Obama Picks Clinton, Gates for Cabinet

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CBNNews.com - WASHINGTON - President-elect Barack Obama strode to the stage adorned with American flags confident in his picks for his national security team.

On that stage with him was Hillary Clinton, Obama's pick for Secretary of State.

Also joining him were Robert Gates, who's been asked to stay on as Secretary of Defense; Retired Marine General Jim Jones as National Security Advisor; Eric Holder as Attorney General; Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security and Susan Rice as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

But it's the Clinton pick that's generating the buzz.

"I have known Hillary Clinton as a friend, a colleague, a source of counsel, and as a campaign opponent," Obama said. "She possesses an extraordinary intelligence and toughness, and a remarkable work ethic. I am proud that she will be our next Secretary of State."

He continued, "She is an American of tremendous stature who will have my complete confidence; who knows many of the world's leaders; who will command respect in every capitol; and who will clearly have the ability to advance our interests around the world."

Clinton graciously accepted.

"President Kennedy once said that engaging the world to meet the threats we face was the greatest adventure of our century. Well, Mr. President-Elect, I am proud to join you on what will be a difficult and exciting new adventure in this new century. May God bless you and all who serve with you and our great country," Clinton said.

During the presidential campaign, Obama was skeptical of the former first lady's supposed experience dealing with foreign leaders and Clinton questioned Obama's desire to meet with rogue leaders without pre-conditions. Obama downplayed the tension.

"If you look at the statements Hillary Clinton and I have made outside the campaign, we share a view that America has to be safe and secure. And in order to do that we have to combine military power with strength in diplomacy," said the President-elect.

Joining Clinton will be Gates, a holdover from the bush administration and a nod to bi-partisanship.

Others on the team, like Jones - the former supreme allied commander in Europe - and Rice offer strong and sometimes divergent views.

"I am a strong believer in strong personalities and strong opinions. I think that is how the best decisions are made," Obama said.

But Obama says it is he who will have the final say: "As Harry Truman said, the buck will stop with me."

When Obama hits The White House January 20, he'll now be surrounded with a national security cabinet with a wide range of opinions. Senior Obama advisors say that's just the way he likes it. Whether it helps him govern or becomes a hindrance will be a major story line in his first term.

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