President-elect Obama reaches out to political rivals

President-elect Obama did make many hints during his campaign that he would be open to at least taking advice from his political rivals on key issues. Recent signals indidcate he may be interested in holding true to this sentiment as he’s reportedly seeking to meet with Sen. John McCain about whether he will be an ally in the senate. President-elect Obama is also reportedly considering Sen. Hillary Clinton for a Secretary of State position, though that is largely speculation at this point.

The report on thsi from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON – Presidents typically say they want to be surrounded by strong-willed people who have the courage to disagree with them. President-elect Barack Obama, reaching out to Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republicans, actually might mean it.

Abraham Lincoln meant it. He appointed his bitter adversaries to crucial posts, choosing as war secretary a man who had called him a “long-armed ape” who “does not know anything and can do you no good.”

You could say his Cabinet meetings were frank and open.

Richard Nixon didn’t mean it.

“I don’t want a government of yes-men,” he declared. But among all the president’s men, those who said no did so at their peril. He went down a path of destruction in the company of sycophants.

It so happens that Obama and New York Sen. Clinton share a reverence for “Team of Rivals,” Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book about how Lincoln brought foes into his fold. Clinton listed it during the campaign as the last book she had read. Obama, clearly a student of Lincoln, spoke of it several times.

Now past could be prologue.

Obama is considering Clinton for secretary of state or another senior position, meeting John McCain on Monday to see how his Republican presidential rival might help him in the Senate, and sizing up one-time opponents in both parties for potential recruitment. He made one Democratic presidential opponent, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, his running mate.

“I think it reflects a great inner strength on Obama’s part that he is seriously considering creating a team of rivals as Lincoln did,” Goodwin told The Associated Press on Friday.

“By surrounding himself with people who bring different perspectives, he will increase his options, absorb dissenting views and heighten his ability to speak empathetically to people on different sides of each issue. The challenge, of course, is to ensure that the discussions do not become paralyzing, and that once a decision is made the inner circle accepts that the time for debate is over,” she said.

The Associated Press reports on the Obama/Clinton offer:


Sen. Clinton reacted to questions about her possible appointment as Secretary of State:

Also, in a move consistent with his campaigning and target audience, President-elect Obama will be the first President to simulcast his weekly radio address and make it available in video form on YouTube:


I actually think this is a good idea. President Bush always gave a weekly radio address, as did President Clinton, but where were you supposed to find it other than the White House website? Turning it into a YouTube channel is a good idea and will make his message more easily available on the internet.

So that’s about it, the transition continues amid the economic issues facing the nation. We’ll continue reporting on events as they unfold.