This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," November 21, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: She accepts. A source tells FOX News that Senator Hillary Clinton will accept the job of Secretary of State. Now, the official story, however, is a bit less certain. An adviser to Senator Clinton would only admit the discussions with President-elect Obama are very much on track. No formal announcement yet, but the formal announcement is expected shortly after Thanksgiving.
Joining us is Wall Street Journal reporter Laura Meckler. Nice to see you, Laura.
LAURA MECKLER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Nice to see you.
VAN SUSTEREN: So is it a done deal or not? What are you hearing?
MECKLER: Well, we were hearing as of this evening that it was sort of all but done, but there are certain people who are saying that it is a done deal. I think it's clear -- it seems clear that this is going to happen.
VAN SUSTEREN: What's the hold-up? I mean -- I mean, if it's a done deal, why not make the announcement?
MECKLER: Well, you know, they haven't made any of these announcements yet. There have been a lot of names that have come out there, you know, Eric Holder for attorney general, Tom Daschle for HHS. None of these have been announced officially yet. So that they're really taking their time for the official announcements, for whatever reason. And we're going to probably start to get them, you know, after Thanksgiving and into December.
VAN SUSTEREN: President Bill Clinton, former president Bill Clinton, has he been sort of -- I mean -- I mean, we've been hearing things, at least on the outside, that -- you know, vetting all his finances. Has that really been something that's been done? Is that sort of the focus of the Obama campaign, or Obama team?
MECKLER: Yes. I think they really took that pretty seriously because he has quite a few foreign entanglements. He's done a lot of foreign speeches. He has his Global Initiative, which works all over the world. So yes, he had quite a few donors to his library that he hadn't disclosed in the past. So he really did have quite a few things to work through. He said he was willing to work through them, and now the Obama team is saying that that has been settled to their satisfaction.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think, in all fairness, you know, and people should -- I mean, people are complaining about the fact that he's not disclosing it. President Clinton has raised millions and millions of dollars for charity all over the world. I mean, that Clinton Global Initiative has done an enormous amount of good.
MECKLER: Right. It's not like he's out there, you know -- you know, selling oil for, you know, Saudi barons or something. I mean, he's actually out there, you know, trying to make a difference. But he's also giving very high-paid speeches. And obviously, he hasn't had to disclose who's paying for those speeches. So you know, it is something that they want to be sure, especially if his wife is Secretary of State, I mean, if she's the top diplomat, obviously, you know, working all over the world, it does make sense that they would want to make sure there weren't any conflicts of interest there.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he drag his feet at all in terms of disclosing information, either one of the Clintons, as far as we know?
MECKLER: I don't know. It seems to me like it all happened very quickly. It was just a week ago that we first heard about -- or eight days when we first heard that this was even on the table. So you know, I'd say all things considered, a week is not really dragging your feet to have the whole thing kind of vetted and worked out.
VAN SUSTEREN: Any idea when -- when Senator -- Senator Obama -- I guess he's no longer senator -- President-elect Obama made the choice?
MECKLER: I'm not really sure exactly when that happened. It's obviously something he had been thinking about, although, you know, I think that -- as I said, a week ago, it came as a surprise to a lot of us that this was something on his mind. I don't think that most people thought of her as a potential secretary of state. It's not -- she certainly talked about her experience in foreign policy on the campaign trail, but it wasn't an issue that she was identified along the lines like health care, for instance, which was a real signature issue. So I think that it was somewhat of a surprise. So when he first started thinking about this, you know -- I'll have to ask him next time I see him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is it a better job than U.S. Senate, do you think, I mean, being a senator for her?
MECKLER: You know...
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, would she like it better?
MECKLER: I think on some level, obviously, she would. I think that's why she's prepared to take this job is because it's obviously a high- profile job. It's a job where she has a lot of her -- sort of her own power center. The issue in the Senate is that, you know, even though she's been there for several years, she still is quite junior in seniority in a place where people have...
VAN SUSTEREN: But at least you're boss of yourself. I mean, this job, theoretically, she's not boss.
MECKLER: No, no. She has to report to the White House. And you know, obviously, there is, you know, potential tension there. But I think she was looking at what kind of influence she would have in the Senate and seeing -- for instance, on health care, that was something she might want to work on, the universal health care bill, but there were people ahead of her who were already lining up to lead that effort, so she was not going to be out front on that.
I don't know if that was what was in her mind or not. But I think that, you know, secretary of state is one of the most high-profile jobs, you know, short of president or vice president, that we have to offer in this town. So I think that was probably, in the end, just too hard to pass up.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, there's so much speculation that she'd almost be freelancing in the sense that not taking the job as being -- you know, with President-elect Obama being her boss, but rather that she'd be much more independent and she'd make her own sort of decisions because she's a very smart woman. I imagine that that might have been a thought that passed through the mind of President-elect Obama and his team.
MECKLER: It very well may have been. But clearly, it's not one that's given them enough pause to hold it back. You know, obviously, they're aware of who they're getting. They're not getting someone who's just going to roll over, although I'm sure she's aware of the fact that, you know, the secretary of state does answer to the president and does -- you know, does serve at his pleasure. So I don't think that -- I don't think she's going in preparing to undermine him.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, I know how you'd probably vote on our live vote tonight, based on that, Laura. But thank you.
And now to the live vote. And this one -- this one could be a lot of fun tonight. Go to Getawire.com right now and answer this poll question. Who do you think will be the real boss when it comes to foreign policy, President Obama or Secretary of State Clinton? We're going to read your results at the end of the hour.
The cabinet -- it's filling up. FOX News confirms that President- elect Obama will tap Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico as Secretary of Commerce, and Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve, will be tapped as Secretary of Treasury. Now, these appointments are critical. These two men, if confirmed, have a big job trying to fix the crisis of our economy. The Dow certainly seemed to like the choices today, closing up almost 500 points, but will that last? Were these good picks in the long run?
Joining us live is Sudeep Reddy, economy reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Today it jumped up 500 points -- end of the week rally after a rather lousy week, or is that in reaction to the leaking information about the Treasury secretary?
SUDEEP REDDY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: If you watched the market reaction, you could see right as the news came out, the stock market really just soared on this news. And it was kind of a confirmation for President-elect Obama that he was picking somebody who markets -- that markets would like, and that's really important to him. You don't want somebody who's going to go too far in either direction. He's often called -- Tim Geithner is often called a pragmatist, so he's somebody who isn't going to go kind of crazy in one side or another.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sudeep, in light of the fact that the market -- I mean, like, on Wednesday and Thursday, both dropped down about 500 points, today rallied up 500 points. Can we take any sort of sense of relief that this happened, or do we really have to wait to see what happens on Monday, if it takes another nosedive, to know if it really had any influence?
REDDY: There are still two months until President-elect Obama actually takes the oath, and that's actually really important because we're going to see these fluctuations in the stock market a lot over this period because there's so many problems facing the economy right now -- the housing crisis, the banking crisis. The economy is really just going into this nosedive right now through the holiday season, and so the stock market is going to be reacting to that a lot.
What this is is kind of an early sign of what investors are placing faith in, that an Obama administration might be able to at least reverse some of this downturn and bring the economy back up from what we've been facing.
VAN SUSTEREN: On paper, if you put these two men next to each other, Secretary Paulson and Tim Geithner, I mean, what's the difference to the layperson? What would -- what do you see?
REDDY: Well, between Paulson and Geithner, you actually see a fairly significant difference in terms of the role of government. And Geithner, of course -- some of the baggage he brings is that he was involved in these bail-outs throughout the year and he was -- he had a seat at the table in making these decisions about Bear Stearns, about AIG, and he's been -- in some ways been leading the charge on some of that. But...
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he pick who got bailed out? I mean, because not everybody got bailed out, I mean, and there's been some criticism it seemed like some people got bailed out, some didn't, and it seemed rather whimsical to us on the outside.
REDDY: It did, and he picked -- he and his colleagues -- it wasn't not only him, but they were picking based on what they feared would create the systemic collapse of the financial system and went at it. In the case of Lehman Brothers, which the government did not bail out, there are some people who are saying maybe that they should have, and Tim Geithner was one of those people who was arguing at least to not close the door on bailing out Lehman Brothers, which is actually important because all this says is that the difference between Geithner and Paulson is, with Geithner, you're probably get somebody who is more activist, more interventionist and wants to kind of pursue aggressive government policy in the case of a crisis like this, whereas the Bush administration has probably been faulted most for trying to take a hands-off approach early on and not really jumping in and dealing with the problem early on and leaving us where we are now.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so they have different sort of philosophical policy on how to handle the economy. How about -- does Geithner have any friends on Wall Street that we'd worry that he -- I mean, as an outsider -- do we worry that he's trying to bail out his friends?
REDDY: Well, often, somebody in one of these positions may have come from a Wall Street background. Certainly, with Hank Paulson, he was the chief executive...
VAN SUSTEREN: Goldman Sachs.
REDDY: ... At Goldman Sachs, right. Geithner didn't work in business. That actually maybe the only fault people on Wall Street would find. But he works -- from the New York Fed, the job of the New York Fed president is to oversee Wall Street, in some sense, in financial markets. And so he would have had a fairly major role looking after them and talking with all these executives. And that's a -- good from being -- from having relationships with them, it might bring some faults. But that, on balance, is probably more important that he has that experience and understands how financial markets work, which is why it's giving some faith for him.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if he instills confidence and we see good numbers on Monday, we can all, I mean, at least, maybe breathe a little bit better, but I mean, this up-and-down's been driving everybody crazy and everyone's -- everyone's terrified with all the layoffs, but...
REDDY: It might be a couple more months of watching that before you actually have any real action.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's right. He doesn't even start his until after the 20th of January. Sudeep, thank you.
REDDY: Thank you.
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