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Senate Confirms Clinton as Secretary of State

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2009 – The Senate voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to confirm Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and as a member of President Barack Obama’s national security team.

The Senate confirmed Clinton’s nomination by a 94-to-2 vote.

Clinton has represented New York since her election in 2000 and has served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She supported military action in Afghanistan, but opposed recent actions in Iraq. In the Senate, she sponsored legislation to increase the size of the Army and has consistently worked to help military families.

Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at her confirmation hearing she looks forward to working with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. She noted Gates’ distinguished record of service to the country and belief in a strong partnership between the Defense and State departments.

As it works to take on more responsibility in foreign policy, she added, the State Department will have to work to disprove the presumption that the military can move more quickly and work more effectively.

“I'm working with Secretary Gates,” the senator said. “He's very open to cooperative efforts. But we have to prove that we can shoulder this responsibility.” She cited the need to prove the State Department can handle stabilization, reconstruction and other “outcomes-oriented development aid” quickly and without enormous bureaucracy.

Clinton emphasized during her confirmation hearing the importance of diplomacy in promoting national security.

“Diplomacy is hard work, but when we work hard, diplomacy can work -- not just to diffuse tensions, but achieve results that advance our security, interests and values,” she said.

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