But Susan Rice, also an assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration and nominated Monday to be ambassador to the U.N., said Clinton's role was more about "gentle prodding or constructive reinforcement."
Each of Clinton's claims came under careful scrutiny during the campaign, and each was found lacking.
It was revealed that despite Clinton's claim that she helped open Macedonia's borders to Kosovar refugees, she actually arrived in Macedonia one day after the borders had been opened.
John Hume and David Trimble, respectively Northern Ireland's chief Catholic and Protestant peace negotiators who had shared the Nobel Peace Prize, each remember Clinton's role differently.
In the spring, Hume said Clinton provided "decisive support" in negotiating peace. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams agreed, telling the Irish Times that "Sen. Clinton played an important role in the peace process" and praised her as "extremely well informed on the issues."
Trimble, however, remembered Clinton mainly as a "cheerleader" and not a "principal player."
The incident for which Clinton took the most flack during the campaign was her much ballyhooed claim to have taken cover from sniper fire while visiting Bosnia in 1996.
When photos of Clinton's arrival in Sarajevo showed her with her daughter, Chelsea, and embracing a young Bosnian girl, Clinton stepped back from her earlier comments, calling them "misstatements."
Despite the barbs they lobbed at each other throughout the campaign, in nominating her Monday, Obama called her "an American of tremendous stature ... who will command respect in every capital."
"Hillary's appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances," he said.
"During campaigns or during the course of election season, differences get magnified," he said. "I did not ask for assurances from these individuals that they would agree with me at all times. I think they understand and would not be joining this team unless they understood and were prepared to carry out the decisions that have been made by me after full discussion."
Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said, "The campaign revealed just how thin some of her first lady experience really was.
"Far more valuable was her time in the Senate on the Armed Services Committee. She was given access to what was taking place in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
But, Biddle said, neither in her capacity as first lady nor in her role as senator has Clinton ever had to run anything, let alone a bureaucracy as geographically widespread as the State Department.
"She has no managerial experience, nor for that matter does President-elect Obama," he said. "She's a quick study and a fast learner, but there will be immediate challenges when it comes to running a large executive branch."