The Obamasphere: The White House

by Editorial

pete-rousePETE ROUSE
Ready to leave politics after Sen. Tom Daschle’s defeat, this Hill veteran, known as “The 101st senator” will serve as senior advisor to the president. According to Bret Bair of Fox News, “he won’t be someone we see, but his fingerprints may be on many of the moves the Obama White House makes, especially when it comes to working with Capitol Hill.”

david-axelrodDAVID AXELROD
Considered the mastermind behind Obama’s nearly flawless campaign, Axelrod started in politics at 13, selling buttons for Robert F. Kennedy. Known as the “keeper of the message,” this almost preternaturally calm political pro has promised  to continue that role as senior advisor to the president.

repemanuelRAHM  EMANUEL
This sharp-tongued Chicago native and former congressman has agreed to put his own political ambitions on hold to serve as Obama’s chief of staff, and deftly navigated the recent scandal involving Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. Trained as a classical dancer, Emanuel regularly participates in triathlons.

valerie-jarrettVALERIE JARRETT
A longtime friend and confidant of the Obamas, this Iranian-born lawyer and real estate developer has deep Chicago ties, which she utilized to raise funds for Obama’s successful 2004 Senate campaign. She will serve as senior advisor to the president.  Interestingly enough, she is also the cousin of Ann Jordan.

greg-craigGREG CRAIG
Obama’s White House counsel will play a crucial role in navigating legal and constitutional issues already facing the president, such as Guantanamo. A former advisor to Senator  Ted Kennedy, Craig has defended John Hinckley Jr., and President Bill Clinton, and played the role of John McCain in Obama’s presidential debate prep.

dan-pfeifferDAN PFEIFFER
Known as a media relations pit bull, Pfeiffer honed his skills on South Dakota senate campaigns, notably for Tim Johnson and Tom Daschle. On the 2008 campaign trail, the deputy director of communications made waves when he said of McCain, “It’s extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president … doesn’t know how to send an e-mail.”

desiree-rogersDESIRÉE ROGERS
The first African-American White House social secretary has been simultaneously appointed assistant to the president, a first for the holder of this job. This high-profile Midwesterner has headed two major corporations, and served as president of social networking for Allstate Financial.

robert-gibbsROBERT GIBBS
Part of the Obama team since 2004, Gibbs was dubbed “the enforcer” by the media, a reference to his rapid response strategy and willingness to confront reporters over potentially misleading information. This son of the South and White House press secretary cheers for the Auburn Tigers when he’s not “feeding the beast” for the president.

ellen-moranELLEN MORAN
Moran will serve as White House communications director, where she will play an integral role in crafting the administration’s carefully controlled message. Her résumé includes her most recent role as executive director of Emily’s List, and is stacked with political gigs at the DNC, DCCC, and several campaigns.

jay-carneyJAY CARNEY
Biden’s director of communications recently left one of the District’s most prestigious journalism gigs, as chief of the Washington bureau of Time magazine, to join the administration. Carney, a Yale grad, had previously served as bureau chief in Moscow and Miami, but this will be his first time on the other side of the podium.

bill-burtonBILL BURTON
Burton cut his political teeth working with Dick Gephardt and John Kerry,  and joined Obama after directing communications for the DCCC. This multi-tasker managed to tie the knot with fellow politico Laura Capps, Senator Ted Kennedy’s former communications director, during an election year.

jon-favreauJON FAVREAU
The pen behind Obama’s famed victory speech in Iowa, this wünderkind was appointed his chief speechwriter at the ripe age of 27. To compete (and triumph) over the big boys, “Favs” ate Bobby Kennedy’s speeches for breakfast, and leads a team of talented young writers into the West Wing.

jen-psakiJEN PSAKI
Psaki served as Obama’s spokeswoman on the campaign trail and transition team, and will assume a role on the White House communications team. Previously deputy communications director for Kerry’s presidential campaign in Iowa, she has also served as press secretary for the Kerry, Heinz and Edwards children.

alyssa-mastromonacoALYSSA MASTROMONACO
The president’s director of scheduling and advance will make every official trip a reality, with the help of her team. Mastromonaco joined Obama’s PAC in 2005, is a former Kerry campaign director of scheduling and served as press secretary for Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia.

emmett-beliveauEMMETT BELIVEAU
Beliveau is a former attorney at Patton Boggs and son of prominent Maine attorney and Democrat Severin Beliveau. The thirty-one-year-old worked as Obama’s director of advance during his campaign and was chosen as executive director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Once the personal aide to Sen. Kerry during his 2004 presidential campaign, Nicholson planned Obama’s campaign travels from coast to coast and venue to venue as his trip director. Standing at 6-feet-8-inches, he accidentally left his suitcase – and the staff’s birthday present for Obama – in the back of a Chicago taxi in August 2008.

ceciliamunozCECILIA MUÑOZ
The civil rights activist and daughter of Bolivian immigrants was chosen as Obama’s director of intergovernmental affairs, overseeing the White House office responsible for relations between the Obama administration and state and local governments. She is currently a senior VP at the Hispanic civil rights group The Council of La Raza.

