- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2008

CHICAGO | President-elect Barack Obama will reach to the middle and offer more than just-for-show appointments to Republicans in his administration, friends and colleagues predicted Wednesday.

An Obama administration “will be reasonable and logical, not ideological,” Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine told The Washington Times in an interview. “It will be about results, not rhetoric.” Mr. Kaine is a longtime friend of Mr. Obama’s and an early backer who campaigned extensively for the Illinois Democrat and has advised him informally on economic matters.

Mr. Kaine speculated that Mr. Obama would run “a very progressive administration,” but also one that will try to find “pragmatic” solutions to problems.

“Much of it will be centrist, but it will be the smart center, using technology and new ideas and creativity to find common ground,” he said.

“He likes to argue, and he certainly doesn’t mind smart, opinionated people around him,” Mr. Kaine said, declining to say whether he’d consider a position himself.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, an Obama foreign-policy adviser, echoed a similar sentiment in a recent interview with The Times.

“I think a lot about what makes somebody a good leader [is] the combination of curiosity, confidence in oneself that you can hear a lot of different ideas that it doesn’t make you upset if somebody disagrees with you,” she said.

She said Mr. Obama shares that in common with President Clinton, the last Democratic president, who included Republicans in his Cabinet.

Mr. Obama is expected to appoint a mix of familiar hands from the Clinton administration, along with some of the nation’s governors and former candidates.

Mr. Obama early on collected friends and endorsers from the governors’ mansions across the country. Among the contenders for an Obama administration are Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

Several former candidates who got to know Mr. Obama during his long and historic White House bid may also be on a shortlist for top spots. Among them are Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

On both foreign policy and the economy, Mr. Obama already has a trusted, large team he assembled during the campaign.

Susan Rice, Greg Craig and Denis McDonough are all thought to be top contenders for national-security or State Department posts.

On the economic side, Mr. Obama’s top adviser, Austan Goolsbee, is likely to score a prime position, and billionaire Warren Buffett may even play some role in the administration.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, who is a political hand and not a policy guy, may join him in the White House, along with chief strategist David Axelrod.

Story Continues →