Obama's Brain Trust: From Transition And Beyond

President-elect Obama quickly moved to appoint a transition team and begin brainstorming about key Cabinet members.

For his circle of counselors, Obama is likely to look to colleagues in the Senate — even to some Republicans such as Richard Lugar of Indiana — as well as to old friends from Chicago and new friends who have only recently endorsed him.

Here is a look at some of the names being floated for key posts, as well as a list of key advisers from his campaign who may retain some level of influence within the Obama White House.

Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett

Key Adviser

He is a legendary billionaire tycoon known for wise investing and savvy economic understanding. Buffett endorsed Obama in May, and throughout the campaign Obama has referred to the so-called Oracle of Omaha as someone he would turn to for advice when dealing with the scary economic landscape.

William Daley

William Daley

Key Adviser

He is the former secretary of commerce under Bill Clinton and chairman of Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000. He is the son of the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and younger brother of Richard M. Daley, the city's current mayor.

Richard Danzig

Richard Danzig

Secretary of Defense

This former Navy secretary under President Clinton advised Obama during his campaign. Danzig openly criticized the Pentagon under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying Rumsfeld did not always listen to the military brass. A former Rhodes scholar, Danzig has practiced international law.

Tom Daschle

Tom Daschle

Key Adviser

He is a former U.S. Senate majority leader from South Dakota and national co-chair of Obama's presidential campaign. Some political watchers think Daschle, who works for a Washington law firm, will be in an Obama White House.

Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel

Secretary of Defense

This Republican senator from Nebraska has served on Senate committees on foreign relations, rules and administration, and intelligence. Before becoming a politician, he worked in the private sector in investment banking. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Eric Holder

Eric Holder

Attorney General

Holder already served as the No. 2 in the attorney general's office under President Clinton. He was a judge in the Superior Court in the District of Columbia, appointed by President Reagan. Currently, he is a partner at the D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling.

Valerie Jarrett

Valerie Jarrett

Key Adviser

She is CEO of a real estate company and a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of Chicago. One of Obama's closest friends, she also served in the Chicago mayor's office.

Gen. James L. Jones

Gen. James L. Jones

National Security Adviser
Jones formerly served as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe; he is now chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to strengthening relationships between North America and Europe. During one of the debates, Obama said he would turn to Jones to help "in figuring out my foreign policy."

Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

She already played an integral role in the Obama campaign, vetting potential vice presidential picks. She was also an early and vocal supporter of Sen. Obama's, along with her uncle Ted Kennedy, the senator from Massachusetts. Days before Super Tuesday, she wrote an op-ed for The New York Times, in which she compared Obama to her late father, John F. Kennedy.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Environmental Protection Agency

The son of the late senator is an environmental lawyer in New York. He has been heavily involved in two nonprofits — Riverkeeper and the Waterkeeper Alliance — that have fought for cleaning up the Hudson River. A former assistant district attorney in New York City, he serves as host of a weekly radio show, Ring of Fire, on Air America.

John Kerry

John Kerry

Secretary of State

This four-term Democratic senator from Massachusetts ran for president in 2004 and lost to President Bush by 34 electoral votes. He sits on the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee and is a decorated Vietnam veteran.

Anthony Lake

Anthony Lake

Secretary of State

Lake, who served as national security adviser in the Clinton administration, was a foreign policy adviser to the Obama campaign. He also earned his administration chops as the director of policy planning under President Carter. A former U.S. Foreign Service officer, he is now a professor at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Retired Gen. Colin Powell

Gen. Colin Powell

Key Adviser

He served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and as secretary of state during President George W. Bush's first term. A Republican and longtime friend of John McCain, Powell pulled an October surprise by announcing his support for Obama.

Susan Rice

Susan Rice

National Security Adviser

Rice knows Obama well, having served as one of his key foreign policy advisers during the campaign. She also served in the Clinton administration as assistant secretary of state for African affairs. She is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

Gov. Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson

Secretary of State

This two-term New Mexico governor and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate served in the Clinton administration as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and as energy secretary. He has fashioned himself as a diplomatic troubleshooter, going on missions to Sudan, North Korea, Cuba and Iraq.

Lawrence Summers

Lawrence Summers

Secretary of the Treasury

He served as the Treasury secretary under President Clinton and then led Harvard University as its president, until he resigned following a gaffe about female professors' ability to excel in science. An economist by training, he teaches at Harvard's Kennedy School.

Paul Volcker

Paul Volcker

Secretary of the Treasury

Volcker is a former chairman of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. He has run a New York investment banking firm and undertaken several international assignments from the United Nations. Obama mentioned Volcker by name when talking about economic policy during the second presidential debate.

NPR Supervising Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving contributed to this report. Material from the Associated Press was also used.

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