"He does well in teams," says Jerry Kellman, a longtime Obama friend who worked with him years ago as a community organizer in Chicago. "He creates teams well and gets them working together well." Kellman adds that "it goes a long way toward diminishing any sense of isolation," which afflicts many presidents and other political leaders as they make tough, lonely decisions. At the same time, Obama has "enormous discipline" and believes that when a situation is fluid, it's vital for a president to "make sure he has as much knowledge as possible before he jumps in," Kellman says. This would be in contrast to President Bush's emphasis on his instincts and trusting his "gut" in assessing what to do during difficult times.
Some analysts say the pathway to success isn't all that difficult to figure out, and it has little to do with the people Obama names to his government. The three most important reasons voters gave for supporting Obama in the election were his promises to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, cut taxes for the middle class, and expand healthcare coverage, according to a survey by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg for Democracy Corps. Key Obama advisers say these will be his top priorities as president, perhaps with all three concepts wrapped together in a massive economic "rescue package" that he would submit to Congress during his first 100 days. It may be an arbitrary time frame, but Obama knows that his first months in office will be crucial to his long-term success, and he aims to make the most of them.