facebook
twitter
search
search

Obama's GOP picks seen as strategic plan

June 3, 2009 at 11:47 AM
| License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) -- Choosing Republicans to be in the U.S. leadership fulfills President Obama's campaign pledge and forces the GOP to defend its shrinking turf, analysts say.

Since taking office in January, Obama has tapped GOP moderates to be part of his White House team -- such as naming former Illinois congressman Ray LaHood as transportation secretary, selecting Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman as U.S. ambassador to China and nominating Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., for secretary of the Army.

Those selections, the conversion of Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter from Republican to Democrat and Obama's good relations with two prominent, moderate GOP governors -- California's Arnold Schwarzenegger and Florida's Charlie Crist -- could indicate a strategy of hemming in the GOP in the Deep South while emphasizing Obama's stated goal of bipartisanship, Politico reported Tuesday.

"It's very smart politically on a lot of levels. First, it's a demonstration that he's keeping his promise to govern in a bipartisan way. Second, the fact is, every time you open up a seat in the House or Senate that an incumbent Republican holds, you give your party an opportunity to win one back. And some of those seats may come our way," Democratic strategist Tad Devine told the Washington publication. "It forces Republicans to defend their own territory and spend money on defense."

The National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a memo released after McHugh's nomination Tuesday, "(There) is no doubt that White House chief of staff ... Rahm Emanuel was well aware of the political ramifications surrounding this selection when this plan was hatched."

Former Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, downplayed the idea that politics played a significant role in Obama's appointments, Politico said.

"I view it as a Lincoln-esque political effort to unify," Leach said.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Topics: John McHugh
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Kurds plan to carve state out of Iraq after fighting stops, leaders say
U.S. airstrike kills one of first Islamic State members in Syria
Former Russian oligarch Sergei Pugachyov suing kremlin for $15 billlion
Van hauling fireworks catches fire on I-15 near California-Nevada border
July 4 terror threats an annual but necessary ritual, experts say