"Antiwar groups and other liberal activists are increasingly concerned at signs that Barack Obama's national security team will be dominated by appointees who favored the Iraq invasion and hold hawkish views on other important foreign policy issues," Paul Richter writes in the Los Angeles Times. "The activists are uneasy not only about signs that both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates could be in the Obama Cabinet, but at reports suggesting that several other short-list candidates for top security posts backed the decision to go to war."
You can't keep everybody happy: "The unsolicited and sometimes conflicting advice represents an early leadership challenge to Obama, who is deep in the process of selecting his own team and settling on an initial legislative strategy at a time when the economy seems likely to subsume all other issues," per ABC News. "Obama also faces an additional challenge: He ran on a platform of independence from Washington interest groups and doesn't want to be seen as too beholden to any organizations."
More progress on the one potential Cabinet member who everybody knows, and most people have something of an opinion about.
"Former President Bill Clinton has agreed to all of the conditions sought by President-elect Barack Obama's transition team to eliminate potential conflicts of interest if Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes secretary of state," Peter Baker and Helene Cooper report in The New York Times. "Mr. Clinton accepted several restrictions on his business and philanthropic activities to remove any obstacle to his wife's nomination if the cabinet job is formally offered and accepted."
"Bill Clinton has sent President-elect Barack Obama's transition team a list of more than 200,000 donors to his foundation," Bloomberg's Timothy J. Burger reports. "The Clinton and Obama teams could seek donors' permission to reveal their names -- a potentially lengthy process."
Just a hint more of tension: "President-elect Barack Obama's camp, well practiced in keeping secrets, is increasingly frustrated by a steady stream of leaks that insiders suspect come from confidants of Hillary Clinton," Ken Bazinet reports in the New York Daily News. "Just as ex-President Bill Clinton pledged Wednesday to prove there are no new skeletons in his closet that could derail his wife's chances of becoming secretary of state, top Obama sources suggested loose-lipped Clintonistas abide by their rules: If caught leaking, you will pay the price."
Another hint -- just below the surface: "Obama aides said yesterday that it would be difficult for Sen. Clinton to walk away from the secretary of state post. Obama's staff has thoroughly vetted both Clintons with the understanding that, if he should make an official job offer, she would accept," The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, Alec MacGillis and Philip Rucker report.
Can it fall apart now? "The examination better find her acceptable. Any other selection now would embitter her supporters, even if she publicly declines the appointment," Karl Rove writes in his Wall Street Journal column.
"Obama will seem to be dissing Clinton and her supporters if she doesn't get the job. Here again, one sees a once-seamless team making little mistakes," David Ignatius writes in his Washington Post column.