It's drizzling on Obama's post-election honeymoon
After a presidential transition notable for its smoothness and strong public approval, it has started to drizzle on Barack Obama’s post-election honeymoon.It was widely reported Monday that Mr. Obama would name former Congressman and White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta to run the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Panetta is a much-respected figure in Washington but has no hands-on experience with intelligence operations. His nomination was greeted with criticism by several influential Congressional Democrats.Skip to next paragraph
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Meanwhile, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico held a press conference Monday to explain why he decided to withdraw from consideration to be Commerce Secretary, a position for which Obama had selected him Richardson’s move came in response to an investigation of whether a California firm had made improper political contributions to political committees linked to Richardson in order to win state business in New Mexico. The investigation had been widely reported in the press. Richardson strongly denies any wrongdoing.
Then there are the fiscal storm clouds. After a five-minute ride in the rain Tuesday morning from the Hay Adams Hotel to his transition office, President-elect Obama was scheduled to meet with his economic team to discuss the outlook for the federal budget. Current projections are for Obama’s first budget to post a record-shattering deficit of more than one trillion dollars.
In the run-up to Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration, the dust up over the selection of a CIA director is likely to be longer lasting and more significant than questions over why Obama’s transition team did not pay more attention to published reports of alleged wrong doing in New Mexico.
The Obama transition team is already at work to find a replacement for Richardson. The San Antonio Express-News reports that Congressman Xavier Becerra is being considered for the Commerce post. The Obama team is clearly looking for another Hispanic politicians to replace Richardson, a prominent Hispanic who threw his support to Obama after unsuccessfully running for president himself.