Tuesday, December 2, 2008: President-elect Barack Obama named former rival Senator Hillary Clinton as secretary of state on Monday and said Robert Gates would remain defense secretary. Other nominees included retired General James Jones to be National Security Adviser and Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations. Is that change or more of the same? We speak with investigative journalist Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation magazine and Steven Clemons of the New America Foundation.
After Obama’s introduction, each Cabinet nominee gave brief remarks. The first was Senator Hillary Clinton. If confirmed as Secretary of State, she would be the nation"s top diplomat in the Obama administration.
Obama asked that Robert Gates remain as Secretary of Defense, a post he has held since late 2006 when he was tapped by President Bush to replace Donald Rumsfeld. Prior to that, Gates served as director of the CIA under president George HW Bush. Questions have swirled around his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal and his role in the US government’s arming of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. At yesterday’s news conference he thanked Obama for his offer to continue as Defense Secretary.
Obama introduced retired Marine General James Jones as his national security adviser. Jones is the former supreme allied commander of NATO. He now sits on the board of Chevron and is president and chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. The institute has has been criticized by environmental groups for, among other things, calling for the immediate expansion of domestic oil and gas production and issuing reports that challenged the use of the Clean Air Ar to combat global warming. Jones thanked Obama for selecting him as his national security adviser.
Among his other Cabinet selections, Obama also named Susan Rice as his ambassador to the United Nations. Rice served as a senior foreign policy aide to Obama during his campaign. Under the Clinton administration, Rice worked for the National Security Council and the State Department. At yesterday"s news conference, she outlined some of the challenges that lay ahead.
For more on Obama’s national security team we are joined by two guests in Washington DC. Robert Dreyfuss is an investigative reporter and contributing editor at The Nation magazine. His blogs at the Nation online at The Dreyfuss Report. Steven Clemons is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation where he directs the American Strategy Program. He runs the popular blog The Washington Note.
Robert Dreyfuss, investigative reporter and contributing editor at The Nation magazine. He is author of "Devil"s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam."
Steven Clemons, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation where he directs the American Strategy Program.LISTEN ONLINE