"You've gone through a lot of legislative achievement in the first term, and execution is everything in a second term," John Podesta, chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Monday. "So he has a clear strategy. ... And what he needs are people who can execute that strategy."
Ken Duberstein, chief of staff in President Ronald Reagan's second term, said Obama might want to look for ways to compromise with Congress.
"He has to do it if he is to accomplish his broad agenda," he said. "You can't just do it by sticking your finger in people's eyes."
Among other personnel changes, Obama wants to move his chief of staff, Jack Lew to Treasury secretary, although some Republicans who worked with Lew during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis said he spent time trying to persuade Republicans their position was wrong.
Obama nominated as his Defense secretary former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., whom critics describe as someone who broke party ranks and endorsed Obama in the 2008 presidential race. Hagel is scheduled to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday for his confirmation hearing.
In an interview on ABC's "This Week," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was asked if Hagel had addressed his concerns when the two met privately last week.
"Not really," McCain said.