Senate Democrats Wanted Hillary Out: Report

Monday, 01 Jun 2009 12:47 PM

By Dan Weil

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When President Obama was mulling whether to name Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, many Senate Democrats supported the choice.

That was because they wanted her out of the Senate rather than because they thought she held sterling qualifications, according to a new book, "Renegade: The Making of a President," by Newsweek writer Richard Wolffe.

In an excerpt from the book appearing on The Huffington Post, Wolffe writes that Senate Democrats were “begging” Obama to give Clinton the job because they were upset with how she handled her presidential campaign.

“Obama's aides believed that many Senate Democrats thought Clinton had extended her presidential campaign far beyond the point where she had lost the election,” the book states.

“Her negative advertising wasted Democratic money, threatened to undermine the party's nominee, and suggested that she was disloyal to the party.”

Democratic leaders had no intention of giving the two-term New York senator a committee assignment ahead of her lowly rank. And the majority leader position would have been a real long shot.

"There was a lot of encouragement from inside the Senate to get her into this job," a senior Obama aide says in the book. "They wanted her out of there."

Obama had reasons of his own to appoint Clinton to the nation’s top diplomatic position. The great Chinese general Sun-tzu said, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

Clinton probably could have caused Obama a lot more damage in the Senate than as secretary of state. In the latter position, Clinton has little latitude to diverge from Obama’s policies.

If she does, Obama would probably have widespread public support to fire her.

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