Obama Unveils His National Security Team

At a press conference this morning, President-elect Obama is expected to announce his national security team.

From CNN.com:

President-elect Barack Obama will name Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state as he unveils his national security team at an event Monday morning, two officials said.
Sen. Hillary Clinton will be nominated to be Barack Obama's secretary of state, sources say.

Obama also is expected to finally confirm that he is keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his current post, and to name retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones as his national security adviser at the White House, the officials said. [...]

Two sources close to the transition said Obama will nominate Susan Rice as United Nations ambassador; Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary; and Eric Holder as attorney general.

President-elect Obama is speaking now.

Update [2008-12-1 10:59:38 by Todd Beeton]:Obama's introductory remarks are remarkably poetic. "America's values are our country's greatest export to the world."

He's announced his nomination of Hillary Clinton for secretary of state ("I am proud that she will be our next secretary of state...She will help restore our reputation around the world,") Robert Gates at defense ("responsibly ending the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control",) Eric Holder for Attorney General ("The Attorney General serves the American people...I have no doubt he will uphold the constitution,") Janet Napolitano as head of Homeland Security ("she insists on competence and accountability,") Susan Rice as Ambassador to the UN and Jim Jones as National Security Advisor.

"We will shape our times instead of being shaped by them."

He got more than a few not so subtle slams in at the current administration. They will each make a few remarks.

Clinton:

"I am proud to join you in what will be an exciting and difficult new adventure in this new century and may God bless you and all who serve with you and our great country."

Update [2008-12-1 11:8:24 by Todd Beeton]:Ah, Joe Biden has emerged from his undisclosed location and is speaking as well. He just called Barack Obama "Mr. President."

Update [2008-12-1 11:15:46 by Todd Beeton]:This team, VP-elect Joe Biden says, "is poised to recapture the totality of America's strength."

The thrust of all of their remarks seems to be to reinforce the idea that, contrary to media spin and many of these appointees' resumes, these individuals DO represent enormous change from the way their counterparts did their jobs during the past 8 years.

President-elect Obama is now taking questions.

"There's one president at a time."

"We are all committed to eliminating the threat of terrorism."

"We will have to bring the full force of our power, not only military but also diplomatic, economic and political to deal with those threats."

Update [2008-12-1 11:29:35 by Todd Beeton]:"I assembled this team because I'm a strong believer in strong personalities and strong opinions. I think that's how the best decisions are made. One of the dangers in a White House, based on my reading of history, is that you get wrapped up in group think and everyone agrees on everything and there is no discussion and there are no dissenting views. And so I'm going to be welcoming a vigorous debate inside the White House. But understand I'm going to be setting policy as president. I will be responsible for the vision that this team carries out and I expect them to implement that vision once decisions are made."

Update [2008-12-1 11:29:35 by Todd Beeton]:Obama was just asked about the "evolution" of his opinion about Hillary Clinton since the combative relationship they held as rivals during the primary. "I believe that there is no more effective advocate than Hillary Clinton for that well-rounded view of how we advance American interests. She has served on the Armed Services Committee in the Senate...and I think she is going to be an outstanding secretary of state and if I didn't believe that I wouldn't have offered her the job and if she didn't believe that I was equipped to lead this nation at such a difficult time she wouldn't have accepted."

Update [2008-12-1 11:29:35 by Todd Beeton]:"Does Secretary Gates meet the requirement for a Republican in the cabinet or should we be looking for others as well?" Obama: "I didn't check his voter registration." He's apparently an independent. "I have complete confidence in Secretary Gates being able to carry out his tasks. I think the point is here that I didn't go around checking people's political registrations, what I was most concerned with is that they can serve the American people."

As for his choice of Clinton at state, "it was not a lightbulb moment...she shares my core values and the values of the American people. I was always interested after the primary was over in finding ways to collaborate...It occurred to me that she could potentially be an outstanding secretary of state, I offered her the position and she accepted."

On whether he still intends to remove troops from Iraq in 16 months: "Remember what I said during the campaign. I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq within 16 months keeping in mind that it might be necessary to maintain a residual force...As I said consistently, I will listen to the recommendations of my commanders."

Update [2008-12-1 11:33:24 by Todd Beeton]:Joe Scarborough just conceded that "Hillary Clinton understands the military" and expects that her relationship with Robert Gates will be "fairly smooth, fairly positive." Joe, is that you?

Update [2008-12-1 11:40:17 by Todd Beeton]:Chris Matthews made a good point that Obama is placing Susan Rice, as Ambassador to the UN, in a cabinet position so that she is reporting to him, not to the secretary of state.

Update [2008-12-1 11:40:17 by Todd Beeton]:Looks like President-elect Obama's magic touch on the stock market is over. The Dow is down 390 points.

Update [2008-12-1 11:53:22 by Todd Beeton]:Chuck Todd: "By appointing Gates and Jones, Obama has co-opted David Petraeus. He has also co-opted the Clintons...Barack Obama has triangulated in a way that Clinton could only dream of." Ha.

