November 6th, 2008
09:21 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Obama's Inner Circle

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/06/emanuel.reaction/art.emanuel.gi.jpg caption="There's mixed emotion to Rahm Emanuel's appointment from Republican and Democratic leaders."]Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

If you were going to be President of the United States who would you want in your inner circle?

There's no "if" for President-elect Barack Obama. It's a done deal. And, he's already making some crucial decisions.

Obama has picked Rahm Emanuel, a top House Democrat, to be his White House chief of staff. He's a close friend. They are both from Chicago. But the Illinois congressman is no stranger to the White House. He's a former top aide to Bill Clinton.

"No one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel," Obama said today in a statement.

Emanual also released a statement.

"I'm leaving a job I love to join your White House for one simple reason - I want to do everything I can
to help deliver the change America needs," he said.

Though, some Washington insiders are questioning Obama's pick. It boils down to his temperament. Emanual is not low-key like his future boss. He's known for being partisan and outspoken.

"This is an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center," Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a written statement.

Obama is expected to hold his first news conference tomorrow as President-elect, where he may announce other key appointments.

And, on Monday, Obama and his wife, Michelle, will visit the White House. According to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, Pres. Bush and Obama will meet in the Oval office, while Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama will tour the private residence.

It's a busy week for Mr. Obama, and we're tracking all the developments.

Tonight on AC360°, find out what Washington power players are seeking jobs in the Obama administration. And, do you agree with the GOP outrage over Obama's picks?

Join us at 10pm ET.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Ian

    I was all for President elect Obama until I heard that he asked Robert Rubin to be part of his financial advisory circle. The news left me shaking in my boots for Rubin is clueless and is very out of touch with what has caused the crisis in America and around the world.Rubin reminds me of Palin – Holds a high position but is totally out of touch with reality and what is happening around them.

    November 7, 2008 at 8:37 am |
  2. Meredith

    I watched CNN's piece last night covering Obama's potential picks for his cabinet and other top posts. Where are the women? I can only hope that Obama's short list has more gender diversity than did CNN's. A superbly qualified woman was nearly nominated as the democratic presidential nominee. There are indeed other superbly qualified women in this nation. I hope Obama recognizes them.

    November 7, 2008 at 8:11 am |
  3. Susan Maccoy

    President elect Obama shifted the old paradigm in politics. Republicans, i.e. McCain didn’t get it. If you remember, Obama spoke repeatedly. “John McCain doesn’t get it.” Colin Powel got it and mentioned in his endorsement. Now that Obama is selecting is new cabinet he is looking for thinkers that can work outside the box. New paradigms work non-linearly. It will require Obama’s attention to the Washington old think while he invents a new future. As for reporting Obama’s progress, it is best to report from the new paradigm otherwise the news will look like the same old same old.

    November 7, 2008 at 7:56 am |
  4. Nearonamous

    I'd like to see Dennis Kucinich as Secretary of Defence so we know that foreign policy will change

    November 7, 2008 at 5:11 am |
  5. Michael Stewart

    It's like chess, Obama is placing all the right pieces in order. To hire Rahm is such a wise move. America needs someone that's known to get the job done, and that someone is more than one. So "Rahmbo" is known for that, and with him in office alot of people will be walking on eggshells.

    November 7, 2008 at 2:22 am |
  6. equana Collins

    I think any choice that president elect Barack makes will be a good one I justhope he makes this era inmy life time a good one he has the power and potential hs a smart man that why hes the first afro american president

    November 7, 2008 at 2:14 am |
  7. Olu

    It's time to get real; Obama has not even been sworn in; lets allow him a moment of reflection to decide what is best; lets be real; Obama is not a miracle worker; he'll be strategizing and I know he'll succeed; the election is a proof.

    November 7, 2008 at 2:14 am |
  8. equana Collins

    I think any choice that president elect Barack makes will be a good one I justhope he makes this era inmy life time a good one he has the power and potential hs a smart man that why hes the first afro american president

    November 7, 2008 at 2:13 am |
  9. Rick

    President-elect Obama has already begun to show the skill and leadership we need in a new president with his decision to have Rahm Emanuel as his CoS. Of course some in the GOP are going to criticize Obama on his selection, but would do that no matter who he picked because they can't be seen by their base as simply being non-partisan and accepting what is to come. The Obama administration is likely going to be the first administration to reflect a balance of what is neeeded to steer America on the right track to a resurgence in our economy, energy independence, health care for all, and most of all equality and respect for the United States as a global leader in the broader realm of world politics. The GOP is going to bluster and snipe at anyone President-elect Obama picks to be in his administration, simply because they have nothing else to do after the way their own party has fallen apart in the past two years. Since all the GOP have to really focus on is determining what their new identity and style of politics will be going forward, they have no choice but to take advantage of any and all media sound bites they can get to try and maintain the illusion that they are of any genuine importance during the next 10 weeks of the transition of power. The writing is on the wall for the GOP, but it may be harder for them to see it clearly after all the graffiti they sprayed on the wall over the past year.

