How Will Obama Build His Administration?

President-elect looks for Washington experience and established reputations.

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Advisers and associates of President-elect Barack Obama are pushing away concerns the Chicago politician will hire local aides from back home as Bill Clinton did. They anticipate that he will form a government with deep roots in Washington and with names that many people know.

"The difference is that while people like Clinton and Carter were governors and brought their team here, Obama has only Washington experiences, and he'll hire from here," says one adviser.

While it is unclear if that model will work, another insider says it will lessen the possibilities of cronies from back home stumbling once they hit the national stage.

A Bush insider agrees, saying that Obama has indicated that he will bring in established names and experts to top jobs and as cabinet secretaries and that will build confidence in his new administration. "He may be an unknown, but Obama's shown that he likes to rely on the old guard and people with lots of knowledge in their area. I don't think that his appointments will shock us," says the Bush associate.

An Obama adviser, meanwhile, says that the early goal in picking his government will be to reinforce his "calm" approach to the current economic and world crises shown during his presidential campaign.

Key Democratic advisers to Obama say they expect the president-elect to move fast in announcing top staff, cabinet secretaries, and policy changes.

"Obama knows that he has to move quickly to capitalize on the election. And we are ready to help him," says a Senate aide.

Already there are expectations that Obama may name Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois as his chief of staff, Sen. John Kerry or Republican Sen. Richard Lugar as secretary of state, and a key economic official currently involved in fixing the financial crisis as treasury secretary.

Emanuel is favored as top White House boss for two reasons, say Obama associates. First, he is devoted to the new president and was a visible surrogate for the campaign. Second, Emanuel was a close Clinton adviser in the former president's White House and is credited with fixing many of the problems when he served.