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Clinton will face a world of challenges

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton may have fallen short in her quest to become the first woman U.S. president, but as secretary of state she will have a unique opportunity to carve her name into global history.

The feisty former first lady will face monumental challenges overseas, including the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the threat of terrorism, brought once again into sharp focus by the attacks in Mumbai.

But perhaps the biggest task facing the 61-year-old, high-profile senator from New York will be restoring the country’s tarnished reputation and ushering in a new era of U.S. diplomacy promised by president-elect Barack Obama.

She can already count on massive support overseas thanks to the image she built as first lady and the goodwill still felt around the world for her husband, former president Bill Clinton.

But following her defeat in the Democratic primaries, Clinton worked hard for Obama, urging her millions of loyal supporters to back his bid and elect the country’s first African-American president.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said her nomination as America’s top diplomat “would be very well taken” abroad.

“She is a strong personality. She is an appropriate person, capable, with experience, well known. I think it would be very well taken by the majority of people,” Solana said during a recent visit to Washington.

Clinton has not yet confirmed the reports, but a person close to her told AFP: “I can confirm that she will be in Chicago tomorrow to be named Secretary of State.

Obama’s formal roll-out of Clinton at a Monday press conference in Chicago nearly a month after his historic election triumph will cement a remarkable alliance after their acrimonious Democratic primary duel.

“It’s an amazing national security team that Obama appears to have selected.

It’s, kind of, like Goldilocks and the three bears,” said journalist Bob Woodward on CBS “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“You’ve got ‘too cool,’ which might be — or at least ‘appropriately cool’ General Jones as the national security adviser; Gates is, kind of, just right, in the middle; and Hillary Clinton, hot.”

Clinton is said to have been initially reluctant to accept the post. But reports indicate that she won a guarantee of direct access to the president.

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