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Obama and Billary

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Here's the line-up of President-elect Barack Obama's advisors and Cabinet officers as of tonight:
Attorney General - Eric Holder
Chief of Staff - Rahm Emanuel
Commerce - Bill Richardson
Council of Economic Advisors - Christina Romer
Defense - Robert Gates
Health & Human Services - Tom Daschle
Homeland Security - Janet Napolitano
National Economic Council - Larry Summers
National Security Advisor - James Jones
State - Hillary Clinton
Treasury - Timothy Geithner
UN Ambassador - Susan Rice


The biggie on that list is Sen. Clinton to be Secretary of State.

To be fair, former President Bill Clinton pretty much opened up his donor files and made his speaking schedule and new income sources subject to ethics reviews. Sounds like a small price, but for someone like Bill Clinton that - and other concessions - are very big deals.

The popular press was abuzz with conjecture as to whether former First Lady, soon-to-be Former Senator, and soon-to-be Secretary Clinton could toe whatever lines might be drawn by Mr. Obama.

She will. She's put up with Bill Clinton. She'll put up with Barack Obama.

But that's not going to be the fun part. The fun part is going to watch whether soon-to-be former Gov. Bill Richardson can keep his feet away from Hillary's toes.

Richardson was a minor Congressman from New Mexico when he engaged in some personal but Carteresque high profile foreign policy as the AP's Josef Herber reports:

As a seven-term congressman, Richardson showed a knack for freelance diplomacy, rushing off to such places as North Korea, Sudan, Cuba and Iraq on unofficial diplomatic missions.

In 1995, he persuaded Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to release two American aerospace workers who had wandered into Iraq from Kuwait. He helped free three Red Cross workers in Sudan and mediated with North Korea over the downing of two U.S. Army helicopter pilots.

You may remember that Richardson wanted to be President, but dropped out of the race in early January. Around Easter, despite assuring Bill Clinton that he would not abandon the Clintons who promoted him to UN Ambassador and Secretary of Energy, he endorsed Obama.


That led Mull-fave James Carville to say according to an NY Times piece by Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny:

"Mr. Richardson's endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic."

Richardson made it known he would not be opposed to being named Vice President in payment for having endorsed Obama. That didn't happen so he made it known he wouldn't be opposed to using his talents running the State Department in the first Obama Administration.

That didn't happen, either. Not only did he not get the State Department gig, but it went to … Hillary Clinton.

And you wonder why I stay in Washington decade after decade.

Hillary Clinton, who was spurned by Bill Richardson in favor of Barack Obama, is getting the job that Bill Richardson really wanted from Barack Obama.

Richardson is going to be Commerce Secretary which is a very exciting job. Anyone know the name of the current Commerce Secretary? That would be Carlos M. Gutierrez.

Nice guy. Competent guy. Seen him lately on the Sunday shows talking about how the U.S. Department of Commerce is handling the economic downturn?

Here's the top item on the Department of Commerce's website on how the Secretary is intimately involved in the Big Three auto manufacturers' bailout: Late last week Secretary Gutierrez and Energy Secretary Bodman submitted letters to Chairmen Dodd and Franks, outlining specific benchmarks to determine financial viability.


I am not beating up on the Commerce Department or on Secretary Gutierrez.

My point is, this is what Richardson got. The notion that he will be satisfied watching Hillary Clinton on Meet the Press every other week while he is sending strongly-worded letters to Senate and House Committee chairs is laughable.

Obama may be assembling a Team of Rivals, but there is no evidence that the team will play nicely together.

It is Obama and Billary. But the Bill is Richardson, not Clinton.

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