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Eye Opener: Nov. 20, 2008

By Ed O'Keefe

Good morning! The Obama transition teams has sprung several leaks of late, unofficially revealing the names of top cabinet picks. The Eye's friend and occasional travel companion The Fix explores the Obama culture of leaks in a new post this morning.

In other news...

Eye Opener

Cabinet Making: Former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle appears likely to be nominated as secretary of Health and Human Services while Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will be Obama's pick for secretary of Homeland Security. She "was the first governor to call for National Guard troops to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, and in 2006 she became the first female governor to chair the National Governors Association," reports The Post's Spencer S. Hsu. "She first came to national prominence in 1991 when she served as a lawyer for Anita Hill in her sexual harassment case against then-nominee and later Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas." As for Daschle, he "will take over a $707.7 billion department with nearly 65,000 employees spread across 11 operating divisions. As HHS secretary, he would be under pressure to revitalize the Food and Drug Administration, bring financial stability to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and move away from what many researchers have complained is the ideologically driven scientific agenda of the Bush administration," notes The Post's Ceci Connolly.

Head of Hiring: Politico profiles Jim Messina, the Obama team's director of personnel. "As the princes of personnel in Obama’s kingdom, Messina and his deputy, Patrick Gaspard, 41, face a flood of applications from hopefuls seeking White House jobs. It won’t be easy to get your résumé pulled to the top of the pile, but friends and colleagues of the gatekeepers have some ideas on how to try," reports Andie Coller. "Job seekers who don’t know Little Bighorn from Little Bo Peep might want to seize on Messina’s passion for running... ... "If running’s not your thing, you might express a fondness for dogs... A good one-liner might also help, but it had better be funny: Those who have worked with Messina say he’s quick-witted, stingingly smart, and suffers neither traitors nor fools."

Holder? Hold it!: "Republican congressional aides said no information had emerged that would disqualify [Eric] Holder, a former D.C. Superior Court judge and U.S. attorney in the District, from serving as the nation's top law enforcement officer. But Capitol Hill aides from both sides of the aisle nonetheless hauled out seven-year-old hearing records to refresh their memories about Holder's inability to prevent a presidential pardon for fugitive Marc Rich on the final day of the Clinton administration," reports The Post's Carrie Johnson. "On its own, the pardon issue is unlikely to derail Holder's bid for the post, if he is, as expected, formally nominated to become the first black attorney general, four congressional sources representing both political parties said yesterday."

HUD Needs Renovations: The Post's Carol D. Leonnig describes Housing and Urban Development as "a $35 billion federal housing agency that was a weak backbencher during the housing crisis and moved too late to do much to keep millions of families from going into foreclosure." More: "When Obama's team arrives at HUD, it also will find about 1,900 housing authorities nationwide clamoring for money. In many of the years since 2001, they have been living on 81 to 89 percent of the amount of funding that HUD says they need to operate." Names in the running to head up the agency: Miami Mayor Manuel A. Diaz, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Online Gun Form: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, in an effort to reduce the number of "very minor problems" on the form that gun buyers and dealers fill out,has established an online version of the document, known as Form 4473. "Speaking at a gun shop in Upper Marlboro, Md. where he announced the change, acting ATF Director Michael J. Sullivan said the new option would cut down on illegible answers and incomplete answers -- the most common causes of violations," reports The Post's Henri E. Cauvin.

Events: House Democrats vote today to determine who will head up the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Will it be California's Henry Waxman or will incumbent chairman John Dingell of Michigan stay on? The New York Times reviews the race.

This Day in History: On this date in 1789, New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights. More here.

Send your news tips, comments, suggestions or event notices to federaleye@washingtonpost.com.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 20, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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