A Hillary Clinton Primary Challenge to Obama in 2012?





When President Barack Obama asked New York Sen. Hillary Clinton to join his cabinet as secretary of state, the move was widely praised. Clinton, his principal rival for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, added a measure of gravitas to his team of advisers and would, it was suggested, help unite the president's party at a time the Republicans appeared to be on the verge of complete collapse.

At the time, comparisons were made to Abraham Lincoln. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin recounts in her book Team of Rivals how the 16th president of the United States invited others who held leadership claims on the new Republican Party into his cabinet in an effort to present a united front. But Lincoln's decision to invite his rivals for the 1860 Republican nomination--William H. Seward, Edward Bates, and Salmon P. Chase--into his administration was also a matter of political preservation. Their inclusion in the cabinet kept them inside the tent looking out rather than outside the tent looking in, forcing an alliance with Lincoln as the Union threatened to come apart.

It will be up to history to judge whether Obama's selection of Clinton falls in the same category. Whether it does or not depends on what Clinton decides to do.



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