The thaw in the resentful relationship between the most powerful woman in the Democratic Party and her younger male rival began at the Democrati party’s convention in August, when New York Senatory Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton gave such a passionate speech supporting then Illinois Senator Barack Obama that his top aides leapt out of their chairs backstage to give her a standing ovation as she swept past.

Obama, who was in the first steps of what would become a strategic courtship, called afterward to thank her. By then, close aides to Clinton said, she had come to respect the campaign Obama had run against her. At the least, she knew he understood like no one else the brutal strains of their epic primary battle.

By this past Thursday, when Obama reassured Clinton that she would have direct access to him and could select her own staff as secretary of state, the wooing was complete.

“She feels like she’s been treated very well in the way she’s been asked,” said a close associate of Clinton, who like others interviewed asked for anonymity because the nomination will not be formally announced until after Thanksgiving.

Few are predicting that this new relationship born of mutual respect and self-interest will grow into a tight bond between the new president and the woman who will be the public face of his foreign policy around the world, though some say it is not impossible. They argue that a close friendship between those in those powerful roles is useful but not essential, and is not a predictor of the success of the nation’s chief diplomat.

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