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Jarrett to HUD? Friends Render a Verdict of Unlikely

Obama-Biden transition team co-chairman Valerie Jarrett speaks during a taping of "Meet the Press" at the NBC studios Nov. 9, 2008, in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press)

By Carol D. Leonnig
Valerie Jarrett may be little known in Washington, but the longtime power in Chicago circles already has an enviable perch in the capital: She's a longtime, trusted confidante to President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, and now co-chairman of Obama's transition team.

Would she give it all up to head the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as some Cabinet watchers are speculating? Her friends and allies reject the idea as poppycock. Sure, she has a lot of expertise in that area, having helped the Chicago Housing Authority manage several developments with her private company, Habitat. But why, her friends ask, would she give up her catbird seat advising Obama on his future team and a range of policies from inside the White House to become a department secretary in a Southwest Washington outpost?

"Never going to happen," said one longtime Clinton official offering guidance to the transition team.

Jarrett didn't return calls seeking comment. Last week, however, she warned reporters to stop speculating, after several Cabinet-contender lists came out listing her as a likely HUD nominee.

By Web Politics Editor  |  November 13, 2008; 12:13 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Cabinet , Cast of Characters  
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no more Clintonistas... !!!!!! I mean what did Clinton do before he came in.... did he hire nothing but old Carter appointees? Anyway.... FRESH BLOOD !!!!

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 13, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I am very concerned about the choices for HUD Secretary that has been mentioned in the news recently. While working for a local government agency I essentially follow HUD regulations to provide programs in the community. These programs range from public services such as after-school activities to the development of affordable housing.

My experience with HUD’s operations has been extremely frustrating because of the disjointed nature of the program implementation process. It is my hope that the Obama administration would select someone that could streamline the process in a way that will allow people like me to concentrate on program implementation rather than filling out paperwork for 10 different departments within HUD.

Ideally, I could select a project in my community and report it to a HUD online project management system that would allow for regulation compliance reporting in a central location. For example, the finance, environmental, davis-bacon, section 3 regulations can all be input into one central database that can track the progress of any project and any department within HUD can make sure that the project is in compliance at every stage of implementation.

Please remember HUD is a $35.2 billion operation and it affects many people and organizations throughout the country.

Posted by: pipkinsdb | November 13, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

heard from a strong source that Judge Nelson A. Diaz, out of Philadelphia, is a candidate for HUD. He was President Clinton's General Counsel for HUD and has been involved with the Brookings Institute, which is getting ready to credit him for the success of several programs. Terrific guy.

Posted by: koufax | November 13, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

what is up with the Star Trek look? Maybe she is a Vulcan......

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 13, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

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