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January 22nd, 2009
01:31 PM ET

After the cheers, the crowd at Clinton's door

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is welcomed to the State Department on Thursday.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is welcomed to the State Department on Thursday.

Elise Labott
CNN State Department Producer

Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell are both here – in the Secretary of State's outer offices.

Holbrooke was working the crowd of State Department staff who turned out to welcome Secretary Clinton, shaking hands and doling out hugs to everyone, including administration heavywieghts of presidents past–former Deputy Secretaries of State John Negroponte and Strobe Talbot and former Defense Secretary William Cohen.

Mitchell smiled politely but stayed close to the senior State Department officials handling Middle East issues.

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Update 2:29 p.m.

President Obama is here at State Dept., meeting with Secretary Clinton and other senior state dept staff, as well is the two senior envoys he is going to name – George Mitchell and Richard Holbrooke.

Some color: there is a packed, standing-room-only crowd of approximately 500 - senior staff, a group of lucky civil and foreign service employees are here. Deputy Secretary Designate James Steinberg is here too, fresh from his conformation hearing this morning.

Samantha Power, a close confidante and foreign policy aide of Obama's who resigned from the campaign after calling Clinton a monster, is in the front row – apparently they have kissed and made up. Martin Indyk, who reportedly was inching for some Mideast envoy role but didn't appear to have gotten one is here, along with a group of middle east experts.

The one person who is noticeably absent is Dennis Ross – who was widely expected to take a senior role in the administration dealing with Iran but rumors are circulating that it may not be the plum role he was looking for. Stay tuned.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Eileen T. Martinez

    I am under the impression that Tony Blair has been acting as the special envoy to the Middle East on behalf of the US, Russia and other countries. How will his role interface with that of George Mitchell?

    January 22, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  2. Amanda Walton--Ontario Canada

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is just beautiful. She is a pillar of strength and hope for many women. Congratulations I feel better on the other side of the border knowing your at the helm in this very sensitive department.

    January 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm |