U.S. Democratic Party officials say President-elect Barack Obama is considering a former Clinton administration official to be the country's next attorney general.

Senior party officials on Tuesday confirmed that Mr. Obama has offered the post to Eric Holder, who served as deputy attorney general under former President Bill Clinton.

If the appointment is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Holder would be the first African-American to head up the U.S. Justice Department.

Officials say Mr. Obama's aides have been talking with senators to determine whether they would support the selection.  At issue is Holder's involvement in the controversial 2001 pardon of a fugitive financier, Marc Rich, by the Clinton presidency.  At the time, Holder said he was neutral and leaning towards favoring the pardon.

Officials say the former deputy attorney general is anxious to reform the Justice Department's reputation, after controversies surrounding its hiring practices and anti-terror regulations.

In a statement released Tuesday, the head of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, said Holder would make an outstanding nominee and should have bipartisan support if chosen by President-elect Obama.

Holder helped investigate candidates to become Mr. Obama's vice presidential running mate.  He is a former judge and is a private practice attorney in Washington.

In related news, President-elect Obama Tuesday said his presidency "will mark a new chapter" in U.S. leadership on climate change.

Mr. Obama told a summit of U.S. state governors on climate change in Los Angeles via video that he will start a federal cap-and-trade system aimed at reducing emissions by 80 percent by 2050.  He also plans to invest $15 billion each year in the private sector for clean energy, and engage the United States in global negotiations on climate change.