Obama’s economic, foreign policy teams taking shape

November 22nd, 2008 - 5:08 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Nov 22 (DPA) US President-elect Barack Obama has already settled on much of his economic and foreign policy team, including Hillary Clinton for secretary of state and New York Federal Reserve Chairman Timothy Geithner to head the Treasury, US media reported Friday.Obama will unveil his entire economic team, including Geithner, on Monday, broadcaster NBC reported, offering some clarity on who will manage the world’s largest economy in a time of global economic crisis.

US markets surged more than 6 percent late Friday on news of Obama’s choice. Geithner, 47, has worked closely since September with current Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as the government has battled to avert a collapse of the US financial industry.

Geithner has headed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York since 2003 and held various positions in the Treasury since 1988. He also directed policy at the International Monetary Fund shortly before taking the New York Fed job.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has decided to accept the job of secretary of state in Obama’s administration, the New York Times reported Friday on its website.

The president-elect’s transition team said they had no comment on the cabinet speculation.

Clinton, Obama’s one-time rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, had for weeks been rumoured to be the choice for top US diplomat and has been going through an extensive vetting process by the transition team.

That vetting has also included the financial dealings of her husband and former president Bill Clinton, who has been running his own charitable foundation since leaving the White House in 2001.

Clinton reportedly accepted the job after holding additional discussions with Obama about his foreign policy priorities and her role in the administration, the New York Times reported, citing two Clinton confidants.

Obama has also settled on James L Jones as his national security advisor, the top foreign policy post in the White House, CNN reported Friday, citing sources in Obama’s transition team.

Jones, a decorated retired Marine Corps general who commanded US and NATO forces in Europe earlier this decade, is still undergoing a vetting process before being officially offered the position.

Jones was suggested by some as a possible vice-presidential pick as well as for roles in the State Department or energy. He served in the Vietnam War and was awarded several military medals.

NBC also reported that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will likely take the job of secretary of commerce. Richardson, who ran for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination but later endorsed Obama, has been a congressman as well as United Nations ambassador and energy secretary under former president Clinton.

Faced with an economy likely in recession and the first wartime transition of power since Vietnam, Obama has been forced to put his White House and cabinet team in place much quicker than past presidents. He will take over from President George W. Bush on Jan 20.

Obama unveiled his choice of Illinois congressman Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff just days after the Nov 4 election. No cabinet positions have been officially announced, but many names have been leaked to US media organizations over the last few weeks.

As part of his economic unveiling Monday, Obama will also likely name the top three economic advisors to the president, a group known as the White House Council of Economic Advisors.

Others already reported as likely by US media include: Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to head the Homeland Security Department; former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle for health secretary; and Eric Cantor as the first African American attorney general.

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