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For Obama and Clinton, what a difference 16 months makes

It was a seminal moment in the Democratic primary: Responding to a question via YouTube video in a nationally televised debate on July 23, 2007, Barack Obama said he would be willing to meet with hostile foreign leaders of Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, North Korea and Syria.

Then-rival Hillary Clinton mocked his answer as "irresponsible and frankly naive.''

What a difference 16 months -- and a watershed election -- can make. Today, Obama is making his widely anticipated announcement that Clinton will serve as his Secretary of State.

Florida's large populations of Cubans, Venezuelans and Jews will be watching the new administration closely for any diplomatic gestures toward their enemies. The state's large Haitian community will also be tuning in to see if Obama takes up their calls for temporary protected status instead of forcing refugees to return to their impoverished, hurricane-wrecked country.

"The people of Haiti cannot wait a single day longer for this much needed assistance,'' said U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Miramar in a recent statement.

South Florida lawmakers have been lobbying Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff for TPS for Haitian nationals. His replacement, to be announced today along with Clinton and other members of Obama's foreign policy team, will be Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona.

Also official today: Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General. More on that appointment here.

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