"America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America," she said, her daughter Chelsea seated behind her in the audience. "The best way to advance America's interest in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions. This isn't a philosophical point. This is our reality."
In laying out a general outlook for American foreign policy under Obama, Clinton spoke in a clear, unhurried voice and looked at ease. She made it plain, citing policy themes that were familiar from Obama's presidential campaign - and in many cases her own - that the incoming Democratic administration wants to elevate the role of diplomacy. She and Obama contend that the Bush administration relied too heavily on the military to carry out foreign policy and that it leaned too much on ideology and too little on pragmatism.
The Foreign Relations Committee planned to vote on Clinton's nomination on Thursday. If it approves her, she could gain full Senate confirmation as early as Inauguration Day.
The Senate also held confirmation hearings for other Obama choices for Cabinet and top White House positions. Appearing were Peter Orszag, to head the Office of Management and Budget, and Robert Nabors II, for deputy director of OMB; New York housing official Shaun Donovan, to be secretary of housing and urban development; Steven Chu, to head the Energy Department; and Arne Duncan, as education secretary.
Chu promised that if confirmed as energy secretary he will aggressively pursue policies aimed at addressing climate change and achieving greater energy independence by developing clean energy sources. At his hearing, Duncan said that the No Child Left Behind law should stop punishing schools where only a handful of kids are struggling.
Obama's choice to run the Treasury Department and to lead the economic rescue effort disclosed to senators Tuesday that he failed to pay $34,000 in taxes from 2001 to 2004, a last-minute complication in an otherwise smooth path to confirmation. Timothy Geithner paid most of the past-due taxes days before Obama announced his nomination in November, an Obama transition official said. The unpaid taxes were discovered by Obama's transition team while investigating Geithner's background, the official said.
The transition official requested anonymity because the source was not authorized to discuss Geithner's situation.
The Foreign Relations committee's top Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar, praised Clinton, calling her "the epitome of a big leaguer" whose presence could open new opportunities for American diplomacy.
But Lugar also raised questions about the issue of Bill Clinton's fundraising work and its relation to her wife's new post. Lugar said that the only way for Clinton to avoid a potential conflict of interest due to her husband's charity is to forswear any new foreign contributions. The Indiana senator said the situation poses a "unique complication" that requires "great care and transparency."
Before the hearing, Lugar made four suggestions to Hillary Clinton's staff on how to improve transparency in her husband's charitable fundraising, said the senator's spokesman, Andy Fisher.
But in her testimony, Hillary Clinton made clear that the Obama administration would accept only one of the proposals - that the foundation provide a clear picture of its annual donations, Fisher said.