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Transition: Progress on Bill's vetting?

Per the transition office, Obama and Biden hold private meetings in Chicago today and have no public events. 

Speculation over Hillary Clinton becoming Obama's secretary of state continues to dominate the transition chatter. The New York Times has this piece (and it's not your ordinary story; it's by investigative reporters Van Natta and Becker): "While aides to the president-elect declined Monday to discuss what sort of requirements would make it possible for Mrs. Clinton to serve as secretary of state, they said Mr. Obama would not formally offer her the job unless he was satisfied that there would be no conflicts posed by Mr. Clinton's activities abroad."

Video: Former White House Chief of Staff discusses the transfer of power to Barack Obama and what it would mean for both Clintons if Hillary Clinton was chosen as secretary of state.

"Associates of the Clintons said that Mr. Clinton was likely to have to make significant concessions and that he was inclined to do so. Among other things, they said, he would probably have to agree not to take money for speeches from foreign businesses that have a stake in the actions of the American government. Another obvious issue, Democratic lawyers said, would be whether Mr. Clinton's foundation should accept money from foreign governments, businesses or individuals for the foundation's philanthropic activities and if it should disclose those donors publicly."

But Politico says the vetting of Bill Clinton is not going well. Obama "aides are becoming exasperated by the Clinton camp's pokey response to demands for extensive information about former President Bill Clinton's finances, according to numerous Democrats involved in the process. 'The sense among the no-drama Obama world is: This is well on its way to winning best Oscar for drama,' said one well-connected Democratic official." 

More: Democratic officials make it sound as if the job has been all but offered to Hillary Clinton. But the ball is in her court to show that the former president's many foreign and financial entanglements would not pose huge conflicts of interest if she were the nation's chief diplomat, the officials said."

Channeling First Read, the Boston Globe notes the would-be irony if Obama were to pick Clinton to be secretary of state. "[H]e would be giving her oversight of an area where the two former rivals diverged sharply during their prolonged primary battle: foreign policy… It is the one arena in which Obama and Clinton articulated significantly different visions."

Politico's Ben Smith adds, "From his supporters on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, to campaign aides of the soon-to-be commander-in-chief, there's a sense of ambivalence about giving a top political plum to a woman they spent 18 months hammering as the compromised standard-bearer of an era that deserves to be forgotten."

Bloomberg News reports that Gates' chances of staying on at the Pentagon rise if Clinton is tapped as secretary of state. Do note the very positive words that Jack Reed, someone Obama relies on for national security advice, has for Gates.

The Washington Post delves into the overall vetting process for every Obama appointee. "Inquiries into candidates' backgrounds grow deeper as each administration's scandals add new thresholds. In the 1980s, a history of marijuana use killed some nominations. During the past decade, scandals about domestic workers clouded transitions. Clinton's nominee for attorney general, Zoe Baird, withdrew from consideration when it became public that she and her husband had hired a Peruvian couple living in the country illegally as a babysitter and chauffeur. Eight years later, Bush's nominee for secretary of labor, Linda Chavez, withdrew after she was found to have provided haven to an illegal immigrant from Guatemala. Obama's questionnaire has four questions about domestic workers."

The Washington Post also notes the number of aides being hired by Obama who have Capitol Hill experience, and it speculates this could mean that Obama ends up with a better relationship with the Hill than any previous president in quite some time. 
 
USA Today dives into the choices Obama has for picking a church.

OUR OBAMA CABINET SPECULATION LIST:
Chief of staff: Emanuel NAMED / Deputies: Jim Messina NAMED, Mona Sutphen NAMED:
Senior advisers: Valerie Jarrett NAMED, Peter Rouse NAMED
Assistant to the president for legislative affairs: Phil Schiliro NAMED
White House counsel: Greg Craig
Press Secretary: Robert Gibbs
Biden chief of staff: Ron Klain NAMED
 
