Category Archives: White House staff

Obama’s Staff – Update 1

Yesterday, we finally got confirmation that Rahm Emanuel would be Obama’s first Chief of Staff.  I say “first” because these guys never last more than a couple of years.  It’s a tough, demanding job.  As more positions are announced, I’ll write these “Staff Update” posts to keep you up to date.

Press Secretary:  Robert Gibbs

Gibbs was the voice of Obama during the campaign and on Obama’s Senate staff, beginning as communications director and ending as a senior strategist.  I like Gibbs’ southern roots:  born in Alabama and graduating from NC State.  One of Gibbs’ finest moments on the trail, in my opinion, was his take down of Sean Hannity after the second debate. 

Senior Adviser:  David Axelrod

Axelrod has been with Obama since God was a boy and is fiercely loyal.  He and Rahm Emanuel are also good friends, which should allow for a sort of short hand among this triumvirate that can only help in the frenetic pace of a White House facing as many crises as this one will.  It should also give insight as to why Emanuel was chosen for the job.

Economic Crisis Team:

These folks are not White House staff, but are a team of economists, business leaders, and politicians who will help Obama deal with the eocnomic crisis during this transition time.  The members of the Transition Economic Advisory Board (TEAB) announced yesterday are (in no particular order):

Warren Buffett
Paul Volcker, Fed Chairman under Carter and Reagan
Eric Schmidt, Google CEO
Lawrence Summers, Treasury Secretary under Clinton
Robert Rubin, Treasury Secretary under Clinton
William Daley, Commerce Secretary under Clinton
Anne Mulcahy, Chaiman of Xerox
David Bonior, Former member of the House
Roel Campos, SEC Commissioner under W.
William Donaldson, SEC Chairman under W.
Roger Ferguson, former Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve
Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Michigan
Richard Parsons, Chairman of the Board, Time Warner
Penny Pritzker, CEO, Classic Residency by Hyatt
Robert Reich, Labor Secretary under Clinton
Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles
Laura Tyson, Former Chairman National Economic Council & President’s Council of Economic Advisors under Clinton

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The Republicans have lost their minds

The GOP apparently didn’t get the message from the American people on Tuesday that we’re tired of divisive politics.  The latest evidence?  They’re attacking Obama’s choice of Rahm Emanuel for Chief of Staff less than 48 hours after “Change” and “Hope” won and just as North Carolina has officially gone blue.  The GOP has lost its collective mind.  If this is the way they’re going to try and work with the Obama administration, they should steel themselves for yet more losses in 2010.

Update:  For his part, Emanuel struck a very conciliatory tone is his statement:

I want to say a special word about my Republican colleagues, who serve with dignity, decency and a deep sense of patriotism. We often disagree, but I respect their motives.  Now is a time for unity.  I will do everything in my power to help you stitch together the frayed fabric of our politics, and help summon Americans of both parties to unite in common purpose.

John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Leader, however, wasn’t so conciliatory:

This is an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil and govern from the center.

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Rahm Emanuel

According to NBC News, Rahm Emanuel has accepted the job of Chief of Staff in the Obama White House.  Everyone I’ve talked to or heard from, save Joe Scarborough, thinks this is a fantastic pick.  Emanuel is smart, hard nosed, and knows how to get things done.  While I have some disappointment in Emanuel’s abandonment of his quest to become Speaker of the House, it should be a fantastic partnership.

I heard Colin Powell’s name floated …. *not* by the campaign … as a possibility for Secretary of Education this morning.  Thoughts?

Update:  10 minutes later, NBC News reports that Emanuel’s spokesperson denies that he has accepted the job.  Interesting ….

Update:  11.6 12:54  NBC News “confirmed” that Emanuel has accepted the job.  He apparently has been thinking this over since June.  With the chaos over the last 24 hours surrounding his on-the-fence position over this appointment, he almost couldn’t have turned it down.  I sympathize with his family’s position and wish them well on the transition.

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