New frenzy over Obama cabinet reports

WASHINGTON, Nov 22, (AFP) -Hillary Clinton is “on track” to be Barack Obama's secretary of state, both sides said, while reports said Saturday New York central banker Timothy Geithner was set to be named Treasury chief.

The president-elect's heavy-hitting cabinet took shape on a day of frenzied reports and speculation, two months before Obama takes the oath of office and at the end of another punishing week for the US economy.

Hillary Clinton Timothy Geithner

One report said that Clinton had already decided to accept an offer to become the face of US diplomacy abroad. “She's ready,” the New York Times quoted an unnamed Clinton confidant as saying, adding that the former first lady had made her decision after follow-up consultations with Obama on his vision for foreign policy.

Senior Clinton advisor Philippe Reines downplayed the report, while suggesting that the process of vetting the Clintons, and moving towards an agreement with Obama, was going well. “We're still in discussions, which are very much on track. Any reports beyond that are premature,” Reines told AFP.
An Obama aide also said things were “on track” but said there were no plans for a formal announcement on Clinton's appointment until after the Thanksgiving holiday next Thursday.

NBC News meanwhile reported that Obama would roll out Geithner at a news conference on Monday, and also unveil the rest of his economic team, including New Mexico Governor and ex-UN ambassador Bill Richardson as commerce secretary.

The report bucked up investors left shellshocked by another week of carnage on the stock markets, with New York's Dow Jones share index jumping nearly 500 points on the news. The Obama team refused to comment on the report, which was echoed by ABC News, CNN and Fox News.

Geithner, 47, is well known to Wall Street from his role as New York Federal Reserve chief and was a career official at the Treasury Department from 1988 to 2001, serving under three administrations and rising to undersecretary for international affairs.As the successor to Republican Henry Paulson, Geithner would become the overseer of a 700-billion-dollar bailout package for distressed banks at a time when the world's largest economy is staring at recession.

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