Limbaugh Calls Clinton Pick 'Brilliant Stroke' by Obama

Radio host calls choice of Clinton at State "a brilliant stroke" by Obama.

Dec. 1, 2008— -- Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh says he's "stunned" that Hillary Clinton accepted the job as President-elect Obama's secretary of state.

In an interview with Barbara Walters to air on "The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008," Limbaugh called the choice of Clinton "a brilliant stroke by Obama."

Watch "Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008" Thursday at 10 p.m. ET

After weeks of speculation, Obama formally announced Clinton as his choice for secretary of state today at a press conference in Chicago. Obama said he thought she would be "outstanding" in her new role and called his national security team -- which also includes Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Gen. Jim Jones as his national security adviser -- a "new dawn of American leadership."

Clinton thanked her former rival for the honor of the nomination and said "America cannot solve these crises without the world, and the world cannot solve these crises without America."

Still, Limbaugh said that he was "surprised she took it."

"You know the old phrase 'You keep your friends close and your enemies closer?'" Limbaugh asked. "He puts her over at secretary of state, how can she run for president in 2012? … Then she's got to run against the incumbent? And be critical of him, the one who made her secretary of state?"

Limbaugh also had praise for the President-Elect in his interview with Walters.

"I've never met him, but he appears to be a sincere and genuinely nice person," Limbaugh said. "I just happen to think that the things that he's sincere about, I hope I'm wrong, are not the best things for the country right now."

Rush Limbaugh on Sarah Palin

Looking ahead to the 2012 presidential election, Limbaugh also told Walters that he sees Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a player for the Republican party.

"I love Sarah Palin," he said. "I think Sarah Palin is the exact opposite of her mainstream media caricature. The thing that happened with Sarah Palin, I think, is illustrative of another battle that's shaping up, and that's a battle between elites, the smart people, and those they do not think are smart. And the reason Sarah Palin was disgusting to, even Republicans, was that she's from Alaska, that she didn't go to the right schools."

Limbaugh said that he's not part of that elite, and told Walters that the "real Rush Limbaugh" is "the most unthreatening, tolerant, loveable guy you could ever meet."

"The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008" also features interviews with actor Tom Cruise, "30 Rock" star Tina Fey, Oscar and Grammy winner Will Smith, teen sensation Miley Cyrus, and record breaking Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. The most fascinating person of 2008 will be announced on the program.