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Obama Adds Brown and Lu to White House Staff

By Michael A. Fletcher
President-elect Barack Obama continued assembling his White House team today, naming Lisa Brown, a former counsel to Vice President Gore, staff secretary and tapping his former Senate legislative director, Christopher P. Lu, to be Cabinet secretary.

Both Brown and Lu are playing pivotal roles in the transition -- Brown as co-chair of the transition's work to review federal agencies, and Lu as executive director. In their White House roles, they will also fill crucial administrative slots. As staff secretary, Brown will serve as the final filter for the crush of documents, from speeches to executive orders, that goes before the president. Lu, meanwhile, will be responsible for ensuring that Obama administration initiatives are coordinated across the federal government.

Besides announcing the appointments of Lu and Brown, Obama made official two other selections that had previously surfaced: David Axelrod, the chief strategist of his presidential campaign, will serve as a senior adviser to Obama, while Gregory B. Craig, a highly regarded litigator who directed President Clinton's impeachment defense, has been appointed White House counsel.

"I am pleased to announce these new additions to our team, and I'll be relying on their broad and diverse experience in the months ahead as we work to strengthen our economy, reform Washington, and meet the great challenges of our time," Obama said in a statement.

Brown is on leave as executive director of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. She served as Gore's counsel from September 1999 through January 2001, and previously for two years as his deputy counsel. Beyond serving as a legal adviser to Gore, she served on the executive board of the President's Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities and worked closely with the vice president's Domestic Policy Office. Previously, she was an attorney adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department. Prior to her government service, the Princeton University and University of Chicago Law School graduate was a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm Shea & Gardner.

"I think Lisa is an incredible person, a very gifted manager and a great lawyer," said David Lyle, deputy director of the American Constitution Society.

Lu has worked for Obama in several jobs over the past four years. In the Senate, he was Obama's legislative director and acting chief of staff, before joining the campaign as a policy adviser. Currently, he manages the day-to-day operations of the transition.

Before joining Obama, the Princeton and Harvard Law School graduate was deputy chief counsel to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).

Posted at 5:49 PM ET on Nov 19, 2008  | Category:  Cast of Characters
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