Cabinet Diary 2 - Secretary of the Treasury (with poll)

It's time to continue our look at the Cabinet in the upcoming Obama administration. Second - Secretary of the Treasury, perhaps the most important appointment President-elect Obama will make, given the current economic circumstances.

There are several excellent options - some who served in the Clinton Administration - some outsiders - and even some paradigm breaking choices. For convenience, I've taken the list from a betting site (yes, it is in the order of the oddsmakers' favorite).

There were Republicans on the list, and I've left out the "I don't believe it" names still on the betting lines such as Phil Gramm and Bob Zoellick. There's also some chatter about keeping Paulson on, temporarily to administer the bailout. So as distasteful as it seems, I kept his name on the list.

Perhaps one key criteria (which you're free to throw to the side of the road) is whether the candidate would inspire confidence in the markets.

(X posted at OpenLeft - will X post at DK, as soon as the clock allows me to post another diary there)

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Obama's Foreign Policy Follies

The American people are getting a chance to see how unprepared Barack Obama's team of  advisors are to help lead this country through the minefield of foreign policy problems that await the next President.   Thank God Barack's advisors are not allowed to carry firearms.  They have spent the past week metaphorically shooting themselves in the feet and other delicate areas.  Just imagine the damage they would do with real bullets.

We started with the Austan Goolsbee flap.  You know, Barack's senior economics advisor who told the Canadians essentially that Senator Obama's public comments about NAFTA did not reflect his true feelings.  Poor Austan did not understand that foreign governments take notes and file reports with their counterparts back home.

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In Strategy Shift: Obama to Throw "Kitchen Sink" at Himself

Today in an effort to undermine one of his central campaign themes, "a different kind of politics", a key foreign policy aide to Barack Obama, called Hillary Clinton a "monster".

The "kitchen sink" strategy began surfacing last week, when conversations between Canadian officials and Austan Goolsbee, Obama's senior economic advisor, came to light.  It was portrayed by the media as an "unforced error" on NAFTA.  Soon after reports of the conversations, Obama quickly unleashed a series of lies about whether those conversations occurred.

Perhaps the sharpest attack on himself occurred just yesterday, when Susan Rice, a senior Obama foreign policy advisor, said Sen. Obama was not ready for "3 a.m." phone call.  

In an effort to step up the attacks on himself this week, Sen. Obama has publicly called out Lorne Michaels, satirist, and Obama has vowed to have a conversation with Tina Fey.  Sources inside the Obama campaign confirm that he "meant it."

Later today, Michelle Obama is scheduled to host a "Proud to be an American" rally.

More as this story continues to break...  

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Obama Still Spinning: A NAFTAgate Update

First, a little explanatory background: CTV actually went with two Obama-Canada-NAFTA stories last week.  First, on Wednesday, the story was that an Obama advisor had told the Canadian Embassy--which is located in Washington--that Obama's NAFTA talk was just political hot air.  The Canadian Embassy issued a strong denial.

Then, on Thursday, CTV ran either a new story or, if appearances aren't deceiving, a corrected version of an original story that had misplaced some facts.  In the new story, Obama's chief economic advisor Austan Goolsbee had told the Canadian Consulate General--in Chicago--that Obama's NAFTA talk was just political hot air.

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NAFTAgate: Major Media Impotent

In an stunning show of adroit media relations, the Obama campaign today demonstrated clearly how they can defang the vicious mainstream media and fend off the most aggressive inquiries into their campaign's activities. They simply refuse to answer.

On Thursday night, CTV spoke with Goolsbee, but he refused to say whether he had such a conversation with the Canadian government office in Chicago.  CTV

Upon learning that Mr. Goolsbee refused to answer any more questions on the matter, the entire main stream media of the United States resolved that there was nothing that they could do to further flesh out the story. "You know they refused to answer," said MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews. "We could speculate on their motives, but that would be unfair. That's not the kind of thing we do here on Hardball. Faced with such an impenetrable obstacle, we simply had no other choice but to all completely ignore the story."

Asked where the campaign hit upon such an effective tactic Marcie Sloat, spokesperson for the Obama campaign said she refused to answer.
Some commentators have speculated that the time is right for this stunning new development in journalism. "I have no idea why anyone would answer our questions when they can simply refuse to answer," opined CNN's Wolfe Blitzer "For so long people have been afraid of not answering our questions because they assumed wrongly that we would then pursue the story with more vigor. As has become abundently clear from the Bush administration, stonewalling is a very very effective way to deflect our inquiries here in the Situation Room."

When asked further if the Obama campaign was going to be using this brilliant new tactic in the fall to defeat John McCain, Ms. Sloat declined to comment.

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