Clinton sidesteps speculation about taking Defense job

Hillary Clinton deflected questions Tuesday about whether she'll take over as Defense secretary when Robert Gates retires in 2011.

In a joint interview with Gates from Australia aired Tuesday morning, Clinton said that she hopes Gates' retirement will be postponed "further and further" away. "We came in together, we should go out together," the secretary of State told ABC News. "We all want Bob to stay," she said.

Gates heads the list of upcoming high profile retirements at the Pentagon. During the next year, Obama will not only hand pick a new defense secretary, but also several top generals, including the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Army and Navy chiefs. And that wide range of openings at Defense has only added to speculation that Clinton may be on the short list.

When questioned directly about what her response might be if Obama asked her to take the position, Clinton evaded the question. "I have made it clear I love the job that I have," she said.

For his part, Gates said that Clinton could "absolutely" do his job, though he praised Clinton's work in her current role.

"I think that one of the great strengths that Hillary brings to the job as Secretary of State is as spokesperson for the United States around the world," Gates said. "That's not the role of the secretary of Defense."

If Clinton accepted the job, "she would be terrific," former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who served with her on an advisory group of the Joint Forces Command, said on ABC this morning. "She's knowledgeable, she's tough," he said.

"I think she would be a very good defender of the military in terms of what it needs, its budgets and its concerns," Gingrich said. "I'm not sure she would have quite as much fun, though. I think she's probably having a better time being secretary of State."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.