Barack Obama's first move was strong, tapping Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff. Emanuel is smart, knows where the levers of power are on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and while GOPers might complain that he is a hardened partisan, it will be up to Obama to set his administration's tone and for Emanuel to follow.
There are many Rahm stories floating around D.C.—yes, he really did send a dead fish to a consultant once—and one of my favorites is recounted in my book White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters. Emanuel was one of the key aides that speechwriters would go to when starting a speech for Bill Clinton—they knew that he was powerful enough to make their lives hell if they didn't find out what he thought should be in the talk.
On one occasion, a speechwriter was crafting a speech touting the president's "Millennium Program." Emanuel had one instruction for her: Don't use the word "millennium."