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Obama finalises national security team.



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2CN AM Obama finalises national security team

01/12/2008

Obama finalises national security team

AM - Monday, 1 December , 2008 08:12:00

TONY EASTLEY: Bill Clinton has agreed to disclose the names of more than 200,000 donors to his foundation to clear the way for his wife, Hillary, to become secretary of state in the new Obama administration.

President-elect Obama will unveil his national security team tomorrow which is also expected to include current Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

Washington correspondent, Kim Landers reports.

KIM LANDERS: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are about to turn their once bitter rivalry into a high profile diplomatic union.

The President-elect is tomorrow expected to nominate the former first lady as his secretary of state.

Eight months ago he was trying to tear down Hillary Clinton's foreign policy credentials, mocking her for doing little more than sipping tea and making small talk with foreign leaders during her days as first lady.

To make it possible for his wife to become America's top diplomat, Bill Clinton is opening up his business dealings and global charitable endeavours to scrutiny. He's reportedly agreed to disclose the names of every contributor to his foundation and to refuse donations from foreign governments. He'll also submit his speaking schedule to the White House and State Department.

Richard Lugar is the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which will decide whether to confirm Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

RICHARD LUGER: I think it's a big step but I think the Obama campaign people have done a good job in trying to pin down the most important elements and at this point, hopefully, this team of rivals will work.

KIM LANDERS: But he suspects Hillary and Bill Clinton will still have to be careful to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest.

RICHARD LUGER: Well I would hope so and I've said for my part I plan to vote in favour of her confirmation.

KIM LANDERS: Barack Obama also plans to announce that Defence Secretary Robert Gates will remain in his job for a year or more and that retired Marine General and former NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) Commander James Jones will serve as the President's national security adviser.

Like Barack Obama, Robert Gates wants to send more troops to Afghanistan and close Guantanamo Bay.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is a close friend of John McCain's and once said he'd dread the day if Barack Obama became commander-in-chief. Now he's not so critical.

LINDSAY GRAHAM: So I want to applaud President-elect Obama for these picks, these are good people, but it's one thing to pick them, it's another thing to listen to them. I think he's going to do both, at least I hope he will.

KIM LANDERS: This national security team is already being dubbed a "team of rivals" war cabinet. And there's no doubt they'll have plenty of challenges to tackle.

This is Kim Landers in Washington for AM.

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