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Archive for Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama’s choices show switch in tone

November 7, 2008

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— Barack Obama is signaling a shift in tactics and temperament as he moves from candidate to president-elect, picking sharp-elbowed Washington insiders for top posts.

His choice Thursday for White House chief of staff - Rahm Emanuel, a fiery partisan who doesn't mind breaking glass and hurting feelings - is a significant departure from the soft-spoken, low-key aides that "No-Drama Obama" surrounded himself with during his campaign. And transition chief John Podesta, like Emanuel, is a former top aide to Bill Clinton and a tough partisan infighter, though less bombastic than the new chief of staff.

The selections are telling for Obama, who campaigned as a nontraditional, almost "post-partisan" newcomer. People close to him say the selections show that Obama is aware of his weaknesses as well as his strengths and knows what he needs to be successful as he shifts from campaigning to governing.

"No one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel," said Obama, who also spoke by phone with nine world leaders Thursday.

Obama, who survived a long contest with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, has made it clear he will rely heavily on veterans of her husband's eight-year administration, the only Democratic presidency in the past 28 years. Podesta was President Clinton's chief of staff, and several other former Clinton aides are on Obama's short lists for key jobs, Democratic officials say.

Obama himself brims with self-confidence, to the point that some people view him as arrogant. But to a greater degree than many presidents, he appears willing to lean on Washington insiders associated with other politicians.

Emanuel accepted Obama's offer with a gesture of bipartisanship, addressing part of his statement to Republicans. "We often disagree, but I respect their motives," Emanuel said. "Now is a time for unity, and, Mr. President-elect, 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."

That would come as news to some Republicans.

In contrast to Obama's collegial style and that of his top campaign advisers, Emanuel is known as a foul-mouthed practitioner of brass-knuckled politics who relishes both conflict and publicity.

But he also earned a reputation for pragmatic efficiency, whether the goal was winning House elections for Democrats or working with Republicans to enact Clinton's centrist political agenda.

"Rahm knows Capitol Hill and has great political skills," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. "He can be a tough partisan but also understands the need to work together."

Comments

Andrew Stahmer 5 years, 5 months ago

How about a press secretary who can keep him from making an idiot out of himself. (Granted; an impossible task.)FIRST press confrence he makes an incorrect and tasteless comment about Nancy Regan. (Which he has since appologized for.)Take note Mr. Obama...the one who 'channeled' a former first lady was actually Hillary Clinton!! Nancy Regan consulted an astrologist. (A little less weird than 'channeling').First press confrence...already having to appologize! BRAVO!!

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Tom Shewmon 5 years, 5 months ago

As always, LJW lags at least a day to run wires, mostly from AP. They edited the line about Emanuel mailing a dead fish to an opponent once. Should be a nice bunch in the whitehouse, probably will top the thugginess of the Clinton(s). You'd think thugs would be tough on enemies, but I guess just tough on Americans.

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Liberty_One 5 years, 5 months ago

Obama voted along party lines 95% of the time, and with Harry Reid 97% of the time. Anyone who did their homework knew who he really was--no excuses for those who made an uninformed vote.

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mom_of_three 5 years, 5 months ago

So people are naive, because we fell for Obama's rhetoric and not McCain's rhetoric. I agree with madmike....the rest of his cabinet will be telling.

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madmike 5 years, 5 months ago

Even though his choice of White House chief of staff in known for being very partisan, Obama needs a hard ass to run the day to day operations of the White House. Who he chooses for the rest of his cabinet positions, will identify his stance as President.

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Satirical 5 years, 5 months ago

Is anyone surprised that Obama is picking partisans to advise him and head his new administration. It is hillarious that so many naive voters fell for the Obama rhetoric.

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