Sunday, November 23, 2008

Axelrod: No Potted Plants

Obama has a press conference tomorrow, when he's expected to announce Tim Geithner as treasury secretary. Axelrod wouldn't confirm that Bill Richardson would be announced within the next day.
David Axelrod hits all the morning political shows. He says there will be no potted plants in Obama's administration and Axelrod says his advisory style won't be anything like Karl Rove's.
From Politico:
David Axelrod, incoming White House senior adviser, in his first Sunday interview since winning, tells ABC's George Stephanopoulos on 'This Week,' about the stock-market rally following leak that New York Fed president Tim Geithner (GITE-ner) will be Treasury Secretary: 'The response has been great, and it should be. Tim Geithner is uniquely qualified to do this job. He's someone who is steeped in the economy and in managing crises. ... In the '90s, he was the assistant Treasury secretary for international affairs and he handled a couple of international financial crises. And he's someone who, by both temperament and experience, is well-suited for the times we're in. We were gratified by the reaction to news of his pending appointment.'

On Geithner's involvement in the current meltdown: 'Tim Geithner was an early warning system in terms of the need for greater regulation and has been ahead of the curve on a lot of these issues. ... When you look at the history of what he's done over time, he IS the sort of person you'd want when you're facing the kind of economic crisis we have today.'

On whether Secretary of State Clinton would have the full backing of the president and a direct line to the White House: 'I think it's fair to say that all of these appointees will have the full backing of the president. That's why he's selecting them. And the one thing I can tell you from working for six years with Barack Obama -- that he is someone who invites strong opinions. He enjoys that -- he thinks it's an important element of leadership. And I think that he'll have a great working relationship with ... his entire Cabinet. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE POTTED PLANTS. ... They are going to be partners with him in governance, and he is going to encourage that. And I'm sure that that's the message that he's given to EVERYONE he's spoken to about potential positions in the administration.'

***On supporters' reaction to the relatively hawkish potential national security team (Clinton, Gates staying at Pentagon, retired Marine general Jim Jones at national security adviser): 'The president-elect was clear throughout the campaign that when he became president, that he was going to give the secretary of Defense a new mission, and that mission was going to be to wind down our involvement. Nothing has changed. And, obviously, events are moving in that direction as we speak. But our supporters can be -- and the entire nation, and the world can be assured that ... the commitments that he's made are the commitments he's going to keep.'

On his own role in the White House: 'I expect I'll do what I've done for the last six years, which is to try to help organizationally with the message of the administration. Barack Obama knows exactly where he wants to lead. I want to make sure that all communications channels are imparting that message and doing it in a way that's consistent with his vision and his values.'

AXELROD, to Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday,' re Clinton in the Cabinet, and the left wing questioning that kind of change: 'There's one person who's going to set policy in this administration, and that's the president of the United States. That's true on the economy. It's true in foreign policy. And what he wants are the people ... who are most able to help advance that agenda. But the agenda will come from Barack Obama. He has a very clear sense where he wants to lead this country. The people who he's recruiting for these jobs understand what that vision is. And they wouldn't be joining the administration if they're not willing to support and advance it. And everyone who voted for Barack Obama can have great confidence that he's going to follow through on the commitments that he made.'

On the Clintons: 'Some of the obstacles that you mention have been removed. We'll probably make an announcement on some of these national security positions after the holidays. ... Let me separate that from what I'm about to say, which is that Hillary Clinton is a demonstrably able, tough, brilliant person who, ... if she were in a position such as that, would help advance the interests of this administration and this country. And that's the basis on which he would make such an appointment.'

Says he won't do the senior adviser job like Karl Rove: 'I've never accepted that comparison. My role with Barack Obama for the last six years has been to help the communications operation impart his message, his values and his vision to the American people. And I expect to continue to do that. ... My role is circumscribed to those responsibilities. I'm not trying to rebuild the Democratic Party or any of these other -- I think Mr. Rove had quite an expansive portfolio. I think mine is very focused.'

Axelrod on Fox News Sunday: