Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her first public appearance since former rival Barack Obama was elected president, praised his choice for White House chief of staff, a former top aide to her husband.
"President-elect Obama made an excellent choice," she said of Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, adding that he "understands both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue."
"He gets things done," she said at a news conference Thursday night before she and former President Clinton were honored at a gala at the newly refurbished Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. "Rahm is determined and effective."
She also called on Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, the Senate's longest-serving Republican, to resign after he was convicted of corruption charges.
The event at which the Clintons spoke kicked off the opening weekend of the Intrepid after a nearly two-year restoration. President Bush next week will deliver a Veterans Day address on the famous World War II aircraft carrier.
Clinton, a New York Democrat, said she talked with Obama after his historic victory, which made the Illinois senator the first African-American elected to the White House, and promised to work with him as he faces challenging times taking office.
"I want to be a good partner with him in the Senate," said Clinton, his former rival for their party's presidential nomination. "The Senate is going to be the place that determines whether his agenda is successful. We are going to work together. We are going to work across the aisle."
Clinton said that Obama has to move quickly on national security and the economy. He was wise to begin preparing for his transition into the White House, she said.
"I give him credit for being ahead of the curve," she said. "I think he'll put together a good team."
Asked whether she would join an Obama administration, Clinton said: "I want to be the best senator I can be from New York."
Stevens, who has secured billions of dollars in federal funds for his state, was clinging to a narrow lead in a re-election bid after being found guilty of lying on Senate records to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in home renovations and gifts he received from a millionaire businessman. He is appealing and told voters he's not a convicted felon — at least not until the appeal process is over.
But Stevens, Clinton said, has to go.
"I think that he should step down, and I think that we may actually win that seat still," she said.
An exit poll and incomplete ballot results had Stevens, a 40-year incumbent, with a very slight lead over Democratic rival Mark Begich, the mayor of Anchorage. More than 60,000 absentee and questioned ballots remained to be counted Thursday, so the outcome may be days in coming.
Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
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