ABC News’ Rick Klein reports in Thursday’s Note:
Since the most transparent presidential transition in history is translucent at the moment, while the most open process ever is continuing behind doors marked “private,” here’s some of what the president-elect is learning:
1. Being more organized than Bill Clinton and less formal than George W. Bush doesn’t make a successful White House by itself — but may be a good start.
2. A new politics requires old faces — and those Clinton folks really don’t look so bad when it’s time to fill out a Democratic administration. (Even Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton herself may not be so bad to have around . . . )
3. That online army he brings with him doesn’t take orders from the top.
4. Being president-elect can mean acting like a president only when you want — but there are some crises too big to avoid.
5. There are a few campaign promises that may not be so bad to ignore for a very long while.
As the Bidens meet the Cheneys, Hank Paulson meets reality, the GOP meets to ponder a new path, Sarah Palin meets a few more cameras, John McCain meets politics again, and Alaska’s Uncle Ted meets the real fallout of his actions . . .
The various political scenes playing out all over Washington and beyond lack a major player: President-elect Barack Obama.
The no-drama edict/reality of the Obama campaign has morphed seamlessly into the transition, no leaks, no errors.
But can it last? With each new issue, and with each new name, the realities of governing threaten to clash with the rhetoric of campaigning.
Change is so hard to track — with new faces like Rahm Emanuel, John Podesta, Larry Summers, Madeleine Albright, Ron Klain, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, James Steinberg . . . (Think the Netroots are happy about this?)
Your new players (hope you kept your old program): “The Obama transition team yesterday rolled out a new list of officials who will help guide the process, singling out the Treasury, Defense and State departments as its first three areas of focus,” Anne E. Kornblut and Michael Abramowitz write in The Washington Post. “Three policy-oriented Democrats — Melody Barnes, Lisa Brown and Don Gips — will serve as co-chairs of the agency review process, the office of President-elect Barack Obama said.”
The list “sheds light on the types of people his administration will lean on and what institutions may claim clout in the new Washington,” The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler and Jonathan Weisman report. “The group is filled with second-tier veterans of the Clinton administration and workers in the technology and financial sectors. It includes four former lobbyists, three top campaign fund-raisers and two former employees of troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae, with some overlap among them. Four people in the group have ties to the consultant McKinsey & Co. and two have experience leading high-tech start-ups.”
“16 out of 19 of these folks worked in some capacity for the administration of President Clinton, which will no doubt cause some to question just how much ‘change’ can really come of these appointments,” ABC’s Jake Tapper reports. “But on the other hand, one can’t expect Democrats who can be relied upon to help run a government to just pop out fresh from thin air.”
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.”
Continue reading today’s Note by clicking HERE.
ABC News’ Hope Ditto contributed to this report.