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The President’s A-Team Barack Obama adds more members to his team

By Nellie Gonzalez Cutler

President-elect Barack Obama won’t officially take office until January 20, 2009. But he is already moving quickly to select the top advisers who will help him govern the nation. On Monday, Obama named his national security team. For the important post of Secretary of State, Obama nominated his one-time rival, New York senator Hillary Clinton. The current Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, will remain on the job. Rounding out the team are: Eric Holder as Attorney General, Arizona governor Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security Secretary, Susan Rice as ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) and retired Marine general James L. Jones as National Security Advisor. Clinton, Holder, Napolitano and Rice must be confirmed by the Senate.


PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS—APBarack Obama announces his national security team. Standing behind Obama (left to right): Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, Robert Gates, Vice-President elect Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, James Jones and Susan Rice.

“These men and women share (my views) on the use of power and my sense of purpose about America’s role as a leader in the world,” said Obama.

Filling the Cabinet

The President-elect has now chosen half of his Cabinet. The Cabinet is made up of the Vice President, the White House Chief of Staff, and the heads of each of the 15 executive departments: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs. On Monday, Obama said he would make the ambassador to the U.N. a Cabinet-level post.

Although their selections have not been formally announced, Tom Daschle is slated to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services and Bill Richardson will be Commerce Secretary. Daschle is a former senator from South Dakota. Richardson is the governor of New Mexico.

On November 23, Obama unveiled his economic team. He picked Timothy Geithner to be Treasury Secretary and Lawrence Summers to run the National Economic Council. They will help the President steer the nation’s economic policy during difficult times.

The unemployment rate for October was 6.5%. That is the highest it has been in 14 years. The number of Americans without jobs is expected to rise even higher next year. The new financial team will decide how to spend $350 billion of a $700 billion government rescue package. Some of the funds have already been used to help banks.

A New Mission

Obama’s security team will advise him in his role as the nation’s commander-in-chief. The U.S. military is fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Monday, Obama said he would give the military a new mission as soon as he takes office: “responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control.”

Jones, Gates and Clinton bring years of experience to their jobs. Jones retired from the Marine Corps last year after more than 40 years of service. Gates has served for nearly two years as Defense Secretary. Clinton has been in the senate for eight years and is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Leaving the senate is very difficult for me,” Clinton said on Monday. But she promised that in her new role she would join with President Obama to “reach out to the world again, seeking common cause and higher ground.”

(Source: Time for kids)

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