Hillary for Health Secretary?

Election '08

I'm not usually one to trust the Torygraph (aka the Telegraph), but this story sounds interesting:

Hillary Clinton will be offered a dignified exit from the presidential race and the prospect of a place in Barack Obama's cabinet under plans for a "negotiated surrender" of her White House ambitions being drawn up by Senator Obama's aides. The former First Lady would get the chance to pilot Mr Obama’s reforms of the American healthcare system if she agrees to clear the path to his nomination as Democratic presidential candidate. Senior figures in the Obama camp have told Democrat colleagues that the offer to Mrs Clinton of a cabinet post as health secretary or to steer new legislation through the Senate will be a central element of their peace overtures to the New York senator.


Another Democrat who has discussed strategy with friends in the Obama inner circle said that Mr Obama was openly considering asking Mrs Clinton to join his cabinet, alongside two other former presidential rivals: John Edwards, who is seen as a likely attorney general; and Joe Biden, who is a leading contender to become Secretary of State. Mr Obama hinted at the plan last week. “One of my heroes is Abraham Lincoln,” he said. “Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his cabinet because whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was 'how can we get this country through this time of crisis?’ And I think that has to be the approach that one takes.”

The Clintons ought to be familiar with this strategy, as they tried a version of it with the Republicans back in Bill's first term when they did things like picking Louis Freeh to run the FBI and David Gergen to take over for the hapless George Stephanoupoulos, who the press liked much better when he was attacking the Clintons.

It didn't work so well with the GOP -- Freeh spent most of his tenure looking for ways to undermine the Clintons and Al Gore instead of worrying about domestic terrorism -- but I suspect it might work better where fellow Democrats are involved. Besides, Hillary's health care plan really does deserve a fair shot -- the one it didn't get when Howell Raines, who then was the big editing boss at the NYT, led the charge against it back in the early 1990s. I'm glad to see that Obama is willing to cede that issue to her.

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