Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in talks to become the president of the World Bank, Reuters's Lesley Wroughton reports. Clinton's spokesman Philippe Reines offered a denial to Reuters and has been offering strong quotes to other outlets. He told NBC, "It's 100% untrue, Reuters is wrong. That's on the record." According to Reuters, which cited three different "sources familiar with the discussions," Clinton would leave the Obama administration next year to lead the organization.
Clinton has previously said she wants to leave her post at the State Department at the end of President Obama's first term. When asked early last year if she could imagine staying in the job for another four years, she answered, "No, I really can't." She also said she was "absolutely not interested" in seeking the U.S. presidency again.
Wroughton writes in her Reuters story:
"Hillary Clinton wants the job," said one source who knows the secretary well.
A second source also said Clinton wants the position.
A third source said Obama has already expressed support for the change in her role. It is unclear whether Obama has formally agreed to nominate her for the post, which would require approval by the 187 member countries of the World Bank.
The news comes as Obama is trying to decide whether to support a French finance minister Christine Lagarde for the top spot at the International Monetary Fund. Traditionally, the IMF is lead by a European, and the World Bank is headed by an American. But many developing nations are urging that IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who's facing rape charges in New York, be replaced by someone from a country outside the West.
The current president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, was elected in 2007. Presidents typically serve five-year terms.