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Clintonistas Return, But Obama Says Vision Is His

By Peter Slevin
CHICAGO -- Barack Obama defended himself this morning against charges that his campaign mantra of "Change We Can Believe In" is being undermined by his decision to fill his administration with familiar faces.

"What we are going to do," the president-elect said during his third news conference in three days, "is combine experience with fresh thinking."

"I expect ... the American people would be troubled," Obama told reporters here, "if I selected a Treasury secretary or a chairman of the National Economic Council at one of the most critical economic times in our history who had no experience in government whatsoever."

Obama made clear that even though he is surrounding himself with strong personalities, he is confident of his own ability to design the offense.

"Understand where the vision for change comes from first and foremost," Obama asserted. "It comes from me. That's my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure that my team is implementing it."

During a week in which he has tried to show that he can handle the most worrisome economic crisis in recent history, he appointed New York Federal Reserve President Timothy F. Geithner as Treasury secretary and former Treasury secretary Lawrence F. Summers to direct economic policy in the White House.

Obama's chief of staff is Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a former top adviser to President Bill Clinton. The 47-year-old former senator from Illinois will keep Robert M. Gates, a Bush appointee, as defense secretary and is widely expected to name Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as his secretary of state next week.

Obama said that serving in the Clinton administration -- the last time Democrats ran the White House -- should not be a bar to running the Treasury department, for example, "because that would mean that the person had no experience in Washington whatsoever."

"We need people," Obama said, "who are going to be able to hit the ground running."

By Web Politics Editor  |  November 26, 2008; 12:16 PM ET
Categories:  Cabinet , Cast of Characters , Economy , Hillary Rodham Clinton  
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Comments

And here's what Jason Sudeikis said as SEN. BIDEN (on Saturday Night Live): "As sure as I'm standing here today, during his first few weeks in office, this brilliant young President, is going to be tested. Tested by an international crisis, the likes of which this nation has never before seen. A deliberately manufactured crisis, designed to test his mettle. Now, in this crisis, he will have to make decisions. Decisions that may at first, to the casual observer, seem ill considered. Our military may invade Pakistan. Or surrender to the Chinese. We may sell Hawaii to Saudi Arabia. Or just destroy it, so it can't fall into North Korean hands. But just reserve your judgment. We know what we're doin'."

COMEDY GOLD!

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Biden (during the campaign): "Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking ... And we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Biden predict that there would be decisions made that supporters would disagree with, but just "trust us"? So it begins.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Obama and his campaign people so boldly and totally TRASHED the Clintons during the primaries. And of course, ALL he talked about was CHANGE!!! As I said earlier in many many postings, he is ALL smoke and mirrors. We now AGAIN have a Clinton White House, and thank god for that!!!! There is NOTHING NEW about this administration. I am laughing! We should have just put Hillary in there in the first place, as she did win the historic POPULAR votes!!!, instead of the DNC changing the rules and strong-arming delegates for Obama. I am laughing! Is this funny or what?! Well, at least with ALL the Clinton people, we can be sure our country will be on the right path. I am also laughing that Obama has the AUDACITY to say that this is HIS VISION....THAT! is way too funny! These Clinton people are the ones that have the VISION.....We're talking PROVEN VISION with experience!!!Obama is politics as usual.

Posted by: librairie | November 27, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Look, the guys said he was going to bring the key players - from both parties - to the table so that we can have the best talent, and the best experience, giving input into the key issues of the day.

The Clintons are willing and able to take seats and add value to the process.

That is a good thing.

Posted by: jrob822 | November 26, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

"Obama made clear that even though he is surrounding himself with strong personalities, he is confident of his own ability to design the offense.

Understand where the vision for change comes from first and foremost," Obama asserted. "It comes from me. That's my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure that my team is implementing it."
------------------

Does no one understand that Barack is the vision maker of his policies for this country? He LEADS, they FOLLOW. Thank god he chooses people with experience!! Do people really want him to pick newbies at a time of crisis, all so they can feel comfortable with their personal definition of "CHANGE"? Not this voter!!

Posted by: kashabear | November 26, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind all the Clintonistas... what scares me is Hillaryland and Rodham Clinton herself. Hear me now... believe me later, HRC is a bull in a glass factory. She is up to her eyeballs in covered-up corruption (Wall Street AND Hedge Funds) and so far from the ideal of Diplomat it defies reason she would even be considered for such a position.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 26, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

>> he is a smart guy. Now, THAT, is a change


You know what they say about Wall Street, they only hire the very best.

Well here's to the very best, eight trillions in bailout notwithstanding.

Posted by: ongdiaoi | November 26, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Change we can believe in! It's Clinton Administration 2.0.

On the other hand one more economic adviser appointment and Obama may have too many cooks in the kitchen.

Posted by: ongdiaoi | November 26, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse


Real change and solutions to huge problems require major compromise and a 'mainstream' approach. This is exactly what Obama is doing and why I voted for him - he is a smart guy. Now, THAT, is a change.

"CHICAGO -- Barack Obama defended himself this morning against charges that his campaign mantra of "Change We Can Believe In" is being undermined by his decision to fill his administration with familiar faces."

Posted by: mike21 | November 26, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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