Bill Clinton can be one of Hillary's chief assets

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Washington, Dec 1 : Former President Bill Clinton could be one of Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief assets if she becomes Secretary of State in President-elect Barack Obama's Administration.

"The Clinton brand is a good one. Her husband's administration is remembered fondly, maybe even more fondly in retrospect, after eight years of Bush," said Dana Allin, an expert on trans-Atlantic affairs at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"Bill is a popular guy in Europe," Politico quoted Constanze Stelzenmueller, director of the German Marshall Fund's Berlin office, as saying.

"He is very touchy-feely, and on a more serious note, he is educated. Europe felt taken seriously and understood during his administration. The hope is that some of that might rub off on his wife," Stelzenmueller said.

President-elect Obama is expected to announce his national security team after Thanksgiving, and Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favorite for Secretary of State.

Clinton's selection came after her husband agreed to provide extensive financial disclosures to Obama's transition team and to ensure that his future activities overseas would not conflict, politically or financially, with his wife's role as the nation's top diplomat, Politico reported.

Having Bill as a husband clearly gives Hillary additional stature, not to mention a finely tuned sounding board. And particularly in Europe, her appointment will be greeted with a sense of nostalgia.

In Great Britain, for example, "there was a special bond between the Blair [administration] and the Clinton administration because they were both part of the same project - finding a third way in the center left," said Allin.

But Hillary Clinton has star power in her own right, many analysts and officials said.

She is well known and respected on the continent for her trips there as a first lady, then for her work as a senator, particularly on the Armed Services Committee.

Despite the widespread support in Europe for Obama, who attracted a crowd of more than 200,000 when he spoke in Berlin in July, many Europeans favored Clinton, a known quantity, to be the next US president.

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