Passing the Baton to an Obama or McCain Administration

Some think key advisers should stay to help the new administration get acquainted.

By + More

The last thing a nation at war and with a jumbled economy needs is for a new administration to show up at noon on January 20 and find nobody there to hand over the keys to the Treasury's vault, the nuclear "football," or even the bathrooms. So the feds, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the presidential campaigns are considering a plan to keep on two or three key aides in agencies like the Pentagon, CIA, Treasury, and Homeland Security to pass the baton. "The most dangerous time for this country is the first 150 days in an administration," says Chamber President Thomas Donohue. "If you wanted to do us harm, you could do it." He said a deal could come this month, and it would most likely include top deputies in the agencies. "They ought to stay there until their [replacement] is confirmed, and they ought to be helpful in giving them the keys to the kingdom," says Donohue.