POSITION: DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE

 

NOMINEE: James Steinberg

Born: May 7, 1953.

Family: Wife, Sherburne B. Abbott, and two children.

Work history: A clerk to a federal judge; an aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Armed Services Committee; and an analyst at the RAND Corporation in California. He held several top national security positions in the Clinton administration, including State Department chief of staff and director of the department's policy planning staff. Until 2005, he was vice president and director of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington. He is now dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas but has remained at the center of the Democratic Party's shadow foreign policy establishment. NY Times bio

Education: J.D., Yale Law School, 1978; B.A., Harvard University (Phi Beta Kappa and John Harvard Scholar), 1973

Clinton White House: From December 1996 to August 2000, he served as deputy national security advisor to President Bill Clinton. During that period he also served as the president's personal representative ("Sherpa") to the 1998 and 1999 G-8 summits. Prior to becoming deputy national security advisor, he served as chief of staff of the U.S. State Department and director of the State Department's policy planning staff (1994-1996), and as deputy assistant secretary for analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1993-1994).

Abortion

"James B. Steinberg, President Obama's nominee to be the next Deputy Secretary of State, claimed in written testimony to the Foreign Relations Committee that Congress cannot constitutionally restrict taxpayer funding to perform or promote abortions. Mr. Steinberg stated that the Mexico City policy, which bars taxpayer funding of abortions overseas, 'is an unnecessary restriction that, if applied to organizations based in this country, would be an unconstitutional limitation on free speech.'

Steinberg's opinion is in direct contradiction to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has already definitively decided the matter in Rust v. Sullivan in 1991. The court's majority opinion concluded: 'The Government has no constitutional duty to subsidize an activity merely because it is constitutionally protected, and may validly choose to allocate public funds for medical services relating to childbirth but not to abortion.'

Steinberg's statement was made in response to a question about President Obama's efforts to repeal the 'Mexico City policy,' which bars organizations that receive funding from the State Department to agree to 'neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.'" Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) blog, referring to written questions he submitted to the nominee.

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On the Bush Doctrine of Preventive Force

"Preventive military force has a role in managing today's security challenges. Understanding that role is step one; establishing agreed standards for its use is step two; and implanting these standards in an effective institution is the third step. The Bush administration got the first step right, and the logic of its arguments builds toward the second. But it has gotten step three wrong. Unilateralism is not the only alternative to the Security Council. Regional organizations and a new coalition of democratic states offer ways to legitimize the use of force when the council fails to meet its responsibilities." James Steinberg and Ivo Daalder, "Preventive War, A Useful Tool." Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2005.

Helped Craft Obama Doctrine On Negotiating with Hostile Countries

"Advisers to Sen. Obama play down charges from conservatives that there is a downside risk if U.S. efforts to engage Iran fail to halt Tehran's nuclear program immediately. They stress that any overtures would be made only after extensive deliberations inside Washington, as well as with U.S. allies. But they said such an initiative would unify the international community on Iran, while shifting the blame for any failure to resolve the nuclear issue squarely onto Tehran. 'There are no guarantees diplomacy will succeed, but you also know that if it doesn't you've strengthened your hands with other people,' said Mr. Steinberg, who served as deputy national-security adviser from 1996 to 2000." Jay Solomon, "Obama's Mideast experts Emphasize talks," Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2008.

On Nuclear Weapons, Guantanamo and the International Criminal Court

"On the military side, Washington must begin devaluing nuclear weapons. The United States can't uninvent them, and will need some nuclear capability for the foreseeable future. But if we want Iran and North Korea to give them up and for China and Russia to limit their arsenals and prevent proliferation, we must take steps of our own: canceling new weapons programs - like the nuclear bunker buster, ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and mounting a massive global campaign to secure loose nukes and nuclear materials. Finally, don't hesitate to stand up for our values: democracy, the rule of law and human rights. But remember that the best way to get others to share them is by example, not coercion. Close Guantanamo. Join the International Criminal Court." James Steinberg, "Enough: Americans Should Lead by Example, and start by closing Guantanamo Bay," Newsweek. January 1, 2008.

Miscellaneous

A voracious reader, fly fisherman, runner and workaholic who often rises before dawn to run several miles before getting to the office. He has several marathons under his belt. Was struck by a car while running in Los Angeles but has recovered from his injuries. NY Times bio