Speculation Swirls About Obama Appointments

While President-elect Barack Obama enjoyed a few days with his family after a hard-fought election, speculation swirled in the nation's capital around potential administration appointees.

Obama pivoted quickly to begin filling out his team on Wednesday, selecting hard-charging Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff while aides stepped up the pace of transition work that had been cloaked in pre-election secrecy.

Several Democrats confirmed that Emanuel had been offered the job. While it was not clear he had accepted, a rejection would amount to an unlikely public snub of the new president-elect within hours of an electoral college landslide.

Obama he has promised to hold a news conference later in the week. As president-elect, he begins receiving highly classified briefings from top intelligence officials Thursday.

In offering the post of White House chief of staff to Emanuel, Obama turned to a fellow Chicago politician with a far different style from his own, a man known for his bluntness as well as his single-minded determination.

Emanuel was a political and policy aide in Bill Clinton's White House. Leaving that, he turned to investment banking, then won a Chicago-area House seat six years ago. In Congress, he moved quickly into the leadership. As chairman of the Democratic campaign committee in 2006, he played an instrumental role in restoring his party to power after 12 years in the minority.

Emanuel maintained neutrality during the long primary battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, not surprising given his long-standing ties to the former first lady and his Illinois connections with Obama.

The day after the election there already was jockeying for Cabinet appointments.

Several Democrats said Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who won a new six-year term on Tuesday, was angling for secretary of state. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss any private conversations.

Kerry's spokeswoman, Brigid O'Rourke, disputed the reports. "It's not true. It's ridiculous," she said.

Announcement of the transition team came in a written statement from the Obama camp.

The group is headed by John Podesta, who served as chief of staff under former President Clinton; Pete Rouse, who has been Obama's chief of staff in the Senate; and Valerie Jarrett, a friend of the president-elect and campaign adviser.

Several Democrats described a sprawling operation well under way. Officials had kept deliberations under wraps to avoid the appearance of overconfidence in the weeks leading to Tuesday's election.

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  • by Former US House Page Location: Apex on Nov 6, 2008 at 02:49 PM
    It's important to know who Obama has chosen as his Chief of Staff. To learn more about Rahm Emanuel, please go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahm Emanuel. It will be sobering awakening.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 6, 2008 at 01:08 PM
    Whether you like it or not, Obama is now OUR president. You haven't even given him a chance to prove himself in the white house before you began passing judgement. The ones making this negative comments about OUR president are probably the same ones who say that he isn't patriotic enought to be president. What kind of patriotism are you showing by bashing OUR future president.
  • by Dwayne Location: Greenville on Nov 6, 2008 at 10:12 AM
    Let's see just how far Pres.elect Obama can reach across the isle. Cautiously optimistic.
  • by Sandy Location: New Bern on Nov 6, 2008 at 09:45 AM
    Lets sing "Shall we gather at the River" cause thats the only place we will be in the river without a paddle!!!
  • by Fred Location: Williamston on Nov 6, 2008 at 09:09 AM
    As the old saying goes, "Show me your friends and I'll show you who you really are." It's already started
  • by unknown Location: Chocowinity on Nov 6, 2008 at 06:58 AM
    God help this Country!!!
  • by Dave Location: Greenville on Nov 6, 2008 at 05:56 AM
    CHANGE is coming alright! HA HA HA!! This is going to be four treacherous years!

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