The First Draft
As world leaders begin arriving in Washington for this weekend’s global financial summit, the U.S. capital is abuzz with talk that President-elect Barack Obama may choose former rival Hillary Clinton to be his new secretary of state.
But morning television shows asked whether Obama could really be considering a woman who once called him naive in matters of foreign policy and whom he accused of inflating her foreign policy credentials.
ABC’s Good Morning America show quoted a source close to Obama as saying Clinton’s candidacy was “under very serious consideration” and that her “international stature” made her a strong contender. CNN said her appointment would help to “heal the wounds of a bruising primary battle”.
CBS reported that “people close to her” said she had not yet been approached, although Clinton did fly to Chicago on Thursday for what her office described as personal business.
The financial crisis is likely to remain sharply in focus on Friday. The Commerce Department issues retail figures for October, and economists surveyed by Reuters are expecting the figures to show that sales fell 2.0 percent after a 1.2 percent decline in September.
The latest Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, which measures U.S. consumer confidence, is also due to be published. The last survey showed consumer confidence suffering its steepest monthly drop on record in October
Christopher Dodd, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, appeared on several morning TV shows to lambaste the Bush administration for what he called its failure to address the root cause of the financial crisis — the flood of mortgage foreclosures, which he said numbered 9,128 per day.
Bush is hosting a summit of world leaders in Washington on Saturday, the first in a series, on the worst global economic crisis in 80 years. He will host a dinner for the leaders at the White House on Friday night.
“There is a pressing need for leaders to agree on basic steps to jump-start the sagging world economy, including fiscal stimulus and financial help for developing countries, which are being pummeled as multinational banks and investors cut credit lines and dump assets,” the New York Times said in an editorial.
U.S. stock futures were down on Friday, indicating the stock market will surrender some of the hefty gains it made in Thursday’s session.
ABC, meanwhile, secured the first interview with William Ayers, a founder of a radical left anti-Vietnam War group who Republican presidential candidate John McCain tried unsuccessfully to tie to Obama during the election campaign.
Ayers, who hosted a meeting at his house in 1995 to introduce Obama to neighbors during Obama’s first run for the Illinois Senate, dismissed suggestions that the two were close.
“I know Barack Obama. I know him as well as thousands of other Chicagoans,” he said.
REUTERS/Jim Young (Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at Florida rally); REUTERS/Jim Young (President George W. Bush at New York’s JFK Airport)