    November 7, 2008 at 2:07 am |
  10. Winston

    Good move. Shows from day one that Obama knows you campaign in poetry but govern in prose.

    November 7, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  11. J.V.Hodgson

    Already the sniping from Republicans has started on the transitions first appointment. They should take a leaf out of Mccains gracious and realistic concession speech.
    Frankly, the experts on partisanship are the Republicans filibusters, veto's, religion and ideology first.
    They have to get down to reality and admit some of what they did was wrong and caused the greatest economic crisis since the depression.
    And that Military victory is only a part of the solution internationally and diplomatically.
    Is it not possible that civil war in Iraq and an incomplete or ineffective Iraqi government are in part a function of the excessive military presence and dictats politically ( SOFA) from the current US administration.
    The military war was won and over ages ago inside Iraq. The US won that, but not the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq... winning those is the next battle and it does not need soldiers but a " change we need"

    November 7, 2008 at 1:07 am |
  12. sandra

    Give the President Elect a chance. He just won 2 days ago. It took President clinton 5 months to get his staff together. Do not expect a miracle overnight. Bush is still president for another 74 days. Be realistic people.

    November 7, 2008 at 12:07 am |
  13. Stacy

    I was wondering if Bill Bradley could/would join The Team somehow and help US....or even be a Supreme Court appointee?. He seemed to be a kindred soul to Obama...Intelligent, fair, idealistic, and Competent.

    He seems like a great pick for a part of a "Dream Team...

    November 6, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  14. Jackie N

    Whatever..................we here in the real world will get up and go to work again tomorrow, they're in another world.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:46 pm |
  15. Mary Tooley

    Fortunately there is hardly any GOP left to be outraged, so I guess this is a non-issue.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:40 pm |
  16. Geraldine (Geri) Khater

    Mr. Obama has proven himself to be an intelligent and thoughtful man. I trust his judgment to hire the people he needs to be the great President I believe he is going to be. After this last 8 years, the GOP has no room to complain about anything at this time. They had their turn and screwed up just about everything they touched.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  17. Ron

    i hope he can find someone who believes in the second amendment.
    he talked about 8 years of failed policy He now has 2 days of disaster in the stock market to his credit. A lot of retired people who cain't afford to stay retired and he talks about the last administration.
    he's in deep trouble already in the real world. Lets hope there's
    enought Republicans left to keep them in check for 4 terrible years.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:34 pm |
  18. toyin campbell

    my comment is to commend you for a job well done at cnn, expecially on election day,its really a great work you are doing and the hologram am just short of words on that.Regards from nigeria.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  19. john vines Florida

    The republicans lost,why cant they accept defeat.It is President elect Obama's choice.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  20. Monte

    Here we go! Now we are getting the first taste that Obama's administration is going to be like every other one. Partisan politics as usual. How many days before the honeymoon is over?

    November 6, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  21. Kris Clements

    If Obama is really after unity, his first move must be to surround himself with differing views. Without this, we cannot hope to bring in truly new ideas. It is time that someone lead the way through our differences by harnessing the energy of tension into cords that bind us closer and ultimately birth solutions we have not yet imagined.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  22. Robert Laframboise, Montreal, Canada

    As a outsider, I follow American politics very closely, for it has always raised my curiosity as to how your system works compared to ours.
    I was happy to see President-elect naming his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. As far as pleasing everybody of his choice, that is impossible to do. But I understand that he would choose someone with whom he can have a great open relationship with in sharing and implementing the same ideas. President-elect is going about doing his job even though he is not even President yet, but I must ask you and your colleagues to give the man a chance to come out of the gate, stop your speculations of everything, don't you think the people couldn't make up their own minds as to who to vote for. Give your viewers the benefit of the doubt that they are no all so incapable of choosing their own President. I think the people spoke up very clearly last Tuesday, after having an administration that pratically destroyed their lives, economically and destroyed families by the high number of deaths caused by an unnecessary war in Irak. Thank God, the people have chosen, now give him the time to undo what took 8 years to destroy.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  23. pamela b

