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“We can shape our times instead of being shaped by them,” he said.

He said his team reflects the sentiment among “a broad section of the American people, that now is the time for us to regain American leadership in all its dimensions.”

Vice President-elect Joe Biden said during the 45-minute news conference that “we brought together one of the most talented national security teams.”

“These are extraordinary times,” he said. “We face extraordinary challenges.”

“We share a view,” Ms. Clinton said, “that America has to be safe and secure through strength and diplomacy.”

Mr. Obama was asked how he chose the former first lady and junior senator from New York, 61, to be his secretary of state.

“It was not a light bulb moment,” he replied. “I always was interested in Senator Clinton,” saying she is “tough and smart. I was always interested in finding ways to collaborate.