early and often

Obama Brings Bill Clinton and John McCain Into the Fold

“I totally saw one of Britney’s boobs once, too.” “Um, I see Kid Rock’s boobs right now.”

Last night in his 60 Minutes interview, Obama revealed that he’s been “spending a lot of time reading Lincoln,” who he considers “a very wise man.” And though the comparison between the two Illinois senators has been as overplayed recently as the “Saved by Zero” Toyota commercial, it does seem that today in particular, Obama is taking the whole “Team of Rivals” thing to heart. It looks like the secretary of State position is Hillary’s for the taking — assuming that the vast business and philanthropic associations of Obama’s old primary-season antagonist, Bill Clinton, do not pose any problems. And Obama will be dealing with another vanquished foe when he meets with John McCain in Chicago. It’s likely they’ll discuss issues that they could cooperate on together, and at some point share a hearty laugh over Sarah Palin.

• Michael D. Shear and Philip Rucker write that the “public-private partnership” that Hillary and Bill could bring to the White House “would bring with it a host of potential benefits and pitfalls for the new president.” Bill’s “web of personal financial ties and public policy pronouncements about the world’s challenges would instantly become a source of possible discord with a new Obama administration.” [WP]

• Peter Baker and Helene Cooper report that lawyers are “looking into Mr. Clinton’s philanthropic organization, interactions with foreign governments and ties to pharmaceutical companies.” While Obama’s advisers don’t expect Bill to stop his global work, they are exploring what he “would need to do to avoid a conflict of interest with the duties of his wife.” But they realize that he would also “bring enormous assets as a popular figure around the world who would effectively serve as an unpaid ambassador for Obama policies.” [NYT]

• Ben Smith concurs that the issue “isn’t so much vetting of either Clinton, as it is working out what to do with him in the future.” [Politico]

• George Stephanopoulos writes that among the “major questions that need to be addressed,” in the future, is “would the Clinton Foundation be permitted to continue soliciting foreign support?” And “under what conditions,” and how would they “be reviewed and vetted?” [George’s Bottom Line/ABC News]

• Chuck Todd and friends note that the Obama-McCain meeting is much more difficult for the loser than the victor, and that McCain deserves credit for doing this “so quickly” and “giving Obama an easy political point or two by showing up.” The two will have enough time to “talk about, well, everything under the sun,” but issues they could cooperate on going forward include “climate change, stem cells, ethics and spending reform, even Afghanistan.” [First Read/MSNBC]

• James Carney thinks “Obama is demonstrating both magnanimity and self-confidence” but also “self-interest,” aware that he’ll still need Republican help to “enact the kind of sweeping legislative overhaul he envisions.” Which works out well for McCain, who’s looking to “leave the campaign behind and return to the role he forged for himself on Capitol Hill as the leading reformer and bi-partisan legislator in the Senate.” [Time]

• Jonathan Weisman and Laura Meckler believe that both Obama and McCain “have much to gain from swift reconciliation after a bitter contest.” Obama could use McCain as a “potent symbol” of his “pledge to move beyond the partisan bickering.” Obama is looking to foster “an environment of cooperative goodwill” that he’ll need to pass “the biggest items on his agenda.” McCain now “has a chance to reclaim his maverick, bipartisan mantle.” [WSJ]

Obama Brings Bill Clinton and John McCain Into the Fold