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Opinion: Looks like Eric Holder, ex-Clinton acting AG, will be Obama’s AG

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Looks like President-elect Barack Obama will name another former official from Bill Clinton’s administration as attorney general.

He’s Eric Holder, the 57-year-old former deputy AG under Janet Reno. (See news video below.)

According to NBC, Holder, a former U.S. attorney and Superior Court judge, was offered the job conditionally last week and accepted, pending formal vetting.

He would be the first African American to head the Justice Department.

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But the formal announcement was withheld for two reasons.

First, Obama wants to name his economic team, including Treasury secretary, and his secretary of State up front.

And, second, he wants his transition people to run Holder’s name by some influential senators.

Holder, you may recall, was the acting attorney general who approved Bill Clinton’s last-minute list of presidential pardons just before leaving office.

That list included one very controversial and embarrassing pardon for fugitive investor Marc Rich, whose ex-wife coincidentally just happened to have made substantial contributions to Clinton.

Holder has previously sailed through Senate confirmation on other appointments. He was also co-chair along with Caroline Kennedy of Obama’s VP search team. (See news video below.)

(UPDATE: Our blogging buddy Larry Harnisch over at the Daily Mirror has uncovered a revealing Times profile of Holder from 14 years ago, when Holder was a rising prosecutorial star.)

(2nd UPDATE: In his opening monologue tonight Jay Leno has some fun with the new names coming out of the new administration in Washington:

(‘The James Bond movie ‘Quantum of Solace’ was No. 1 at the box office -- $70 million. Quantum of Solace? Doesn’t that sound like one of Barack Obama’s new Cabinet members? ‘Hi, I’m Barack. This is Rahm Emanuel. And our new man Quantum of Solace.’')

-- Andrew Malcolm

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