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POTUS Watch

Survey of the Advisors to the President Of The United States

Special Issue – KEY ADVISORS RECAPITULATIVE

Paris, 12 February 2009

The inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20, 2009 began a new, historic chapter in American
politics. Yet international challenges have not relented, nor will inevitable internal struggles that
accompany high-level political decision-making. Modelling his administration after Lincoln’s “team
of rivals,” President Obama has brought on the most experienced players, with big personalities and
vehement convictions. As policy is crafted, some advisors will have close proximity to the president
while others will not have the necessary relationship to move an agenda on critical policy matters.

Twice monthly, POTUS Watch will systematically assemble key positions in the Obama
administration on central foreign and economic policy issues in order to highlight tendencies among
his Cabinet and closest advisors. POTUS Watch will define majority and minority opinions, examine
who holds those views, and identify the relative power of these actors in the decision-making process.
By outlining major political currents, POTUS Watch aims to spotlight the emergence of power blocs
and trends in order to better understand the foreign policy-making mechanisms in the Obama
administration.

Amy Greene

Amy Greene • potuswatch@gmail.com


POTUS Watch
Obama Administration Key Advisors – “DOMESTIC” ADVISORS

Name Position Comment


David Axelrod Senior Advisor to the President Close confidante, protector, and
honest broker of Obama,
campaign’s Chief Strategist.
Political journalism and
consulting background, founded
consulting firm serving high
profile Dems.
Gregory Craig White House Counsel White House liaison with
Justice Department. Human
rights advocate, Latin America
specialist. Worked for Clinton,
Albright and Ted Kennedy.
Rahm Emanuel White House Chief of Staff Former Congressman,
consummate “insider.” Will
push President’s agenda
through Congress. Aggressive
and tough. As Clinton advisor,
helped pass hallmark
legislation.
Patrick Gaspard White House Political Director Advises on political impact of
Presidential policies. Will
explore how to transform
Obama base into political
reinforcement. Union political
direction experience.
Robert Gibbs White House Communications Confidante of Obama and an
Director architect of his move to national
stage. Will be administration’s
“institutional memory.”
Valerie Jarrett Senior Advisor to the President; Close confidante and candid
Assistant to the President for critic of Obama. Offered input
Intergovernmental Relations; on every major decision during
and Public Liaison campaign. Will connect
citizens, local governments, and
local businesses with White
House.
Pete Rouse Senior Advisor to the President Confidante of Obama. Strong
knowledge of DC players and
institutions. Career spent
working for top politicians.

Amy Greene • potuswatch@gmail.com


POTUS Watch
Obama Administration Key Advisors – ECONOMY

Name Position Comment


Timothy Geithner Secretary, Department of Vast experience managing
Treasury international market crises
(Mexico, Russia, Brazil)
Balances risk-taking with
classic monetary policy.
Warned for years against
deregulation. Known on Wall
St. as an innovator. Close to
Volcker, Rubin, and Summers.
Austen Goolsbee Head Staff, Economic Recovery Unapologetic advocate for free
Advisory Board trade. Favors reducing foreign
funding of U.S. debt and govt
spending. Will serve as deputy
to Volcker.
Peter Orszag Director, Office of Management Meticulous knowledge of
and Budget budget. Warns against
increasing cost of entitlement
programs. Likely to avidly
pursue health care reform.
Christina Romer Director, Council of Economic Specialist in microeconomics
Advisors and recession, and effects of
monetary policy on growth and
inflation.
Mary Schapiro Chairman, Securities and Brought on to restore
Exchange Commission (SEC) confidence in undermined SEC.
Strong industry-regulation
background, less on investor
protection side.
Lawrence Summers Director, National Economic Global economy expert who has
Council recently come out in favor of
increased regulation, trade
restrictions, and policies to
reduce income gap. Will
oversee implementation of
Obama’s economic agenda.
Dan Tarullo Member, Federal Reserve Long-time advocate of
Board increased bank regulation.
Extensive writings on sovereign
debt, international regulation,
and trade. Was Clinton’s top
international economic policy
coordinator.
Paul Volcker Director, Economic Recovery Credited for slashing inflation
Advisory Board in 1980s. Sought for his
« tough love » and brutal
honesty, even if unpopular, to
revive U.S. economy.

Amy Greene • potuswatch@gmail.com


POTUS Watch
Obama Administration Key Advisors – ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Name Position Comment


Steven Chu Secretary, Department of Nobel prize winner. Proponent
Energy of biodiesel and renewable
energies. Expected to steward
reorientation of energy policy.
Carol Browner Special Advisor to the Former EPA administrator
President, Energy and Climate under Clinton. Reputation for
Change strict environmental regulation.
Business-friendly, interested in
efficient govt. decision-making
to attract business cooperation.
Lisa Jackson Administrator, Environmental Trained scientist. Former head
Protection Agency of New Jersey EPA has worked
at federal EPA. Understands
political side of environmental
legislative progress.
Combination of managerial and
scientific expertise. Successful
implementation of greenhouse
gas reduction laws.
Nancy Sutley Director, Council on Deeply versed in nuances of
Environmental Quality water policy. Federal and state
management and budget
experience. Close to Browner.
Held senior positions in
environmental and energy. Will
advise President on nat’l and
int’l environment policy.

