Democratic strategist James Carville says talks between President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton regarding Clinton's being appointed secretary of state are "pretty far advanced."
Clinton met with Obama in Chicago on Thursday, but she has since refused to comment on her chances for the plum Cabinet post.
"I'm not going to speculate or address anything about the president-elect's incoming administration. I'm going to respect his process," she said Friday.
But Carville told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that discussions between Obama and Clinton have been anything but cursory.
"Obviously, when she went to Chicago, she knew she was not going there to have tea with the president-elect. And I suspect that when this thing goes this far down the line and any number of people I talk to today have not waved me off, I think this thing is pretty far advanced.
"And I think she would be a terrific secretary of state, and I mean really terrific. She is also — should would be giving up a, you know, a long career in the Senate, which she was sort of guaranteed of. So, I think she has to think about — I think probably has to mull any number of issues.
"But as an American, I mean, I hope and I pray that she takes it. And I am really sort of grateful to have a president that would be a big enough person to offer a former rival something like this. I think this is a terrific thing. And I don't think that the president-elect or Rahm Emanuel or Senator Clinton would let this thing advance to the point that it is without there being a high likelihood that this is going to happen."
Blitzer agreed with Carville that the discussions between Obama and Clinton have been serious. "Based on everything I know as a reporter, James, over the years, this story wouldn't go this far without somebody calling me at a high level and saying, you know, shut up," he said. "This is not happening, and making us basically move away from this speculation, if it weren't at a really, really advanced stage. That is the way this business is, as you know."
"It does," replied Carville, who is a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. "And somebody would have certainly called me and said, 'Would you call your friend Wolf and tell to put a sock in it?'
"And the fact that I have not gotten any such phone call or you have, and the fact that this thing has gone this far — and we know that when they met that Senator Clinton and the president-elect knew what the topic was going to be.
"But I just think that in politics we are never totally shocked if something happens, but I would be surprised if this thing is not very real and that there is not a high likelihood that it's going to happen."
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