Saturday, November 1, 2008

Staffing a McCain Administration

Although speculative reports of a future McCain administration are relatively rare compared to the flurry of Obama White House articles we've seen of late, it is worth taking a peek at the names that are emerging given the fact that John McCain is much more than a long shot to win this Tuesday. The Obama White House staff watch has more momentum because Barack Obama's chances to win are seen as greater. The fact that Obama's transition is much more advanced than McCain's has also led to more speculation.

It is interesting to note that Politco reports that McCain transition planners are focused on national security positions as a priority; domestic agencies are taking a back-seat. On the one hand, this is not surprising given Senator McCain's focus on national security issues throughout his public career. On the other hand, given the state of the economy and the Wall Street crisis, it is quite surprising that staffing positions relevant to economic issues is not priority one.

  • White House chief of staff: Lehman or longtime McCain aide and speechwriter Mark Salter

  • Senior counselor to the president: Top campaign official and personal friend Rick Davis

  • Secretary of state: World Bank President and former deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick; Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.); former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage

  • Treasury secretary: FedEx founder Fred Smith; former eBay CEO Meg Whitman; Bain Capital co-founder and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; John Thain, former Merrill Lynch CEO and now president of Global Banking, Securities and Wealth Management at Bank of America

  • Secretary of defense: Lehman; Lieberman; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.); current Defense Secretary Robert Gates

  • Attorney general: Graham; former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.); former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

  • Secretary of education: Former Arizona superintendent of education Lisa Graham Keegan

  • National security adviser: Policy adviser Randy Scheunemann

  • Office of Management and Budget: Former Congressional Budget Office director and campaign adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Two Ohio names are conspicuously absent: Rob Portman and Mike DeWine. Portman has a phenomenal amount of experience in Washington for someone in his early 50s. Portman previously served in the George Bush 41 White House as associate counsel and in the Bush 43 White House as U.S. Trade Representative and OMB Director. The White House experience bookends his 12 years in the House of Representatives. Perhaps Portman has revealed to the McCain folks that he is more interested in staying in Ohio and running for Governor or Senator should George Voinovich retire. If not, his name should be on the short list for just about any high level staff position or Cabinet slot.

Mike DeWine is a name that should also be on the list. DeWine was an early supporter of McCain's presidential bid and is a household name in Ohio. As a former county prosecutor, member of the state legislature, and two-term U.S. Senator, I would think DeWine would be on the short list for Attorney General.

Of course, half of this speculation about McCain and Obama administration personnel will be moot on Wednesday. It is fun to play the name game though.

2 comments:

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