A Chicago native who started his career as a paralegal in Michelle Obama’s law firm, Strautmanis is poised to serve as chief of staff to powerhouse senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, as well as handling day-to-day intergovernmental and public liasion duties.  The father of an autistic child, he is a well-placed and ardent advocate for families affected by disabilities.

mona-sutphenMONA SUTPHEN
This foreign policy expert and former aide to UN Ambassador Bill Richardson is Obama’s pick for deputy chief of staff, along with Jim Messina. For a better sense of how Sutphen sees the world, pick up her recently co-authored book, The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Rise While Others Thrive.

jim-messinaJIM MESSINA
This Boise, Idaho, native served as chief of staff and campaign manager for Senator Max Baucus but stepped out of Baucus’ sixth-term re-election campaign to join the Obama team. He will serve as deputy to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

kileybradBRAD KILEY
Most recently the director of operations for the transition team, Kiley is poised to direct the Office of Management and Administration. Having worked in the city for the past 20 years, his resume boasts positions in the Clinton administration, DNC, NARAL and the International AIDS Trust.

don-gipsDON GIPS
Gips, a former Federal Communication Commission official, is the administration’s choice for director of presidential personnel, after working on the president’s transition team. Gips helped launch the Americorps program at the Corporation for National Service and served as Al Gore’s chief domestic policy advisor.

lisa_brownLISA BROWN
This former executive director of the American Constitution Society, and counsel to Al Gore during the Clinton administration is Obama’s pick for White House staff secretary, a powerful position once held by John Podesta and Harriet Miers. Brown is a lawyer by profession, and has spent years working on civil and disability rights issues.

The 26-year-old, who became a pastor while still a teenager, found his religious and political voice while a student at Boston University. He served as religious affairs director for Obama’s campaign and was the force behind the candidate’s meeting with conservative evangelical leaders during the election.

patrick_gaspardPATRICK GASPARD
This Haitian-American worked as the Obama campaign’s political director from June 2008 until the election and will continue in the same his role as White House political director. The New Yorker reported that after Obama’s first debate with McCain, Gaspard emailed him, “You are more clutch than Michael Jordan.” “Just give me the ball,” Obama replied.

carlos-elizondoCARLOS ELIZONDO
Elizondo takes on the role of residence manager and social secretary for the Vice President and Jill Biden. This Texas native has the experience needed, having previously worked as senior director of special events at Georgetown and in the office of U.S. chief of protocol during the Clinton administration.

phil-schiliroPHIL SCHILIRO
This Capitol Hill vet and Henry Waxman’s longtime chief of staff will serve as Obama’s director of Congressional relations. Schiliro worked as a congressional staffer for 25 years and, like so many of his colleagues on the Obama team, worked for Senator Tom Daschle.  He also ran for Congress from Long Island in the early 1990’s.

dawn-johnsenDAWN JOHNSEN
The former legal director at NARAL Pro-Choice America, Johnsen served in the Clinton Justice Department, providing legal advice to then-attorney general Janet Reno. Now a law professor at Iowa University, Johnsen is Obama’s pick for assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel.

chris-luCHRIS LU
A Harvard Law classmate of Obama’s and his choice for secretary to the Cabinet, Lu’s been on the winning team since 2005. Having served as an advisor both on the campaign trail and in Obama’s Senate office in D.C., Lu described the job of Senate legislative director as “taking a couple years off your life.”

reggieloveREGGIE LOVE
Obama’s personal aide became a familiar face on the campaign, shadowing “the boss” everywhere he went, and tending to his personal needs, which included protein bars and Honest Tea. A frequent pick-up basketball opponent, this former Duke star athlete towers over the president, and is one of the most popular members of Obama’s entourage.

petesouzaPETE SOUZA
As an official White House photographer under the Reagan presidency, Souza should know his way around the Executive Mansion. Souza has several published books and is the recipient of photojournalism awards in both the NPPA and the White House News Association contests.

tomperrelliTOM PERRELLI
A former deputy assistant attorney general, Perrelli is considered one of the country’s leading media and entertainment attorneys, and was named one of the nation’s 40 most promising lawyers under 40 by The National Law Journal. He was also a classmate of Obama’s at Harvard Law School, where they served together on the Law Review.

ronklainRON KLAIN
Played by Kevin Spacey in Recount, Biden’s chief of staff pick is more familiar with his role than most, having served as chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore. Before becoming a right-hand man to veeps, Klain clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White, and oversaw President Clinton’s judicial nominations.

This Harvard and Georgetown Law graduate is an “expert on domestic policy” according to VP Joe Biden and has been chosen as a domestic policy advisor. McSweeny worked with the Vice President during his days in the Senate and during his 2008 presidential campaign.

A Biden advisor and counselor since 1981, Donilon was an obvious choice to be counselor to the vice president. As a lawyer and political campaign consultant, he has worked on several successful campaigns, including Douglas Wilder’s gubernotorial victory in Virginia in 1989 and Bill Clinton’s first White House run in 1992.

evan-ryanEVAN RYAN
Ryan, who was selected as the assistant to the VP for intergovernmental affairs and public liaison, brings White House experience gained on Hillary Clinton’s staff during her time as first lady, as well as her senate campaign. Ryan is also involved in several NGOs, including PeacePlayers International.

This St. Louis native is the incoming communications director for Jill Biden in the new administration, after previously working as deputy communications director at the William J. Clinton Foundation, spokesperson for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, and brand strategy consultant for Interbrand in New York City.

susansherSUSAN SHER
Michelle Obama’s former boss and the current general counsel at the University of Chicago Medical Center, will join the administration as associate counsel to the president. A longtime friend of Michelle Obama’s and Valerie Jarrett’s, Sher will provide legal advice to the first lady, in addition to tackling legal elements of health care policy.

jackie-norrisJACKIE NORRIS
Michelle Obama’s chief of staff is a former high school Government teacher and served as the president’s Iowa state director, playing a key role in his Hawkeye State caucus win. Her husband John served as John Kerry’s state director during his presidential run and as Tom Vilsack’s chief of staff.

melissawinterMELISSA WINTER
The first lady’s deputy chief of staff was Michelle Obama’s first hire on the presidential campaign, and served as her traveling chief of staff during the election. An 18-year Capitol Hill vet, Winter was Senator Joe Lieberman’s traveling aide during his VP run and director of scheduling during his 2004 presidential race.

Next up: The Domestic Policy Team

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