Get used to it, says ABC's Sam Donaldson: "Successful presidents surround themselves with experienced people. That doesn't always work out – consider the outgoing Bush administration -- but when they don't do that, it almost never works out -- consider the Carter administration."
Setting the tone: "The transition provides an early glimpse of how the Obama team will conduct itself in power -- and a test of how much change it really will bring to Washington," Time's Karen Tumulty writes. "As the cascade of crises grows -- the collapse of General Motors being the latest -- the President-elect won't have time to settle in before making big decisions. In a real sense, the moves Obama makes in the next six weeks may help define what kind of President he will be."
Key insight: "The greatest challenge of all for President Obama will be the one set for him by candidate Obama," Tumulty writes.
Make room for Republicans, too -- real Republicans, not a few token choices. Newsweek's Richard Wolffe: "While reporters were focused on lobbyist rules and speculation about new cabinet names, Podesta dropped this nugget about the president-elect's intentions during the first transition briefing. 'There's sort of been a tradition of having at least one person from the other party at the beginning of an administration in the cabinet. His commitment is to deepen that and to look even just beyond the cabinet, to try to bring people who agree with the direction that he wants to take the country and, regardless of party, to serve in the government.' "
Want to join the fun? "A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive -- some say invasive -- application ever," The New York Times' Jackie Calmes. "The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants' spouses and grown children as well, that are forcing job-seekers to rummage from basements to attics, in shoe boxes, diaries and computer archives to document both their achievements and missteps."
(Even Facebook pages -- one world where it's not good to have too many friends.)
As for how to find those jobs -- some great details from the Plum Book: "The 209-page paperback, officially titled 'The United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions,' is exciting reading for people coveting jobs in the incoming Obama administration," Lyndsey Layton and Lois Romano write in The Washington Post.
"The Marine Mammal Commission has three openings, each paying $100,000 a year. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation will need a new executive secretary who will earn $139,600 to $191,300 a year. And at the Department of Health and Human Services, there's an opening for a confidential assistant to the deputy director of child support enforcement in the Administration for Children and Families (whew), for an annual salary of $48,148 to $62,593, depending on experience," they write.
They don't list David Axelrod's new job -- but is he sure he wants it? "If David Axelrod decides to join the Obama White House, he'll have to do more than move to Washington. He'll also have to take an enormous pay cut and possibly reveal the extent of his lucrative corporate public relations work," Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel reports.