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Transcript Of President Clinton's Announcement


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Clinton Names His New Security Team


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 5) -- President Bill Clinton took a big step toward shaping his second-term Cabinet today, naming U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright as secretary of state and retiring Republican Sen. William Cohen as secretary of defense (480K AIFF or WAV sound).

In a half-hour Oval Office news conference, Clinton said his new national security team has "the experience, the judgment, the vision" to deal with a changing world and its problems, including terrorism, drug trafficking and ethnic and religious conflicts.

"Each of these individuals has remarkable qualities of intellect, energy, and leadership," Clinton said. "All are committed to work together as a team that will rise above partisanship and rise to the challenges of meeting the opportunities, dealing with the challenges that we all face."

Clinton praised Albright for her "steely determination" as U.N. ambassador and said that, as a Czech immigrant who came to this country as a young girl and rose to its highest diplomatic post, Albright embodies the best of America.

"There's no question Ambassador Albright is supremely qualified for this job," Clinton said. To a reporter's question, Clinton said he was very proud to appoint the first woman secretary of state, "but it had nothing to do with her getting the job, one way or the other."

Albright promised an open-door policy in dealing with Congress and said she would work to explain clearly the who, what, where, when and why of U.S. foreign policy. (416K AIFF or WAV sound)

Albright praised outgoing Secretary of State Warren Christopher "for your steady nerves, prudent judgment and great wisdom."

To laughter, Albright said, "I can only hope that my heels can fill your shoes."

"To America's friends and allies abroad, I say that the future depends on our keeping our commitments to each other," Albright added. "We live in an era without power blocs in which old assumptions must be re-examined, institutions modernized and relationships transformed."

Clinton thanked Cohen for his "willingness to cross party lines" to help create a bipartisan national security policy. Clinton said he doesn't fear the independent-minded Cohen might stray from administration policy. "There's a difference between being a senator and being a secretary of defense," Clinton said.


For his part, Cohen called his selection by Clinton "a very bold and exciting move." (320K AIFF or WAV sound)

The president also named National Security Advisor Anthony Lake (352K AIFF or WAV sound) to head the Central Intelligence Agency, succeeding John Deutch. And Clinton named Lake's deputy, Sandy Berger, (224K AIFF or WAV sound) to become his new national security advisor.

Albright, Cohen and Lake all face Senate confirmation hearings, which will likely not take place until next year.

Albright's hawkish positions on Bosnia and NATO expansion and her blunt, plain-spoken style are popular among some Republicans. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has jurisdiction over Albright's confirmation, has indicated he will not block her appointment.

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Albright, 59, fled Czechoslovakia with her family when she was 11 to escape the communist takeover.(256K AIFF or WAV sound) She is a naturalized U.S. citizen and has been the United States' ambassador to the U.N. since 1993. Cohen, 46, is a moderate, independent Republican from Maine who served three terms in the Senate. He cast one of the first impeachment votes against Richard Nixon while on the House Judiciary Committee and later investigated the Iran-Contra affair.

Deutch, who had been mentioned as a possibility to replace Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary, is reportedly returning to the private sector.

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