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December 1st, 2008
01:05 PM ET

Why Bill Clinton is smiling

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/01/clintonsmiling2.jpg caption="Barack Obama's cabinet choices reflect a centrist approach in the tradition of former President Bill Clinton."]
Julian E. Zelizer
Author of "Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s"

Many observers use historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's term, "A Team of Rivals," to describe the cabinet that President-elect Barack Obama is assembling.

They use the term to characterize choices like former Obama opponent Sen. Hillary Clinton - expected to be nominated Monday as Secretary of State - and current secretary of defense Robert Gates who is being asked to stay on by Obama.

But a more useful term might be a team of centrists. The most striking characteristic of the current lineup is how the personalities reflect the centrist vision of the Democratic Party promoted by Bill Clinton and his colleagues at the Democratic Leadership Council in the 1990s.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton • Robert Gates
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Denise

    Bill is smiling because now he can say he's sleeping with Barack's Secretary...

    December 1, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  2. Patty

    It's very amazing that so many Obama supporters are now saying Hillary is such a good choice when over and over they put her down. what hypocrites they are.

    December 1, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  3. Cindy

    I'm not surprised at all by Obama's picks. If you would have paid attention during the election stuff he moved towards the middle on just about every issue. He and John agreed on a lot of things that should be done. Now that he is picking people who agree with that why is everyone so shocked!? Maybe they should have paid better attention to what was actually said every day and not just to those eloquent speeches that he gave!

    Cindy...Ga.

    December 1, 2008 at 1:23 pm |