Barrack Obama team (as per   Leave a comment

Since winning the US presidential election, Barack Obama has been assembling a team to help him govern.

Cabinet appointments remain subject to vetting and Senate confirmation.

Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton

Defence Secretary: Robert Gates

Treasury Secretary: Timothy Geithner

Health Secretary: Tom Daschle

Attorney General (Justice Secretary): Eric Holder

Homeland Security Secretary: Janet Napolitano

UN ambassador: Susan Rice

Energy Secretary: Steven Chu

EPA Administrator (Environment Secretary): Lisa Jackson

Housing Secretary: Shaun Donovan

Education Secretary: Arne Duncan

Interior Secretary: Ken Salazar

Agriculture Secretary: Tom Vilsack

CIA Director: Leon Panetta


Mrs Clinton, first lady from 1993 to 2001, lost a close race against Mr Obama for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

She will now have to step down as senator for New York.

Mrs Clinton will be able to hit the ground running, given her wide experience and international contacts.

Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton clashed on some foreign policy issues during the primary campaign, and with incoming Vice-President Joseph Biden also well-versed in foreign policy, there is scope for friction within the Obama team.

Mr Obama has also decided to give his ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, a seat in the cabinet.

Full profile: Hillary Rodham Clinton


US Defence Secretary Robert Gates will remain in charge of the Pentagon when Barack Obama takes office, at least for the first year of his administration.

Robert Gates, 65, is a former director of the CIA and was appointed Defence Secretary by President Bush in 2006. He has promoted the military surge in Iraq that has been credited with stemming violence there.

Mr Obama opposed the surge but both men are agreed on a greater focus on Afghanistan.

Mr Gates is seen as a moderate and is widely respected among both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

His appointment would also fulfil Mr Obama’s pledge to include a Republican in his Cabinet.

Full profile: Robert Gates


The 47-year-old head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Timothy Geithner, was instrumental in shaping the US government’s response to the banking crisis.

He played a pivotal role in the intense negotiations which took place before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, and also helped forge the deals involving AIG and JP Morgan.

He regularly speaks about the need for major reforms in the financial system in order to avoid further turbulence.

Before joining the Federal Reserve of New York, Timothy Geithner worked for the International Monetary Fund.

He was also the Treasury’s under-secretary for international affairs from 1999 to 2001.

Full profile: Timothy Geithner


Mr Daschle was the Democrats’ Senate Majority Leader from 2001 until 2003.

As head of the health and human services department, Mr Daschle will oversee Mr Obama’s proposed reforms to the US healthcare system, which is likely to be one of the top domestic priorities of the new administration.

Mr Obama will be hoping Mr Daschle’s long legislative experience will help steer reforms through Congress.

Mr Daschle served as a senator for South Dakota from 1987 to 2005, and was an early backer of Mr Obama’s run for the presidency.


Eric Holder occupied the number two position in the Justice Department in Bill Clinton’s administration.

He was a senior legal adviser to Mr Obama’s campaign team and co-chaired the vice-presidential selection committee.

If confirmed, he would lead the administration’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, a move Mr Obama has singled out as a priority.

Mr Holder, 57, would be the first African-American to occupy the position of attorney general.

One issue that may surface during confirmation hearings is Mr Holder’s controversial advice on pardons to President Clinton in 2000, on the last day of his administration.

Mr Holder told the outgoing president that he was “neutral, leaning towards favourable” about pardoning fugitive financier Marc Rich.


Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano has been picked for the post of secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

This post was created in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks.

As a governor of a state bordering Mexico, Gov Napolitano has wide experience on immigration issues.

She served as US attorney for Arizona and was also state attorney general.

Full profile: Janet Napolitano


Barack Obama’s UN ambassador, Susan Rice, will hold cabinet rank, in a sign of Mr Obama’s plan to work more closely with UN member states than the administration of George W Bush has over the last eight years.

Ms Rice worked in the Clinton administration from 1997 to 2001 but backed Mr Obama for the Democratic nomination because of his opposition to the Iraq war.

She is also an advocate of tough action to end the killing in Darfur.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April 2007, she supported the idea of military action to force the Sudanese government to halt the massacres.

Full profile: Susan Rice


Barack Obama has picked leading scientist Dr Steven Chu as his energy secretary.

Dr Chu is the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which pioneers work to find scientific solutions to global warming.

In 1997, he shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for his research into supercooled atoms.

As energy secretary, he will have responsibility for maintaining America’s stockpile of nuclear arms, and for modernising its electrical supply grid.

He will also be able to direct efforts to find alternative energy sources.

Full profile: Steven Chu


Lisa Jackson will head the Environmental Protection Agency under Mr Obama.

She worked for the EPA under Bill Clinton in the 1990s, before moving to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, first as an officer and then, in 2006, as its head.

She was recently picked by New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine to be his Chief of Staff.

She would be the first African-American EPA administrator.


Mr Obama used his weekly radio address on 13 December to announce he had chosen Shaun Donovan as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – the department that helps provide affordable housing to Americans.

Mr Donovan, a Harvard-educated architect, is currently New York City Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development.

In that role – which he has held since 2004 – Mr Donovan has managed a $7.5bn plan designed to put a half-million New Yorkers in affordable housing by 2013.

During the Clinton administration, Mr Donovan was deputy assistant secretary for multi-family housing at the department he is now to head.


Arne Duncan has been in charge of Chicago’s public schools system since 2001, so Barack Obama – as a senator from Illinois – has had plenty of opportunities to study his work close up.

The Windy City’s schools have improved on his watch, with SAT results improving, and a number of failing schools closed or overhauled.

He is well-liked by teachers, despite his embrace of some of the education reforms that teachers’ unions oppose.

Mr Obama hinted at support for some of these reforms – like merit pay and charter schools – on the campaign trail, and Mr Duncan’s popularity within the education community may be an asset if the incoming president wants to change America’s schools.


Interior Secretaries – with their responsibility for overseeing the lease of drilling rights to energy companies – often hail from the mineral-rich Mountain West, and Mr Obama’s first pick for the job is no exception.

Ken Salazar has been a Colorado senator since 2004, before which he served as the state’s Attorney General.

Environmentalists have raised eyebrows at some of his ties to oil and farming lobbyists, but Mr Salazar voted against oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

He is Mr Obama’s second Hispanic cabinet pick, after Commerce Secretary Bill Richardson.


Tom Vilsack, as a former governor of the agricultural state of Iowa, is no stranger to farming.

Indeed, some environmentalists have expressed concern that he is too friendly with the farming lobby and therefore unlikely to reform America’s heavily subsidised agricultural sector.

Mr Vilsack will be the fourth of Mr Obama’s former rivals for the Democratic Party’s 2008 preseidential nomination to join his inner circle, after Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson.

Mr Vilsack embarked on a brief presidential run in 2007, but dropped out before the first selection contests. He endorsed Hillary Clinton in the primaries.


Former Clinton White House chief of staff Leon Panetta is set to to head the CIA, according to Democratic officials.

Mr Panetta, 70, has little direct experience in intelligence matters and may face a tough confirmation hearing on that account. But he is regarded as a good manager who knows government operations well.

He was chief of staff from 1994 to 1997, headed the Office of Management and Budget, is a former eight-term member of Congress, and most recently was a member of the Iraq Study Group.

Mr Panetta has publicly criticised the CIA’s harsh interrogation methods, such as waterboarding.

He would report directly to the director of national intelligence. Former Navy Admiral Dennis Blair is Mr Obama’s choice for this post, reports say.

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Posted January 18, 2009 by Rajesh_Gandhi in obama

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