Obama's change versus Clinton pedigree team dilemma

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New York, Nov 6 : As Barack Obama embarks on his own presidency, he faces the challenge of building a administration that does not look like a third term for former President Bill Clinton as his advisers are divided to have more experienced people or have a fresh team.

During the campaign trail, Obama had argued for months that victory for his opponent John McCain would be akin to a third term for President George W Bush, the New York Times reported.

"They're torn. There's half of them that think, We're in the midst of a huge economic crisis; let's get the most experienced people out there. The other half think, hey, we're the change candidate," a prominent Democrat close to the campaign said of Obama's advisers.

Matt Bennett, a founder of Third Way, a Democratic-oriented advocacy group, put it: "The big question is how fresh Obama wants to look. The Clinton Administration is going to be a black mark for a lot of these candidates - it will be for some and won't for others - just because he wants to look like his own man."

Introducing his first appointments as President-elect, Obama reached deep into the Clinton fold on Wednesday, naming John D. Podesta, a former White House chief of staff, to lead his transition team.

He has asked another former Clinton aide, Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, to be his own chief of staff and is said to be choosing between two other Clinton veterans for national security adviser.

Obama tried to balance his initial announcement by naming two co-chairmen to work with Podesta on the transition, and he will soon introduce other key advisers without any Clinton pedigrees, the NYT reported.

Obama's loyalists in his Chicago headquarters spent the final weeks of the campaign focused on finishing the election, they were deliberately kept away from the fledgling transition efforts begun by Podesta under Obama's direction in Washington.

Some Clinton Administration veterans under consideration for top jobs have been with Obama since the beginning of the primaries, having broken with the Clintons, including Gregory B. Craig, Susan E. Rice and Richard Danzig.

ANI

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