Obama Unveils His Transition Team

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

CHICAGO - President-elect Barack Obama today announced that his presidential transition team will be led by John Podesta, who served as chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, campaign advisor Valerie Jarrett, and Pete Rouse, who has been Obama's chief of staff in the Senate.

Though informal transition planning has been going on for months, the creation of the Obama-Biden Transition Project gives Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden a formal structure through which to undertake the tasks necessary in transferring power, chief among them helping to select Cabinet members and White House staffers in the new administration.

There have been reports that one decision has already been made: Some news organizations reported Wednesday that Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel was offered the position of White House chief of staff. But the Obama camp has indicated that Obama has not formally offered Emanuel the position, and aides to the Democratic Caucus Chair, the fourth-highest ranking Democrat in the House, told CBS News that the reports are wrong.

Not since Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the 1932 election has a president-elect faced so many problems both at home and abroad. Obama has just 76 days until his inauguration.

Ken Duberstein, former chief of staff under Ronald Reagan, told CBS News senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante, "You gotta hit the ground running. You have to be going a hundred miles an hour from day one."

Obama has told aides that he wants to take his time and choose his cabinet carefully. He presently aims to announce his choices after Thanksgiving, CBS News has learned, and does not want to rush the process - or appear to be doing so.

On Thursday, Obama will begin receiving highly-classified daily briefings from top U.S. intelligence officials. He will receive information, mostly written by the Central Intelligence Agency, to which he never before had access, even as a senator.

Biden will also begin to get his own briefings beginning this week.


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