POTENTIAL CABINET MEMBERS:
Agriculture: Tom Vilsack, Tom Buis (Natl Farmers Union), Charlie Stenholm, Jim Leach, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
Commerce: Penny Pritzker, Kathleen Sebelius, John Thompson (Symantec), Ron Kirk (former Dallas Mayor), Scott Harris (Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis fndr)
Defense: Robert Gates, Richard Danzig, Chuck Hagel, Sam Nunn, Jack Reed, Colin Powell, John Hamre, Tim Roemer, Thomas Pickering, Anthony Zinni
Education: Joel Klein (NYC), Linda Darling-Hammond, Kathleen Sebelius, Colin Powell, Jim Hunt, Arne Duncan, Inez Tenenbaum, Michael Bennett, George Miller
Energy: Kathleen Sebelius, Philip Sharp, Ed Rendell, Arnold Schwarzenegger (has said no), Al Gore, Jeff Bingaman, Jennifer Granholm, Steve Westly, Frederico Pena, Dan Reicher, Jason Grumet
HHS: Tom Daschle, Howard Dean (reportedly ruled out), Eric Whitaker Homeland Security: Tim Roemer, Ray Kelly, James Lee Witt, Tom Kean Sr, Jane Harman, Janet Napolitano, Artur Davis
HUD: Jim Clyburn, Shirley Franklin (Atlanta mayor)
Interior: Bill Richardson, Jay Inslee, John Kitzhaber, Tony Knowles, Ken Salazar, Jamie Rappoport Clark, Brian Schweitzer
Justice (AG): Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, Charles Ogletree, Deval Patrick, James Comey, Patrick Fitzgerald, Artur Davis, Tim Kaine, Jamie Gorelick (but was vice chair of Fannie), Ken Feinberg, Cass Sunstein, Kathleen Sullivan (Stanford Law prof, possible Solicitor General. Also possible SGs: Beth Brinkmann – DC Atty; Preeta Bansal – Skadden, Arps; Elena Kagan –Harvard law dean; Pamela Karlan—Stanford; Teresa Wynn Roseborough -- MetLife litigation counsel)
Labor: Andy Stern (SEIU) (said not interested), Richard Gephardt, George Miller, David Bonior
State: John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, Richard Holbrooke, Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Thomas Pickering
Transportation: Ed Rendell, Jane Garvey, Mortimer Downey, Earl Blumenauer, Steve Heminger, James Oberstar
Treasury: Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, Jon Corzine, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, Laura Tyson, Jamie Dimon (JP MorganChase), Jacob "Jack" Lew, Sheila Bair, Indira Nooyi,
Veterans Affairs: Max Cleland, Tammy Duckworth
 
OTHER POSITIONS:
CIA: Tony Lake, John Brennan
DNI: Tony Lake, John Brennan, Tim Roemer, Rand Beers, Jane Harman, John Abizaid, Evan Bayh
FEMA: James Lee Witt
EPA: Howard Learner (Pres, Exec. Dir, Environmental Law and Policy Center), Ian Bowles (MA), Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Kathleen Sebelius, Kathleen McGinty (former secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection), Mary Nichols (chair of California's Air Resources Board), Robert Sussman, Dan Esty
FBI: Robert Mueller (term expires 2011)
Fed Chair: Ben Bernanke (at least for first year)
FDA: Steven Nissen (Cleveland Clinic), Joshua Sharfstein (Baltimore health commissioner), Janet Woodcock (Big Pharma's choice), Susan Wood (GWU occupational and environmental health professor), Diana Zuckerman (president, National Research Center for Women & Families)
Natl. Economic Council: Jason Furman, Austan Goolsbee, Laura Tyson Natl Sec Adviser: Jim Steinberg, Rand Beers, Susan Rice, Greg Craig
NSC: Dennis Ross, Susan Rice, Tony Lake
OMB: John Spratt Jr., Gene Sperling, Jason Furman Peace Corps: Chris Shays
UN Ambassador: Caroline Kennedy, Susan Rice
USTR: Cal Dooley (American Chemistry Council president), Daniel K. Tarullo (Georgetown University law professor), Lael Brainard (Brookings Institution vice president)
 
Other mentions for various White House staff posts: Patti Solis Doyle, David Wilhelm, John Rogers, Bill Daley, Cass Sunstein, Bob Bauer (WH counsel), Michael Froman, Federico Pena, Lawrence J. Korb, Carol Browner (Clinton's EPA head), Thomas Perrelli, David Ogden, Terry Tamminen (climate change, adviser to Schwarzenegger)