Yes, there are several names being floated for secretary of state in the Obama administration. But it was the trial balloon named Hillary Rodham Clinton that drew praise from several Republicans this past weekend, as well as from her own husband, who claimed not to be privy to details of her talks with the president-elect.

Hillary Clinton would be “a very good selection” as secretary of state, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, said in an interview with Fox News Sunday morning. “It seems to me she’s got the experience. She’s got the temperament for it. I think she would be well received around the world,” Kyl said.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, R-N.D., told Fox he didn’t think she would have trouble winning confirmation. “She’s worked across the aisle, has good bipartisan relationships” and “would have instant credibility around the world,” he added. The U.S. has “a lot of relationships to repair and a lot of work to do, so I think she’d be a fine choice.”

Obama and Clinton have done nothing to tamp down speculation on the widely leaked news that she traveled to meet with him in Chicago Thursday and discussed the possibility of the State Department job. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is also reported to have met with Obama last week and others, including Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, are reportedly also being considered for the post.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the World Economic Forum’s India meeting he thought giving Clinton the job “would be an outstanding appointment,” adding it would also show “great courage” on Obama’s part.

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said such an appointment “could be a great move.”

Former President Bill Clinton told an economic conference in Kuwait that his wife would be a “great secretary of state.”

The former president said that he had a couple of phone conversations with his wife in the past two days, but said he did not know whether the issue of her appointment was discussed between the Obama camp and Hillary.

Even one of Clinton’s most relentless critics, syndicated columnist Maureen Dowd, was warm on the idea.

“At long last, the feminist icon would represent the feminist ideal of getting a room of her own, all on her own,” Dowd wrote Sunday.

(c) 2008, Newsday.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-11-16-08 1936EST

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