"For nearly three-quarters of an hour, Podesta regaled his adoring fans with endless variations of his theme song: 'When we have something to say about it, we'll let you know,' " Dana Milbank writes in his Washington Post column. "Please tell us, o great Podesta, whether President Obama will have an auto-industry czar. 'When we have an announcement about that, we'll raise it.' And what about Obama's Cabinet announcements, great Podesta? 'We'll make announcements when we're ready to make them.' The White House staff, pray tell? 'Those will come out as they're ready to be announced.' "
Speaking of promises: "President-elect Barack Obama, who vowed during his campaign that lobbyists 'won't find a job in my White House,' said through a spokesman yesterday that he would allow lobbyists on his transition team as long as they work on issues unrelated to their earlier jobs," Michael Kranish reports in The Boston Globe. "Independent analysts said yesterday that the move is less than the wholesale removal of lobbyists that he suggested during the campaign -- and shows how difficult it will be to lessen the pervasive influence of more than 40,000 registered lobbyists."
ABC's Jake Tapper tracks the shifting rhetoric: "They Won't Work in My White House . . . They Won't Run My White House . . . They Won't Work on My Transition On Matters Related to their Field of Expertise for the Past 12 Months."
"Further, the rules apply to lobbyists who must register with the federal government; many people who work for lobbying firms or in other areas of the influence business in Washington do not have to register, because they do not personally lobby federal officials on specific issues," Helene Cooper and Jeff Zeleny report in The New York Times.
"He will still leave room on his team for the rich and powerful," Bloomberg's Jonathan Salant reports. "Top fundraisers and other well-connected supporters will serve in an advisory capacity before the Democrat takes office on Jan. 20."
Lynn Sweet is skeptical: "Meanwhile, let's see if the Obama team provides more than the legal minimum when it comes to details on how private money is being raised to help bankroll the transition operation," Sweet writes for the Chicago Sun-Times. "And if by chance you thought that Obama's anti-federal lobbyist drive -- a centerpiece of his campaign -- would mean that federal lobbyists would not work in his transition or White House, then you have not been listening to Obama's carefully worded campaign promises on the subject."
Meet the realists: "It's starting to look as though Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's family empire is living on, even though she lost the Democratic primary," Janet Hook and Peter Nicholas write in the Los Angeles Times. "The high visibility of old hands and familiar faces underscores a tension that is already running through Team Obama: The president-elect has promised to overthrow Washington's habits of partisanship and cronyism. But it's tempting to turn to seasoned veterans to help him avoid the kinds of rookie mistakes that hobbled Clinton and President Carter."