| GEO World|
| Obama's says Clinton "an early gift" to diplomacy|
| Updated at: 1703 PST, Friday, January 23, 2009|
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has described his new chief diplomat Hillary Clinton Hillary as "an early gift" to the State Department.
"It is my privilege to come here and to pay tribute to all of you, the talented men and women of the State Department," Obama told the employees during a visit to underscore "my commitment to the importance of diplomacy in renewing American leadership."
"I've given you an early gift, Hillary Clinton," he said amid laughter and applause. “You will have a secretary of state who has my full confidence," he said of his one- time Democratic rival for the nation's highest office.
The former first lady too, leaving the bitterness of the election campaign behind, reciprocated his sentiments: "We are not only honoured and delighted, but challenged, by the president coming here on the second day."