Obama transition team boss John Podesta threw open the curtains of his operation today to reporters, signaling that the president-elect wants to move quickly, but not hastily, to set up his government. In a pen and pad meeting with reporters—that means no cameras—Podesta, tieless, was at ease and confident as he proposed ethics rules governing the transition, promised top cabinet picks by December, and gabbed at length about the friendly and professional relationship he has with the Bush chief of staff, Josh Bolten. He made little news at the packed briefing but pledged that news was coming as he promised to conduct the most transparent transition in history. What we know: He has a budget of $12 million, $5.2 million in federal money with the rest from donors. Some 450 aides will be picking through résumés and policies as they create the government for the 44th president.
President-elect Barack Obama will name top cabinet picks in Chicago, while key White House officials could be named at Washington press conferences.
Security at transition HQ is tight, as evidenced by the long line for reporters in the picture below. But to its credit, the able and efficient Obama press team gave fair warning, and everybody got in before Podesta arrived.
Now the above transition flowchart. It is making the rounds in Washington tonight, though our source would not reveal the actual source of the document. It lists suggestions for top cabinet posts, many of which have been rumored for days inside and outside the new administration. Of note: Al Gore might be under consideration for a "climate czar" position; Colin Powell could be education secretary; Howard Dean might get health and human services; Robert F. Kennedy Jr. might be the head of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Caroline Kennedy could be the ambassador to the United Nations. It's just an unofficial guide but a fun one to follow.