Hillary Clinton takes oath-of-office as United States Secretary of State. Bill Clinton also pictured.
Hillary Clinton takes oath-of-office as United States Secretary of State. Bill Clinton also pictured.
United States Department of State - Source
License: Public Domain

Hillary Rodham Clinton elected to be Secretary of State

In mid-November 2008, President-elect Obama and Clinton discussed the possibility of her serving as U.S. Secretary of State in his administration, and on November 21, reports indicated that she had accepted the position. On December 1, President-elect Obama formally announced that Clinton would be his nominee for Secretary of State. Clinton said she was reluctant to leave the Senate, but that the new position represented a "difficult and exciting adventure". As part of the nomination, Bill Clinton agreed to accept a number of conditions and restrictions regarding his ongoing activities and fundraising efforts for the Clinton Presidential Center and Clinton Global Initiative.

The appointment required a Saxbe fix, passed and signed into law in December 2008. Confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began on January 13, 2009, a week before the Obama inauguration; two days later, the Committee voted 16–1 to approve Clinton. By this time, Clinton's public approval rating had reached 65 percent, the highest point since the Lewinsky scandal. On January 21, 2009, Clinton was confirmed in the full Senate by a vote of 94–2. Clinton took the oath of office of Secretary of State and resigned from the Senate that same day. She became the first former First Lady to serve in the United States Cabinet.

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state Wednesday as President Barack Obama moved to make his imprint on U.S. foreign policy, mobilizing a fresh team of veteran advisers and reaching out to world leaders. The Senate voted 94-2, with Republican Sens. David Vitter of Louisiana and Jim DeMint of South Carolina opposing.

Republicans and Democrats alike said her swift confirmation was necessary so that Obama could begin tackling the major foreign policy issues at hand, including two wars, increased violence in the Middle East and the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.

"It is essential that we provide the president with the tools and resources he needs to effect change, and that starts with putting a national security team in place as soon as possible," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Obama's presidential rival, Sen. John McCain, was among those who spoke in Clinton's favor.

"This nation has come together in a way that it has not for some time," said the Arizona Republican, on the Senate floor for the first time since the inauguration.

The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President's chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President's foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States. On January 21, 2009, Hillary Rodham Clinton was sworn in as the 67th Secretary of State of the United States.