No. 44 Names Transition Team


President-elect Obama has announced the leaders of his transition team, and it’s a mix of longtime Senate aides, Obama friends, and top officials at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that has been a major influence on Obama’s policy proposals.

The team will be co-chaired by John Podesta, the center’s president and CEO and a former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton; Pete Rouse, Obama’s Senate chief of staff and previously a top aide to former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle; and Valerie Jarrett, one of the Obamas’ closest friends and president and chief executive officer of the Habitat Co., a real estate development firm. The executive director will be Chris Lu, Obama’s Senate legislative director, while the director of congressional relations will be Phil Schiliro, a former top aide to Rep. Henry Waxman who also served as the Obama campaign’s congressional liaison.

Other top figures include Cassandra Butts, the general counsel, a former top official at the Center for American Progress and a longtime Obama friend; Michael Strautman is, the director of public liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs, who was the chief counsel and deputy chief of staff in Obama’s Senate office; communications director Dan Pfeiffer, who also served in that role on the campaign; Stephanie Cutter, the chief spokesperson, a veteran of John Kerry ‘s 2004 presidential campaign and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy ‘s office. There will also be an advisory board full of prominent figures in Democratic politics, including Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano ; William Daley, Clinton’s former Commerce secretary; Carol Browner, Clinton’s former Environmental Protection Agency administrator; Federico Peña, Clinton’s former Transportation and Energy secretary; and Susan Rice, one of Obama’s top foreign policy advisers during the campaign. Now that House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Illinois colleague, has accepted the job of White House Chief of Staff; that will trigger changes in the House Democratic leadership.

The full list is as follows:

Transition Senior Staff

  • Chris Lu – Executive Director
  • Dan Pfeiffer – Communications Director
  • Stephanie Cutter – Chief Spokesperson
  • Cassandra Butts – General Counsel
  • Jim Messina – Personnel Director
  • Patrick Gaspard – Associate Personnel Director
  • Christine Varney – Personnel Counsel
  • Melody Barnes – Co-Director of Agency Review
  • Lisa Brown – Co-Director of Agency Review
  • Phil Schiliro – Director of Congressional Relations
  • Michael Strautman is – Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Katy Kale – Director of Operations
  • Brad Kiley – Director of Operations

Advisory board

  • Carol Browner
  • William Daley
  • Christopher Edley
  • Michael Froman
  • Julius Genachowski
  • Donald Gips
  • Governor Janet Napolitano
  • Federico Peña
  • Susan Rice
  • Sonal Shah
  • Mark Gitenstein

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