussed before for those jobs, but the officials confirmed that Obama will make them official Monday in his hometown.
Obama also has settled on former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle to be his secretary of Health and Human Services and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be Commerce secretary, but those announcements are not yet official. Last week, he named key members of his economic team, including Timothy Geithner, president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as Treasury secretary.
The decisions mean Obama has half of the 15-member Cabinet assembled less than a month after the election, including the most prominent positions at State, Justice, Treasury and Defense. With the world grappling with war, recession and terrorist threats that erupted this week during coordinated attacks in India, Obama was moving swiftly to try to bring reassurance and continuity in the federal government when he takes over in less than two months.
Clinton's nomination is the latest chapter in what began as a bitter rivalry for the Democratic presidential nomination. To make it possible for his wife to become secretary of state, party officials said, former President Bill Clinton agreed to:
_Disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation since its inception in 1997 and all contributors going forward.
_Refuse donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Global Initiative, his annual charitable conference.
_Cease holding CGI meetings overseas.
_Volunteer to step away from day-to-day management of the foundation while his wife is secretary of state.
_Submit any new sources of income to a similar ethical review.
Lugar said there would still be "legitimate questions" raised about the former president's extensive international involvement. "I don't know how, given all of our ethics standards now, anyone quite measures up to this who has such cosmic ties, but ... hopefully, this team of rivals will work," Lugar said.