Does the expression "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer," apply here? Barack Obama keeps his chief rival close at hand — as Secretary of State. His major opponent during the Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton will now be reporting directly to President Obama — and defending his foreign policy. "Bringing her into the cabinet puts her in a position where she has to defend Obama's ideas," says UW Madison political scientist Charles Franklin. "A secretary of state has some autonomy, but ultimately is responsible to the president. At the same time, he doesn't have much foreign policy experience."
Franklin does not expect former President Bill Clinton to play much of a foreign policy role. "While it's certainly reasonable that she might talk to President Clinton, it's really important for her to be the secretary of state."
President Clinton's much publicized connections overseas may become an issue. "The interesting question is, in the confirmation process, how much are Republicans going to go over Senator Clinton's, and especially President Clinton's record and finances with a fine tooth comb," says Franklin. "We've seen that road before, and it hasn't been very pretty."