Press reports that portray Clinton as willing to accept the job – once the Obama transition team vets Bill Clinton’s philanthropic and business ventures – are inaccurate, one Clinton insider told Politico.
“A lot of the speculation and reporting is out ahead of the facts here,” said the person, who requested anonymity. “She is still weighing this, independent of President Clinton's work.”
Clinton, the person said, remains deeply “torn” between the possibility of serving in Obama’s cabinet and remaining in the Senate to “help pass health care and work on a broad range of domestic issues.”
That comment jibes with what others close to Clinton have been saying since the Secretary of State chatter began last week: that Clinton is conflicted and the deal far from done, despite screaming headlines in outlets including the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper claiming the offer was made and accepted.
Most of the speculation about Clinton’s frame of mind in the last few days has been off-base, sources say, because she’s played her cards close to the vest, consulting only her husband and two or three kitchen cabinet advisers.
“We’ve gotten rid of all the other idiots,” joked one Clinton confidant, referring to the Clinton campaign's propensity to leak.
Obama isn’t likely to make a formal offer of the post to Clinton unless he’s given assurances that Bill Clinton’s global charitable foundation won’t create future conflicts of interest with foreign governments.
The Clinton Global Initiative has earned praise for its efforts to eradicate AIDS, malaria and poverty in Africa. But it could prove problematic if the former president continues to arrange donations from foreign countries at the same time that his wife serves as secretary of state.
Obama’s vetting team expressed similar concerns about Bill Clinton’s overseas fundraising when Hillary Clinton was briefly considered for the vice-presidency.