A former journalist never at a loss for a quote, Strobe Talbott says he is looking forward to sharing in the "great adventure" of building a post-Cold War world as deputy secretary of state.

Talbott, a principal architect of U.S. policy toward Russia, was named Tuesday to the No. 2 job at the State Department. "I relish the chance to broaden out a bit," he said at a news conference in LosAngeles.

Talbott will run the department when Secretary Warren Christopher is on the road, and he will continue to be the principal adviser to President Clinton - his roommate at Oxford as a fellow Rhodes scholar 25 years ago - on Russia's conversion to political democracy and capitalism.

The selection was announced by Christopher, who held the same post during the Carter administration.

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At 47, and with only eight months of diplomatic experience, Talbott, a former Time magazine reporter, vaulted past senior career diplomats. Christopher called him "the best person for the job.

"My choice was quite deliberate," Christopher said. "It seemed to me it is very desirable to have somebody of the president's generation." He called Talbott "an experienced, mature person" who will bring to the job "the vigor, and drive and experience of youth."

Talbott will continue to advise Clinton and Christopher on Russia and the other former Soviet republics. But he also will "be part of what I see as the great adventure of the United States trying to lead the rest of the world in building a true post-Cold War international security order."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, predicted easy Senate confirmation and praised Talbott.

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