Tags: Hillary Clinton, national security team, president-elect obama, robert gates (all tags)

Comments

31 Comments

Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

Ever since Obama became president elect he speaks with different cadences..different rhythm...more matter of fact... ta ta ta TA ta...ta ta ta TA ta..

by obama4presidente 2008-12-01 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils

Clinton = SOLID

by RichardFlatts 2008-12-01 06:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

So refreshing to have a person who thinks before he speaks as president...

by obama4presidente 2008-12-01 06:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

huh.....    a president who THINKS!!!!!!!!    yes! it's absolutely refreshing. although this should sadly be the STANDARD. At least the US president finally meets the expectations of the office --- well writing in anticipation of Jan 20 at least.

by swissffun 2008-12-01 07:59AM | 0 recs
i like this

""I have complete confidence in Secretary Gates being able to carry out his tasks. I think the point is here that I didn't go around checking people's political registrations, what I was most concerned with is that they can serve the American people.""

Reeks of Gonazales

by sepulvedaj3 2008-12-01 06:35AM | 0 recs
Stop saying Gates is an "independent"

Above is one of several places where liberal bloggers have said that Gates is an "independent," and sometimes specifically said he's not a registered Republican.  But he resides in Washington state when not working as Defense Secretary and Washington has no party registration.  So we're all "independents" here?  There are quite a few Republicans in Washington who have been trying to hide their party affiliation even when running for office by taking advantage of the absence of party registration.  But remember that nobody here registers Republican, independent, or anything else, so please just ignore statements that Gates is an "independent."

by tyva 2008-12-01 06:43AM | 0 recs
Washington?

I thought he was president of Texas A&M before taking over at defense.  Where is this Washington stuff coming from?

Pretty sure Texas has registration...

by HSTruman 2008-12-01 07:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Washington?

No, we don't.

It was fun canvassing people this fall and getting people who say I'm a registered Republican" then me going "no you're not, we're all registered independents, there's no party registration here."

We don't even know what is on our own cards in our wallets.

by Trowaman 2008-12-01 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Washington?

You could be right, but it's been said the other way. The Seattle Times, when Gates was appointed, said Washington is his "permanent residence":

"After his retirement as CIA director for the first Bush administration, he and his wife, Rebecca, and their two children moved in 1994 to a lakefront home on Big Lake, about five miles southeast of Mount Vernon in Skagit County. They lived there until Gates moved to Texas to serve as president of Texas A&M University.

He said in 1994 that he knew Western Washington well because his wife has relatives on the Olympic Peninsula, and the couple had always planned to retire here.

Gates' daughter, Eleanor Gates, 31, lives in Seattle and works for Washington Mutual. His son, Bradley, 26, played football for Sedro-Woolley High School and then went to Washington State University in Pullman, where he recently graduated.

According to a relative, the family still has the Big Lake home and considers it their permanent residence. Robert Gates plans to return to Big Lake at the end of Bush's term, if his nomination is approved."

by tyva 2008-12-01 09:30AM | 0 recs
Stop saying Gates is an "independent"

DC has party registration, and closed primaries. Virginia has no party registration...does he live in DC or Virginia?

by democrattotheend 2008-12-01 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

Good choices for the nation but with the naming of Napolitano to head Homeland Security... Arizona is screwed. We'll now be in the hands of the uber partisan GOP Jan Brewer as Gov. Help!

by SuznAZ 2008-12-01 06:56AM | 0 recs
my biggest concern

is that Gates and Jones have been chosen to give Obama cover for breaking his campaign promises on Iraq:
http://www.bleedingheartland.com/showDia ry.do?diaryId=2237

I think Hillary will do well at State, but if I were advising her I'd have told her to remain in the Senate for life. Over the next couple of decades, she would probably be able to accomplish more there.

by desmoinesdem 2008-12-01 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: my biggest concern

I've read Jones was against the Iraq War and the surge, so I don't see why you think he would advise Obama to stay in there.

by Lolis 2008-12-01 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

Obama has now presented his security team, a racially-mixed, politically-mixed, gender-mixed team that seems to be very comfortable together.

Obama talked about his strategic view:

To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. The team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that.

In their past service and plans for the future, these men and women represent all of those elements of American power, and the very best of the American example. They have served in uniform and as diplomats; they have worked as legislators, law enforcement officials, and executives. They share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America's role as a leader in the world.

That's it, he ties them together.

Now, my hope is that quite soon after January 20th, he will gather this same group together and officially revoke the "Bush Doctrine" of attack before we are attacked. I can see why he didn't do it today...Bush is still in charge. But if we are going to get the world behind us again, the Bush Doctrine has to go.

Under The LobsterScope

by btchakir 2008-12-01 06:59AM | 0 recs
Does anyone else think its funny.....

That before the election, Clinton was THE SCARIEST LIBERAL EVER!!! SHE'S FROM NEW YORK!!! SHE HAS CLINTON AS HER LAST NAME!!! SHES THE MOST LIBERAL DEMOCRAT EVER AND WILL RUIN AMERICA!!!

