Reporters citing Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, Team of Rivals, in assessing Obama's possible selection of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state

Historians in the News

... A possible clue to Obama’s willingness to consider Clinton for chief diplomat can be found in a January interview he gave to Katie Couric, anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News.” As part of her “Primary Questions” series, she asked him what books besides the Bible he would considers essential if he were elected president.

“Doris Kearns Goodwin's book ‘Team of Rivals,’” Obama replied. “It was a biography of Lincoln. And she talks about Lincoln's capacity to bring opponents of his and people who have run against him in his cabinet. And he was confident enough to be willing to have these dissenting voices and confident enough to listen to the American people and push them outside of their comfort zone. And I think that part of what I want to do as president is push Americans a little bit outside of their comfort zone. It's a remarkable study in leadership.”

Obama is exceedingly confident now, in a way that only a president of the United States can be. And officials say that therefore the calculation is very different than it was when he was picking a vice president, and did not seriously consider her.

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