Obama turned to Pete Rouse, a 30-year veteran of Washington D.C; Valerie Jarrett, senior campaign manager and family friend; and John Podesta, former chief of staff to Clinton. Rouse, chief of staff to former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) and the advisers will lead in selecting members of an Obama administration.
Obama’s early selection of White House staffers signal a push for a smooth and well coordinated transition. As he inherits the reign of a nation in turmoil, Obama’s transition advisers will be responsible for vetting candidates most capable of dealing with the national landscape. Rouse is known for his ability to maneuver around Capitol Hill. After Daschle lost his Senate seat in 2004, Obama scooped up Rouse to work on his campaign.
Jarrett, a public fixture in Obama’s campaign, is known for his longstanding outreach to the African American community. Having helped guide Obama though the Chicago political scene, the former lawyer is known as an experienced negotiator. While working in the Clinton administration Podesta served on the National Security Council.
Sen. John Kerry’s name has also been swarming around Washington as a possible pick for secretary of state. According to the Associated Press, the Massachusetts senator has stepped up lobbying efforts for the sport, a claim Kerry’s spokeswoman denies. “It’s not true. It’s ridiculous,” she says. A former presidential contender, the four-term senator spent 19 years on the Foreign Relations Committee.