Obama also said that retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones would be his national security adviser. Eric Holder will succeed as attorney general. Janet Napolitano, a former attorney general, and governor of Arizona, will be the next secretary of homeland security. Susan Rice will serve as U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.
Obama said the appointees "represent all of those elements of American power, and the very best of the American example" and that "they share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America's role as a leader in the world."
He said, in particular, that Hillary Clinton's "appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances."
A Russian expert said earlier on Monday that Hillary Clinton's nomination has been partially motivated by the ongoing financial crisis.
Gleb Pavlovsky, head of the Effective Policy Foundation think tank, said Obama's decision was prompted by the current situation in the United States and the world at large rather than by personal preference.
"Because by late January, the crisis could deepen further, Obama is now in a rush to create a sense of confidence," he said, adding that Hillary Clinton's "theory" is more familiar to market players and "the U.S. political class," while Obama "is continually suspected of radicalism."
"The business world wants to see a mustering of the elites and a secure future, while Obama is feared," he said.
The Russian expert also said the same considerations applied to Obama's decision to keep Robert Gates as defense secretary.