Princeton Alumni May Be Chosen For Obama's Cabinet

This story was written by Kelly Lack, The Daily Princetonian


When President-elect Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., enters the White House on Jan. 20, 2009, he may bring a number of Princeton alumni with him.

On Wednesday, Obama and Vice President-elect Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., announced the creation of the Obama-Biden Transition Project to coordinate their ascension to the Executive Branch, naming Obama campaign Director of Legislative Affairs Christopher Lu '88, who was a Wilson School concentrator, as its executive director.

In addition to ensuring a smooth transition, the committee will be charged with helping decide who will serve in Obama's cabinet. It will begin examining various government departments and agencies and acquiring necessary security clearances for key people.

Wilson School concentrator Michael Froman '85, a managing director at Citigroup, was one of a dozen appointed to the advisory board of the Obama-Biden Transition Project, which will be housed in offices in Washington and a federal building in Chicago. The New York Times reported Wednesday that Obama and his transition committee are expected to remain in Chicago for the rest of the week.

Several Princeton alumni are under consideration for positions in Obama's cabinet, according to politico.com, washingtonpost.com and other politics news sites.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker '49, who was also in the Wilson School, has been mentioned as a candidate for Obama's treasury secretary, a critical position in light of the current financial crisis. Volcker is perhaps best known for fighting the rampant inflation of the 1980s by aggressively raising interest rates during his time as Fed chairman under the Carter and Reagan administrations.

Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan '81 and U.S. Second Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor '76, both history concentrators, have been mentioned as possible nominees for the Supreme Court, assuming vacancies during Obama's presidency. Sotomayor is also a university trustee.

Politico.com reported that former New Jersey governor and 9/11 Commission chairman Tom Kean '57, a history concentrator, is under consideration for education secretary. Kean is currently board chairman at THK Consulting.

Though Kean is a Republican, Kean told The Daily Princetonian in November 2006 that he has "always tried to reach across the partisan aisle" and has been no friend of the Bush administration. As chair of the 9/11 Commission, he criticized former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld '54 for making "horrendous mistakes" in conducting the war in Iraq.

Kean, Kagan and Volcker could not be reached for comment. Reached by phone, an assistant to Sotomayor explained that Sotomayor is not currently speaking to the press.

Froman, a former treasury department official, has been mentioned as a prospect for economic adviser to Obama. As of Wednesday afternoon, Froman was traveling and could not be reached for comment. Froman was a classmate of Obama's at Harvard Law School.

Joshua DuBois GS '05, who received his MPA from the Wilson School and served as the Obama campaign's director for religious life, is under consideration for the director of the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Obama's renamed faith-based office. DuBois was not available for an interview Wednesday.

Though the formation of the transition committee was only announced Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that Obama-Biden staff members had already started to vet cabinet prospects before Obama's victory was announced. According to the Post, staff have suggested looking "outside the box" in choosing people for several top positions in the Obama-Biden administration. The Obama-Biden team might start annuncing its decisions for cabinet posts as early as next week.

In addition to the transition committee, the Post reported Wednesday that the Obama-Biden team was also scheduled to launch a new official website for the transition, www.change.gov. As of last night, the site was password-protected and not available to the public.
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