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Obama reaches out to Scowcroft

From NBC's Andrea Mitchell
Democratic sources say that former Bush 41 National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft is one of the people whom Barack Obama has been consulting about how to craft his national security team. Knowledgeable sources say Obama reached out to Scowcroft two days ago to discuss defense and national security issues.

Scowcroft, who first served as President Ford's national security adviser, was an early and vocal critic of the Iraq war -- starting in August 2002. That criticism cost the retired Air Force General his position as head of President Bush's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. 

Scowcroft is very close to Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who is considered a possible holdover for the cabinet.

Another key adviser to the president-elect on defense matters -- Sen. Jack Reed -- is a leading member of the Armed Services Committee who traveled with Obama to Iraq and Afghanistan. Reed is also very close to Gates.

Sources say that with or without Gates in the mix, a possible national security adviser in the new Administration is Gen Jim Jones, retired Marine Commandant and former NATO Supreme Commander.

Another is former Clinton Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig, a key Obama adviser during the campaign. Also in the mix: Former Assistant Secretary of State and close Obama adviser Susan Rice, as well as former Clinton National Secretary Council and State Department official Jim Steinberg, most recently head of the LBJ Foreign Policy school at the University of Texas.

What about Hillary? Some Obama advisers have "cooled" to the idea of her being secretary of state, because of all the Bill Clinton complications. Other top Democrats say the prospect is still alive. 

If Clinton thought she had a chance to have a larger role on health care if she remains in the Senate, she got the message yesterday that the prospect is unlikely. When Sen. Ted Kennedy held his first meeting of key subcommittee chairs to discuss health care legislation, Clinton was not invited.

Although Kennedy offered Clinton the leadership of a health-care task force this week, aides say it does not have a budget or a staff.