New York, Oct 25 : With the economy in tatters at home and two wars still raging abroad, Senator Barack Obama's team is preparing for a fast start, should he win the election, to what could be the most challenging and volatile transition between presidents in 75 years.
Obama's advisers are sifting rsums, compiling policy options and discussing where to hold his first news conference as president-elect, the New york Times reported.
Democrats say Obama hopes to name key members of his White House, economic and security teams soon after the election. His transition chief has even drafted a sample Inaugural Address.
Presidential nominees typically start preparing for transitions before the election, but Obama's plans appear more extensive than in the past and more advanced than those of Senator John McCain, his Republican opponent.
McCain has also assigned confidants to prepare for a transition but instructed them to limit their activities as he tries to rescue his foundering campaign, Republicans said.
Already the capital is buzzing with discussion about who would fill top positions. Obama advisers mention Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, as a possible White House chief of staff, and Timothy F. Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as Treasury secretary.
To demonstrate bipartisanship, advisers said Obama might ask two members of President Bush's cabinet to stay, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
McCain might also want Gates to stay, according to Republicans close to the campaign, or he might reach beyond the party by tapping Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat turned independent, to head the Pentagon or the State Department.
Republicans said possible Treasury secretaries include John A. Thain, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch, and Robert B. Zoellick, the president of the World Bank. And some see former Navy Secretary John F. Lehman as chief of staff.
Neither campaign would publicly discuss its transition planning for fear of appearing presumptuous with little more than a week to go before voters render their judgment.
But as the nation braces to change leaders for the first time since the attacks of September 11, 2001, White House officials and independent analysts said it was especially imperative for both campaigns to be prepared because of the acute economic and national security threats confronting the country.
The handover from Bush to his successor was already shaping up as the first wartime transition in 40 years, and the White House has instituted new policies to smooth the process.