Podesta to Outline New Rules for Lobbyists at Briefing
Updated 12:30 p.m.
By Michael D. Shear
The head of the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama plans to unveil today new rules for the roles that lobbyists will play during the transition and as part of the new administration.
Obama had made a big deal during his campaign of rejecting the influence of lobbyists as part of his pitch for change in Washington. His campaign repeatedly accused Sen. John McCain of surrounding himself with Washington lobbyists.
Now, however, Obama has turned to several old Washington hands, including former Bill Clinton aide John Podesta and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who will be his chief of staff. Those choices have raised some questions about whether Obama will reach out to K Street for help as he builds his administration.
The new rules will be unveiled at a "pen and pad" briefing Podesta will hold with reporters at the campaign's new transition headquarters this afternoon.
This morning in Chicago, Obama will lay a wreath to honor the nation's fallen veterans.
Obama will be accompanied by Tammy Duckworth, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and a veteran of the Iraq war whose service cost her both of her legs.
Duckworth, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2006, is thought to be one of the people Obama could choose to lead the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She is also considered a contender for Obama's soon-to-be-vacated U.S. Senate seat, an appointment that will be made by Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.
The Veterans Day event begins what aides promised will be a relatively quiet week in Chicago, with no major announcements of Cabinet secretaries and no other public events.
His staff, however, is not taking time off. A news release said Podesta, who is on leave from his job as president of the Center for American Progress, will "provide an update on the presidential transition" today. As is customary, the so-called "pen and pad" briefing will not be televised.
Obama flew back to Chicago on Monday afternoon, following his first visit to the Oval Office for a meeting with President Bush and a tour of the White House.
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters on the plane that he expects his boss to stay in Chicago all week but added that Obama will likely take some short trips during the next several weeks. He said that around Christmastime, Obama may go to Hawaii, where he grew up and where his grandmother recently died.
The Obama family has traditionally traveled to Hawaii during the Christmas holiday, usually with friends. During the long Democratic primary battle, Gibbs joked with reporters that the sunny, exotic destination in itself was a reason for the press corps to hope for an eventual Obama victory.
Posted at 12:30 PM ET on Nov 11, 2008
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