Washington, Nov 20 : President elect Barack Obama is taking a big risk by giving his former adversary and opponent at Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton, whose foreign policy judgment he criticized, the most important job in his administration.
"Hillary has more star power than Richard Holbrooke, more discipline than Bill Richardson, fewer bad jokes than John F. Kerry. She's tough and competent. She's a woman and a Democrat, making space for a Republican guy at Defense. It would get her out of the Senate," Politico reported.
But the sum of those parts seems something less than the whole explanation for Obama's first great presidential gamble: His move toward giving the most important Cabinet position in his administration to Hillary.
"She brings so much to the table. On the other hand, there are the obvious downsides, the conflicts that that her husband has," said Abner Mikva, a former Clinton White House counsel and an Obama mentor.
Insiders around Obama say the X factor at play is Obama's icy tolerance for risk, and his belief in the power of the grand gesture.
Throughout his political career, Obama has had a tendency to "go big," as his aides say, with dramatic moves and giant spectacles punctuating his run for president - his head-on race speech, his presidential-style tour of the Middle East and Europe, an acceptance speech held in a football stadium.
He's enlarging his own administration by bringing in one of the leading figures in American politics, and delivering on a promise of a new politics that doesn't play favorites or hold grudges.
"It says that he has the personal confidence to engage someone of the notoriety and substance of Clinton. Implementing change is an exciting exercise," said Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida.