David Kirkpatrick

January 5, 2009

Panetta to head CIA

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:55 pm

An interesting choice for a beleaguered agency. Panetta will have his hands full between dealing with the Bush 43 torture aftermath, international terrorism and a somewhat tarnished public brand.

From the link:

President-elect Barack Obama has selected Leon E. Panetta, the former congressman and White House chief of staff, to take over the Central Intelligence Agency, an organization that Mr. Obama criticized during the campaign for using interrogation methods he decried as torture, Democratic officials said Monday.

Mr. Panetta has a reputation in Washington as a competent manager with strong background in budget issues, but has little hands-on intelligence experience. If confirmed by the Senate, he will take control of the agency most directly responsible for hunting senior Al Qaeda leaders around the globe, but one that has been buffeted since the Sept. 11 attacks by leadership changes and morale problems.

Given his background, Mr. Panetta is a somewhat unusual choice to lead the C.I.A., an agency that has been unwelcoming to previous directors perceived as outsiders, such as Stansfield M. Turner and John M. Deutch. But his selection points up the difficulty Mr. Obama had in finding a C.I.A. director with no connection to controversial counterterrorism programs of the Bush era.

January 4, 2009

Richardson withdraws as commerce secretary

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:36 pm

An early blow to Obama’s cabinet. The transition is some rough water between Blago’s antics, the Caroline Kennedy saga and the ongoing recount in Minnesota leaving that seat in a sort of limbo for now.

From the link:

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, one of the country’s most prominent Hispanic politicians and President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to be commerce secretary, on Sunday dropped out of consideration for that post. He attributed his decision to the ongoing investigation of a company that has done business with New Mexico.

Mr. Richardson said that he would continue as governor, and he added, “Let me say unequivocally that I and my administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact.”

His decision came, he said, after he had concluded “that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process.” Mr. Richardson said in a statement, released by the Obama campaign, that the investigation might last weeks or months.

December 19, 2008

Obama names three financial regulators

Getting the entire economic/finance team in place is a must-do for Obama. He’s walking into a mess of  a situation.

From the link:

President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday named three veteran regulators to round out his economic team and vowed to revamp regulatory rules to prevent a repeat of the financial and economic debacles the country is suffering through.

His announcement came as he lays the groundwork for a giant economic stimulus package, possibly $850 billion over two years, aimed at reviving the flagging economy. It would rival drastic government actions taken to fight the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Obama blamed regulators for the financial debacle, saying they “dropped the ball.” Regulators, he said, “have been asleep at the switch.”

American people, watching their investments tank, are frustrated that “there’s not a lot of adult supervision out there,” Obama added.

At a Chicago news conference, Obama named Mary Schapiro to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Daniel Tarullo to fill an empty Federal Reserve seat. All three will need to be confirmed by the Senate next year.

Ron Kirk to be Obama’s trade rep

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:56 am

Congrats to Dallas’ first (and only) black mayor. He did great things for the city and ought to do just as well in DC.

From the link:

Looks like Obama’s cabinet will get a southerner after all, albeit perhaps not the sort some people were looking for.

Obama has chosen Ron Kirk, who was the first black mayor of Dallas, as his trade representative, a senior Democrat tells us, confirming multiple reports today.

The choice of Kirk came after Obama’s first choice, Rep. Xavier Becerra, pulled out. Becerra had cheered some on the left because of his trade record — he confessed he regretted his vote for NAFTA, and subsequently voted against CAFTA, among other things.

As for Kirk, business leaders like his record of supporting free trade, and labor leaders seem wary. But with the stimulus package front and center, trade policy seems unlikely to be a top priority, and labor leaders have already been given a big gift in the form of new labor secretary nominee Hilda Solis.

December 18, 2008

Obama to name John Holdren as his science advisor

Updating this post of mine, Obama is expected to name John Holdren as his science advisor.

From the second link:

Eli Kintisch is reportingat the ScienceInsider blog that John Holdren, who is a Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of Program in Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Havard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government will be tapped as science advisor by President-elect Barack Obama.

In his salad days, Holdren was a paid-up member of The Limits to Growth club. For example, in his 1971 Sierra Club book, Energy: A Crisis in Power, Holdren declared that “it is fair to conclude that under almost any assumptions, the supplies of crude petroleum and natural gas are severely limited. The bulk of energy likely to flow from these sources may have been tapped within the lifetime of many of the present population.” More recently, Holdren has declared that the world is not running out energy and that even “peak oil” is debatable. 

I think it’s easy to divine the direction Obama’s energy policy will take. No surprises, there. He campaigned on the need to explore alternative energy sources immediately.

Mary Schapiro to head Obama’s SEC

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:47 pm

She has quite the job ahead of her.

From the link:

President-elect Barack Obama nominated Mary Schapiro as the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, calling on her to help overhaul the troubled U.S. regulatory system.

Obama said Schapiro, a one-time acting SEC chairman and a political independent, who currently heads the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is “known as a regulator both smart and tough, so much so that she’s been criticized by the very industry outsiders who we need to get tough on.”

Also from the link:

Noting that it’s rare for a president-elect to designate a new SEC chairman before taking office, Obama stressed the need for changes in the financial system. He had harsh words for the current administration’s regulatory oversight during a morning press conference, during which he also announced his nomination of former Treasury undersecretary Gary Gensler to chair the Commodity Futures Commission, and of Georgetown law professor Daniel Tarullo for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board.

November 19, 2008

Daschle tapped for health and human services

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:09 pm

Obama filled the secretary of health and human services post with long-time supporter, and former senator, Tom Daschle. Things are moving and shaking with his transition team.

From the link:

President-elect Barack Obama has decided to nominate former Senator Thomas A. Daschle of South Dakota as secretary of health and human services, and is leaning toward former Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. as attorney general, people close to the transition said Wednesday.

November 18, 2008

News on Obama’s transition from Ambinder

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:08 am

Sounds like things are really moving apace.

From the link:

The Obama transition office dropped more senior staff appointments this morning. The names are interesting in themselves — an ideologically diverse passel of people — but, again, what’s remarkable, at least for a Democrat, is how early Obama is staffing his White House. Most of Bill Clinton’s senior staff weren’t appointed until a least a month later. Read the press release after the jump.