8 a.m. ET: Last week, we wondered whether Barack Obama might have been a bit careless in making his Cabinet selections. And that was before yesterday, when Tim Geithner and Hillary Clinton both faced tough questions about past or potential future mistakes. So for all the big names and lengthy resumes that will populate his Cabinet and senior staff, did Obama make the right choices? Is his team unusually problematic, or are these issues just the typical byproduct that would result from putting any large group of Washington veterans through the wringer? Consider:
• Geithner has tax and nanny problems
• Clinton has potential "Bill problems" (anyone surprised?)
• Eric Holder has pardon problems
• Ray LaHood may have earmark problems (though likely not serious ones)
• Carol Browner has "Socialist" problems (what decade is this?)
At this point, some perspective is in order. So far, Richardson is the only nominee who had to withdraw. Clinton will be just fine, and Holder likely will be too. Emanuel's not going anywhere, nor is Browner, unless pictures emerge of her meeting with the Politburo. (If you've got those pictures, send them to The Rundown.) Tom Daschle practically made out with his Senate questioners.
So it's tough to conclude, really, that Obama and his team have been particularly sloppy. Richardson was clearly a mistake, and Geithner may turn out to be one, though it's far too early to make that judgement. (Still, a note to future architects of tax policy: Pay your taxes!) It may just be that Obama's Cabinet hiccups appear more glaring because coverage of his transition has otherwise been so generally welcoming and hopeful; bumps that have become more noticeable on a mostly smooth road.
January 14, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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