Obama-Clinton Rapport Will Be Key To Her Success

01/01/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Leaving the news conference in Chicago yesterday where he introduced his national security team, President-elect Obama strolled out of the room arm in arm with his choice for secretary of state and one-time rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The gesture may have been a subtle indication that Obama is aware that one of the biggest questions about his choice of Clinton is the kind of relationship they will be able to forge in the months ahead.

Many of the most successful secretaries of state, though not all, enjoyed great influence with the presidents they served, giving them crucial leverage with foreign leaders and inside the national security establishment. But Obama and Clinton are only starting to develop the kind of rapport that could lead to that trust, and the ultimate success of the senator from New York in her new role may depend as much on Obama's willingness to admit her to his inner circle as her ability to master the intricacies of the Middle East peace process or North Korea's nuclear weapons program, according to senior foreign policy officials from past administrations.

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