Inasmuch as a president is only as good as his counsel, many political watchers (and News & Notes editors) are beginning to flash forward beyond Nov. 4 — Election Day — and straight to Jan. 20 — Inauguration Day. How would a President Obama or President McCain govern, and to whom would each give Cabinet positions?
Naturally, both campaigns are keeping mum on the topic — so as not to appear presumptuous — but the candidates and their advisers have given signals in published interviews.
First off, Sen. Barack Obama said today Gen. Colin Powell "will have a role as one of my advisers. ...Whether he wants to take a formal role, whether that's a good fit for him, is something we'd have to discuss."
John Podesta, a former White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton, is heading Obama's transition efforts.
Here's more, care of the Times Online (UK):
A host of well-known figures, including some Republicans, have indicated they would be willing to serve in some capacity as Obama begins to acquire a winner's glow. From Senator John Kerry, the 2004 presidential candidate with hopes of becoming secretary of state, to Larry Summers, a former US Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton, and Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator who has been tipped as defence secretary, there are plenty who have signalled their availability.
Obama is thought likely to cherry-pick a few high-profile names, while rewarding the loyalty and discretion of advisers such as his foreign policy expert Susan Rice who have served him so well throughout the campaign.
"He has no patience whatsoever with prima donnas," said one leading Democrat policy adviser. "He's surrounded himself with people who are pretty smooth in dealing with each other."
Sen. McCain has reportedly handed his campaign's transition responsibilities to lobbyist William Timmons Sr. But McCain has also, according to another report, "instructed his team to not spend time on the transition effort ... both out of a desire to have complete focus on winning the election as well as a superstitious belief that the campaign shouldn't put the cart before the horse."
While Republicans say Timmons is making plans for the transition if McCain wins in November, the campaign wouldn't confirm his role. Timmons didn't return a phone call seeking comment.
Related: Transition Planning Gets Started Early So Candidates Can Be Prepared for National Security Threats