But now suddenly she's viewed as a somewhat conservative Democrat and picking her actually comforts some Republicans? Uh....?

by werd2406 2008-12-01 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Does anyone else think its funny.....

that was the primary, and we should all remember that for the  next time.  When you're trying to win, you say some things you don't totally mean, in that you twist words and positions and whatever.  As citizens we might keep that in mind, and vote on the issues with way we see them, not on personality or 'character' cause and clearly  that's just politics.  

by anna shane 2008-12-01 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Does anyone else think its funny.....

Of course Obama said none of those things...

by obama4presidente 2008-12-01 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Does anyone else think its funny.....

I think werd is referring to the opinions expressed by many Republicans before the primary season began, when she was considered the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.  For example, the crazy woman at the McCain event who said "we've got to stop the bitch!" or something to that effect.

I don't think she or he was making a slam against Obama supporters behavior in the primaries, it was GOP members before the primaries.

by Obamaphile 2008-12-01 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Does anyone else think its funny.....

You're right, I was talking about the REPUBLICANS. Not Obama supporters. For over a decade, Republicans have been wailing "SHE'S SO LIBERAL! SHE'S GOING TO RUIN AMERICA IF ELECTED!!"

Yet now she's suddenly a "conservative Democrat" to them??

by werd2406 2008-12-01 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Does anyone else think its funny.....

Well true but she worked darn hard to get Americans to change their mind on her...

In the process she lost the primary to Obama.

by obama4presidente 2008-12-01 05:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

"Chris Matthews made a good point that Obama is placing Susan Rice, as Ambassador to the UN, in a cabinet position so that she is reporting to him, not to the secretary of state."

I mean really Todd. I had to create an account to comment on this one. In the Clinton Administration, the UN Ambassor reported to the President. It wasn't until the Bush adminstration that this changed. It's not a big deal.  

by sonyawright 2008-12-01 07:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

Allow me to be the first to give you some mojo.

by JimR 2008-12-01 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

Why are quoting Chris Matthews anyway?  Chris is hack. I can't wait until he runs for the Senate aganist Spector so he can take an A** whooping and lose big time. Who the hell would vote for him anyway?  Please.

by sonyawright 2008-12-01 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

Double mojo for that.

by JimR 2008-12-01 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

You mean when he loses in the primary to Rep. Schwartz or Rep. Murphy, right?

RIGHT?!?!?!?!?!

by Trowaman 2008-12-01 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

He would lose to Schwartz, I am not so sure about Murphy though. Personally my choice would be Sestak.

by JDF 2008-12-01 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

Speaking from Pennsylvania, the answer to who would vote for him is: Philadelphia, the collar counties around Philadelphia, Allegheny County, Erie County, possibly Dauphin County and parts of the North East.

If he runs and Specter wins his primary challenge he will have a tough race, but if he winds up going against some right-wing nut job (Toomey comes to mind,) we will wind up with Senator Chris Matthews.

by JDF 2008-12-01 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

Specter isn't gonna lose his primary challenge.  Nor will he likely lose the general election, no matter who the opponent is.  Picking off scandal-free longterm incumbent Senators of any party, particularly when they are generally viewed as moderates, is pretty close to impossible.  We barely managed to get Ted "Scandal is my middle name" Stevens booted in Alaska.

The Democrats best hope to win that seat is that Specter chooses to retire.  I don't think we'll take the seat from him if he sticks around, as he is extremely popular in PA.

by Obamaphile 2008-12-01 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

He is, but he has faced tough primary challenges in the past. The real challenge for Specter in PA is the primary rather than the general, because the conservative base really has no love for him and a lot of moderate republicans have fled the party.

by JDF 2008-12-01 05:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

I initially chose to support Hillary Clinton in the primary because of her approach to foreign policy, so Obama's choice of Clinton as Secretary of State gives me what I was looking for in a new Democratic administration.

Clinton, to my mind, most clearly articulated in the primary the importance of international institutions to the future safety, stability and prosperity of the world and the United States. Obama seemed to value his personal abilities above the kind of international coordination required for a successful foreign policy. The question in today's press conference about whether India had the same right to unilaterally attack targets in Pakistan that Obama claimed for the United States illustrates the risk in Obama's approach. But his statement today, "Hillary's appointment is a sign to friend and foe of the seriousness of my commitment to renew American diplomacy and restore our alliances," and the strength of his appointments today, suggest to me that he understands the limits of personal diplomacy and that he knows how to use Hillary Clinton's skills to rebuild international institutions.

by souvarine 2008-12-01 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Unveils His National Security Team

I'm a little concerned that Obama doesn't seem to be making any mistakes. This will only feed into the mindset that he is 'The One'. What will happen when he or one of his appointees eventually mis-speaks or has sexual relations with someone? He still has no more experience than he did before, and we forget that at our peril. Jindal and Palin are getting more press, and the Republicans are working on new websites even as we celebrate accomplishments that have yet to occur. All I'm saying is "OH NO!"

by QTG 2008-12-02 02:34AM | 0 recs

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