Inside Politics

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Clinton ‘menace’

The fuss over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s possible appointment as secretary of state in the Obama administration has gone on for five days - now resembling a dramatic tableau complete with special lighting, sound effects and music.

Does former President Bill Clinton’s involvement in international charities present a conflict of interest? Would hiring his missus neutralize a potential Clinton “menace” for President-elect Barack Obama by the time 2012 rolls around? Will Bill …behave?

Stay tuned. If Mrs. Clinton doesn’t make it, half of the old Clinton White House appears to have been hired anyway.

Meanwhile, Mr. Clinton himself is playing, well, dumb - and virtuous. Mrs. Clinton did not campaign for her formal rival Mr. Obama in the hope of reward.

“We were very glad that he won, and we have a lot of confidence that he could do a good job. But she did not do what she did with the hope or expectation of getting any kind of job offer, much less having this discussed,” Mr. Clinton told MSNBC on Monday.

“She loves doing what she’s doing. But if he decided to ask her to do it, and they did it together, I think she’d be really great at being secretary of state. But I have no earthly idea what is going to happen,” he said. “If I did have any idea, I wouldn’t tell you.”

Margin of terror

President-elect Barack Obama has vowed he’ll close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, which currently holds about 250 die-hard al Qaeda supporters.

The world would love it - but former detainees could go back to their old ways, suggests Con Coughlin of the Daily Telegraph.

“The only alternative to holding them at Gitmo would be to bring them under America’s civilian judicial system, where many of them would most likely be freed through lack of evidence,” he writes.

“Civil rights campaigners would no doubt applaud this development, but what if some of those released then went on to commit further acts of terrorism? There have already been suggestions that former Gitmo detainees have carried out terror attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq after being released from Gitmo. What if one of those released by President Obama then masterminded a repeat of the 9/11 attacks?”

“Let’s not forget that al Qaeda emerged as a global terror threat when Bill Clinton was president, and Obama should take care that the return of a Democrat to the White House does not result in the U.S. taking the soft options in fighting the war on terror.”

Penalty box

Americans still “hold firm” in their support of the death penalty, according to a Gallup Poll released Monday: Sixty-four percent favor it, 30 percent oppose it. Half say it is not imposed enough, 23 percent say it is imposed “the right amount” of time, and 21 percent say “too often.”

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