- The Washington Times - Friday, November 21, 2008

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday said reports that she has agreed to serve as President-elect Barack Obama’s secretary of state are premature, while details about who will serve as Treasury and Commerce secretaries also leaked into the press.

“We’re still in discussions, which are very much on track,” said Philippe Reines, a senior adviser to Mrs. Clinton. “Any reports beyond that are premature.”

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Tim Geithner will be named Treasury secretary, according to news reports Friday, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is also set to become Commerce secretary.

The news of Mr. Geithner’s selection sparked a massive rally in U.S. markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 494 points in one hour, a jump of 6.5 percent, after staying relatively level for most of the day. The two other major indexes also soared during the same hour. The S&P 500 rose 6.3 percent, and the Nasdaq index gained 5.1 percent.

In addition, retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones Jr., a highly decorated commander, appears to be the top choice for national security adviser, The Washington Times has learned.

The Obama transition office had Thursday confirmed to reporters that Mrs. Clinton, New York Democrat, was “on track” to be named Secretary of State after Thanksgiving. But Clinton confidants told the New York Times on Friday that the senator had decided she will take the job.

Though she has not officially accepted, Mrs. Clinton’s decision would mean that Mr. Obama’s main foe in the Democratic presidential primary election would now be representing him to the rest of the world.

Mr. Geithner’s choice was reported by NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell, who is married to longtime former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and is heavily plugged in to the financial world.

Mrs. Mitchell reported around 3 p.m., one hour before the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange, that Mr. Geithner and the rest of Mr. Obama’s economic team will be announced Monday. It appeared well timed to set off the buying frenzy that it did, after a week in which U.S. stocks took another beating amid continued concerns of a serious recession or depression.

Obama officials would not confirm the reports about Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Geithner. A spokesman at Mr. Geithner’s office would not comment. Neither would a Treasury spokeswoman.

The Obama transition office did not deny reports that Gen. Jones, 64, will oversee the National Security Council at the White House when the president-elect takes office.

Gen. Jones is the former commander of U.S. European Command who also served as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces from 2003 to 2006. In 2007, he chaired a congressional committee that examined the capabilities of Iraq’s security forces.

Susan E. Rice, a former NSC official in the Clinton White House who also served as an undersecretary of state and was seen earlier this week at the White House, had also been mentioned as a possible choice for national security adviser.

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