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Obama choosing team, as economy takes new tumble

Article published on the 2008-11-06 Latest update 2008-11-06 15:14 TU

Obama with Emanuel in June this year(Photo: Reuters)

Obama with Emanuel in June this year
(Photo: Reuters)

US President-elect Barack Obama has approached Democrat Congressman Rahm Emmanuel to become his White House Chief of Staff, as he sets about preparing a cabinet. As the economy hits more turbulence, another urgent task is to pick a Treasury Secretary.

Fellow-Democrat Steny Hoyer said Wednesday that Emmanuel, who represents Obama's home-state of Illinois, is considering the offer.

Emmanuel was a White House adviser in Bill Clinton's administration and is regarded as aggressively partisan by many Republicans.

The Israeli press on Thursday welcomed the possible appointment, the Maariv newspaper declaring that Emanuel would be "our man in the White House". Other papers pointed out that he did a short period of military service in Israel in 1997 and that his father, Binyamin, was a member of an armed Zionist group under the British mandate in Palestine.

Obama has set up a formal transition office in Washington to prepare the handover.

Paris-based political scientist Philip Golub says Obama might recruit include in his administration some Republicans “who have shown either technical competence or a certain amount of moderation”.

"This would include, of course, Chuck Hagel, who was against the Iraq war," he told RFI, "possibly Colin Powell – people are talking about Colin Powell having some kind of position, it’s not clear whether it’s going to be a cabinet position or not – and … keeping Robert Gates, the present Defence Secretary, in the interim so that there’s no break in terms of policy in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Analysis: Philip Golub, American University of Paris

06/11/2008 by Salil Sarkar

A key appointment will be that of Treasury Secretary, as markets plummeted following the strongest election day rally in history on Tuesday.

In New York the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.05 per cent Wednesday. Markets in Europe have fallen four per cent Thursday, following looses of about seven per cent in Asia.

Obama's economic advisers during the election campaign included Clinton's last Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, former Federal Reserve boss Paul Volcker and investor Warren Buffett.

Another possible choice is New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner.

Even before his inauguration, Obama will be involved in negotiating a stimulus package, with Democrats proposing a 100-billion-dollar (77.5- billion-euro) package to create jobs and improve transport, education and other public facilities.

Obama promised a tax cut for poorer families, which, he said, will eliminate income tax for ten million Americans. It is to be funded by tax risies for those earning more than 250,000 dollars (195,000 euros) a year and a windfall tax on energy companies.