Obama defends picks: 'Vision for change comes from me'
President-elect Barack Obama has been coming under fire from some observers who believe that his campaign message of change is being undercut by his appointment of Clinton-era figures and other familiar Washington faces to many cabinet and top advisory positions.
Obama responded to these charges at a Wednesday press conference, insisting his vision for change would come "from me."
"What we are going to do is combine experience with fresh thinking. Understand where the vision for change comes from, first and foremost," Obama said. "It comes from me. That's my job, is to provide a vision in terms of where we are going and to make sure then that my team is implementing it."
"I suspect that you would be troubled," Obama told the reporters, "and the American people would be troubled, if I selected a treasury secretary ... who had no experience in government whatsoever. ... We need people who are going to be able to hit the ground running."
An Associated Press analysis suggests that similar considerations are at work in Obama's building of his national security team, including his reported intention to hold over Bush's Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, for at least a year, writing, "Obama has assembled a national security brain trust populated by graybeard establishment figures with decades of combined experience and even a few medals. He is entrusting critical wartime management to people with unassailable credentials and low buzz factor."
"You have a young president still trying to establish his bona fides and he has to have a seasoned team," Stephen Flanagan, director of the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies told the AP.
At Salon on Tuesday, Glenn Greenwald cautioned "that deep skepticism is warranted when we're told that The Serious Adults have entered the room and are in charge now."
"But between too much trust and reverence on the one hand, and too much skepticism on the other, the last eight years should have taught -- but don't seem to have -- that the former is far more dangerous than the latter," Greenwald wrote.
A video of Obama's statements is available at Stein's Huffington Post blog.