Obama ponders conditions in filling posts

Nov. 10, 2008 at 11:33 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama likely will keep Bush appointees in several critical posts for continuity in his administration's early days, observers said.

Because of the weak U.S. economy and financial crisis, Obama will seek counsel from Ben Bernanke, a Republican and former chairman of U.S. President George Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, who will lead the Federal Reserve for at least the first year of his administration, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Obama will work with U.S. Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose term ends in late 2009 and who, by tradition, could be reappointed for a second term, the Post said. Helping to protect the United States from terrorist attacks will FBI Director Robert Mueller, whose term ends in 2011.

Obama also indicated he is considering asking U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on at least for a while to help ensure a smooth transition.

"It's a challenge," but not crippling, said William A. Galston, a domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton, told the Post.

Obama might be suited to the reconcile his campaign call for change while keeping current administration leaders in key posts, said Galston, now a governance expert at the Brookings Institute.

"This is not someone who feels comfortable (only if) he has constructed his own cocoon around him," Galston explained. "His life has trained him to move through different environments and adjust accordingly."

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