Team Obama Slowly Taking Shape

President-elect putting together transition team, White House staff

By Scott Ross
|  Wednesday, Nov 5, 2008  |  Updated 2:40 PM PDT
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The White House in 2009

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Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel has accepted an offer to be Barack Obama's chief of staff.

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A day after clinching an historic victory, President-elect Barack Obama has begun putting together the team that will help his move into the White House.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a fellow Illinois Democrat, has accepted a request to serve as Obama's chief of staff. The decision as to whether or not to join the Obama administration had left Emanuel "agonized," reported NBC.

Additionally, a written statement is reportedly being prepared that will announce that Obama's transition team team will be headed by John Podesta, ex Clinton chief of staff; Pete Rouse, Obama's chief of staff in the Senate; and Valerie Jarrett, a friend of the president-elect and campaign adviser.

Campaign workers at Obama headquarters in Chicago were told not to show up until noon, according to the New York Times. Rather than relaxing or basking in their victory, many will instead spend the day jockeying for positions on the next White House staff.

Dan Pfeiffer, the Obama campaign’s communications director, will hold the same job on the transition team, with senior Obama adviser Stephanie Cutter serving as spokeswoman for the transition, say Democrats close to the process.

In an effort to ease the transition, the Bush administration has set up an office for Obama’s team in downtown Washington and the FBI has already begun conducting background checks on a list of names provided by the Obama campaign so they could get interim security clearances.

Though he has 10 weeks to rally his troops, Obama's transition is made more complicated by his current position as a senator. He's the first incumbent senator to be elected president since John F. Kennedy in 1960.

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