As expected, President-elect Barack Obama named Sen. Hillary Clinton as his choice for secretary of state and gave Robert Gates the opportunity to continue his work as secretary of defense — just two in a series of high-powered nominations Obama announced Monday.

Clinton accepted the invitation and gave a short speech, as did the other appointees, during Monday’s news conference in Chicago, thanking New Yorkers for eight years of service as their senator and admitting that it was a difficult choice for her to leave the Senate. Picking up on Obama’s theme of hope in a new era, Clinton said, “We can shape our times instead of being shaped by them.”

The recent and tragic attacks in Mumbai, India, were invoked more than once during the proceedings, and Obama praised the new members of his assembled national defense team for their diplomatic strengths as well as their ability to command the confidence and respect of legislators from both sides of the political aisle. The president-elect saluted former rival Clinton and declared that he looked to her to help America “restore alliances” with other nations as a key part of her future position.

ABC News:

The line-up of cabinet members that stood behind Obama today at his Chicago news conference is a high-powered and experienced crew, topped by Clinton, his former rival and bitter critic and [now], Obama’s nominee for secretary of state.

Obama’s national security lineup includes former Marine Gen. Jim Jones as national security adviser, Dr. Susan Rice as United Nations ambassador, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Eric Holder as attorney general.

In addition, Obama intends to keep Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the job.

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