Obama Unveils His National Security Team
by Todd Beeton, Mon Dec 01, 2008 at 05:45:20 AM EST
At a press conference this morning, President-elect Obama is expected to announce his national security team.
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.
"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.