Amy Greene • potuswatch@gmail.com


POTUS Watch
Obama Administration Key Advisors – NATIONAL SECURITY/FOREIGN POLICY

Name Position Comment


Admiral Dennis Blair Director, National Intelligence Highest intelligence post in
country, overseeing CIA
Director. Former head of U.S.
Pacific Command. Will seek
to increase efficiency of
cumbersome intelligence
agencies. Coordinated CIA and
Pentagon operations. Expert on
China and speaks Russian.
Hillary Clinton Secretary, Department of State The face of U.S. foreign policy
in the world, this reputed
« hawk » and former rival to
President Obama shares many
of his core positions despite
tough talking. Excellent
technical mastery of problems.
Robert Gates Secretary, Department of Will be kept on in the
Defense immediate future to help
Obama assert authority over a
large and looming defense
bureaucracy in order to help
coordinate a withdrawal from
Iraq and talks with adversaries
without stirring institutional
backlash and public criticism.
Richard Holbrooke Special Envoy to Afghanistan Former UN Amb. 45 years as
and Pakistan diplomat. Broker of ‘95 Dayton
Accords. Will use assertive
style and deep network to
restore order and confidence to
chaotic policy. Will report to
Clinton.
Eric Holder Attorney General A sign of a clean break from
Bush era questionable practices,
Holder aims to restore respect
for the Constitution and
distance between executive and
judiciary to ensure
accountability.
General James Jones National Security Advisor Jones has a first-hand
knowledge of training security
forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and
Israel and Palestine. He has
been attacked for being too pro-
Palestine. Deep knowledge of
Europe. Will coordinate
policies of State and Defense
Depts.

Amy Greene • potuswatch@gmail.com


Jacob Lew Deputy Secretary, Department Act as nuts-and-bolts overseer
of State (resource, finance) of State budget and spending.
Close to Clintonites, including
Podesta. Strongly opposed to
debt-accumulation, outspoken
advocate of fiscal streamlining.
William Lynn Deputy Secretary, Department Former lobbyist for behemoth
of Defense defense contractor Raytheon,
which won $54B in federal
govt. contracts during his
tenure. Formerly aide to Ted
Kennedy and Under Secretary
of Defense.
George Mitchell Special Envoy to the Middle Major player in N. Ireland
East peace deal. In 2001 report,
called for freeze on Israeli
settlements and crackdown on
Palestinian terrorism to curb
regional violence. From a
Lebanese family. As envoy,
will report to Clinton.
Janet Napolitano Secretary, Department of Expert in border security and
Homeland Security illegal immigration, this former
governor of Arizona harkens a
redefinition of comprehensive
immigration policy. Her
challenge is to restore the
agency’s credibility after years
of mismanagement.

Leon Panetta Director, Central Intelligence A surprise pick with no official


Agency intelligence profile, Panetta will
try to refine the management of
the CIA and break from Bush-
era policies, like torture.
Former Clinton chief of staff,
Panetta participated in daily
intelligence briefings and in
setting the agency’s budget.
Susan Rice U.S. Ambassador to the United Career began in Clinton State
Nations Dept. Specialist in African
affairs, strong believer in
multilateral institutions. Favors
both uni- and multilateral
military intervention in
humanitarian crises.
James Steinberg Deputy Secretary of State Close advisor to Hillary
(policy issues) Clinton. Expressed favor for
preemptive war if international
institutions defined criteria and
rules for use.

Amy Greene • potuswatch@gmail.com


POTUS Watch
Table of Contents

AXELROD, David Domestic


BLAIR, Dennis National Security/Foreign Policy
BROWNER, Carol Energy/Environment
CHU, Steven Energy/Environment
CLINTON, Hillary National Security/Foreign Policy
CRAIG, Gregory Domestic
EMANUEL, Rahm Domestic
GASPAR, Patrick Domestic
GATES, Robert National Security/Foreign Policy
GEITHNER, Timothy Economy
GIBBS, Robert Domestic
GOOLSBEE, Austen Economy
HOLBROOKE, Richard National Security/Foreign Policy
HOLDER, Eric National Security/Foreign Policy
JACKSON, Lisa Energy/Environment
JARRETT, Valerie Domestic
JONES, James National Security/Foreign Policy
LEW, Jacob National Security/Foreign Policy
LYNN, William National Security/Foreign Policy
MITCHELL, George National Security/Foreign Policy
NAPOLITANO, Janet National Security/Foreign Policy
ORSZAG, Peter Economy
PANETTA, Leon National Security/Foreign Policy
RICE, Susan National Security/Foreign Policy
ROMER, Christina Economy
ROUSE, Peter Domestic
SCHAPIRO, Mary Economy
STEINBERG, James National Security/Foreign Policy
SUMMERS, Lawrence Economy
SUTLEY, Nancy Energy/Environment
TARULLO, Daniel Economy
VOLCKER, Paul Economy

Amy Greene • potuswatch@gmail.com