    I am hoping that Mr Obama picks Mr John Kerry for a position in his administration.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  24. Kartik Nath

    Rahm Emanuel was a good choice by Obama. Emanuel is experienced, he has been in the white house.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  25. zspace

    I am absolutely thrilled and elated at the election of our new 44th President Obama. I am a little puzzled at his selection of Rahm Emmanuel as I have read that he has been a supporter of the Iraq war. Perhaps his qualifications may fit the tasks at hand, but aren't his views on the war a conflict to ending the war in Iraq.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  26. Jerry From Texas

    I think if Obama picks John Kerry to be a member of his cabinet then I withdraw all my support from him completely. I personally think he needs to altogether drop his support for Kerry. I do think however that Robert Kennedy Jr would be a brilliant choice for a cabinet member.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  27. Jsteve

    I would like to see Bobby Jindal considered for a position in the Obama administration, do you think Obama would consider this republican?

    November 6, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  28. jim

    I cannot believe he picked our govenor gramholm for economic advisor she destroyed michigan now she will destroy the usa

    November 6, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  29. Wale Idris

    Think of John S Reed as chance to fix the treasury. The only reliable and trustworthy banker in our lifetime. Yes The Obama crew should consider mr. Reed for the treasury post. I would! Yes he can!.

    Note, I have no affiliation with mr Reed other than a similar admiration as I had for Barack.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  30. Maria

    I think we MUST trust his judgement on whom he feels he can successfully work to make the neccessary changes this country needs.

    November 6, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  31. Andy

    I think President-elected Obama made the right decision as Emanual will be a good pick as he had experienced in both White House and Capital Hill, he's well-known partisan but will compromise in certain degrees in order to path forward.

    I'm see changing already but, we still need GOP support to help to united out country and re-gain our world supremacy.

    November 6, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  32. Beverly

    It’s only been two days, give Mr. President elect a chance. I can speak for myself as a confident American citizen, he will do the right thing for this country to get back on track. As a single woman no kids worked my whole life, I know you need 100% qualified people that knows Washington and can get this economy back on track. These I call the 5 star generals, later on he can call on the newbie’s to work under his watch.

    November 6, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  33. chuck

    with all of the impressive names being bandied about, surely someone has thought to add David Gergen's name to the list (at the very least as a part-time advisor) to President Barack Obama?

    November 6, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  34. Sharon

    When will we hear a female name as a possible member of this administration? Since we are a major reason for the success of the Obama election, why are we still ignored when power comes into play?
    I voted for O, but I still miss Hillary.

    November 6, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  35. Ben

    Barack Obama has to find people that he can govern with, and help the country get back on its feet, it doesn't matter who he picks just as long as he can get the work done for the people that voted for him.

    November 6, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  36. sally stark

    I hope President-elect Obama is careful to surround himself with the brightest and best for the various jobs, no matter black/white, male/female, Dem/Rep. I do not want any hint of cronyism or good "ole boy" appointees. Let's have change not for the sake of change but for the better for all.

    November 6, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  37. Annie Kate

    Emanuel sounds like a good chief of staff – knowledgeable and tough. Obama's most impressive quality is his judgment so I think he will pick good people and surround himself with a lot of experience and intelligence to help him do his job. I'm looking forward to seeing who all he picks especially for environmental and energy issues.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 6, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  38. xtina, chicago IL

    Rahm Emanuel is extremely partisan (when Obama promised not to be partisan). Obama promised to include conservatives in his Cabinet and staff, so we'll see about that. But there's a silver lining in todays' announcement because Rahm Emanuel is a friend to Israel, unlike most in Congress.

    November 6, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  39. John Galt

    smart choice. in times of crisis, things need to get done and who better to do that than a hard nosed whip. of course the republicans won't like it because they are still bitter and the wounds are still bitter. but if they continue to punch cheap shots, they will suffer for it in the next election because they are not the ones that matter right now...it is the american people and this country.....not the republicans if i were them, i would just shut up and wait till obama finishes his picks. he is not doing this to spite them, but doing this to GET THINGS DONE FASTER for teh good of the nation.

    November 6, 2008 at 9:48 pm |