November 22, 2008

Hillary And The Ghost Of Albright
12:00 AM

Some interesting context when envisioning Hillary at State. She is extremely close to her husband's last Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Many reliable accounts ID her as the person who convinced her husband to name Albright to the job in 1997. In 1996 the Times had a very entertaining account of how the two bonded on a  trip to Prague: Under a warm late-afternoon sun, two middle-aged American women in smart pants suits slip out of their Prague hotel and stroll across Old Town Square.

Why The Geithner Pick Is Even Better Than You Think
12:00 AM

A few weeks ago, I wrote a profile of Tim Geithner that explored his relationship with Larry Summers during their eight years together at Treasury in the 1990s. The two men had formed such a productive partnership that I wondered if there were some way of reuniting them under Obama.

November 21, 2008

Sovereign Debt

Less than two months ago, key members of Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s cabinet boasted that the global financial crisis would not affect Argentina. At the Waldorf Astoria in New York on September 25, the president herself reacted bitterly to an American executive who asked about her plans to cope with the looming downturn: “It is you [the US and Europe] who need a Plan B.”   They spoke too soon.

The Barack-roots
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--While the nation's capital obsesses over who will be the next pick for Barack Obama's Cabinet, the president-elect's lieutenants are engaged with what may be a more important long-term issue: What will become of Obama's vast grass-roots network?Electoral campaigns, like circus tents, quickly disappear after the show is over. But Obama is our first community-organizer president, and he sees the way he got elected as being almost as crucial as the fact that he won.

To Do: Somalia
12:00 AM

Somalia, a genuine failed state, ranks alongside Sudan as the world’s most conspicuous candidate for American attention in the early days of Barack Obama’s administration. Last week, capping a series of territorial gains across the country, Islamist insurgents seized the port of Merka, and appeared poised for an offensive against the capital city of Mogadishu 60 miles to the north. Aspiring jihadists, averse to the risks posed in Iraq and Pakistan, are increasingly flocking to Somalia, which is 97 percent Sunni Muslim.

Forgiving And Forgetting?
12:00 AM

I always thought this assessment of her was too harsh, but where are the people who waved around this article a year ago? [D]uring those two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda. Her rivals scoff at the idea that her background gives her any special qualifications for the presidency.

Well Done
12:00 AM

Let’s assume that it’s true: Hillary Clinton at State, Timothy Geithner at Treasury and  Bill Richardson at Commerce.

Getting To Know Patrick Gaspard
12:00 AM

NAME: Patrick Gaspard AGE: 41 NEW APPOINTMENT: White House political director (the position Rahm Emanuel initially held under Clinton) HOW HE KNOWS OBAMA: Worked as the campaign's political director from June 2008 until the election; now associate personnel director for the transition. OTHER TOP POSITIONS: Until de-registering a few weeks ago, he was lead political operative (lobbyist) at 1199, the SEIU's mid-Atlantic healthcare labor union; also national field director in 2004 for America Coming Together (ACT), a 527 get-out-the-vote group. KNOWN FOR: Organizing successful ground operations f

More White House Staff
12:00 AM

The transition team announced more White House staff today. Patrick Gaspard, the campaign's political director, will serve that same role in the White House's Office of Political Affairs. (It's a controversial post that some have called to eliminate.) Jackie Norris, who was the campaign's Iowa state director, will be chief of staff to Michelle Obama. Cathy Russell, a long-time friend and adviser to the Bidens whose appointment had already leaked, will be Jill Biden's chief of staff. Cynthia Hogan, a legal adviser to Joe Biden's Senate office, will be the vice-president's counsel.

Who Is Jim Jones?

With many, including us, focused on the likelihood of Barack Obama naming James Steinberg as his national security adviser, word comes today that the job may go to Marine General James L. Jones, who retired last year after serving as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and Commander of U.S. European Command. If true, like a Steinberg appointment, it would reinforce the impression that Obama is surrounding himself with powerful advisers known for their pragmatism. Jones has been less bipartisan than nonpartisan, hewing to the traditional idea of an apolitical military.