Emanuel Is Obama's Chief of Staff

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[Election 2008: Transition]

Barack Obama's fellow Chicagoan Rahm Emanuel, the
hard-charging No. 3 Democrat in the House, has accepted the job of White
House chief of staff, Democratic officials said Thursday.

One of Obama's first decisions as president-elect was to ask the
Illinois congressman to run his White House staff. The selection of the
fiery Democrat marked a shift in tone for Obama, who chose more low-key
leadership for his presidential campaign.

Emanuel, who served as a political and policy aide in the Clinton
White House before running for Congress, weighed the family and
political considerations before accepting. He will have to resign his
seat, relinquish his position in the House Democratic leadership and put
aside hopes of becoming House speaker.

Democratic officials who disclosed Emanuel's acceptance did so on the
condition of anonymity to avoid angering Obama's team; it had not
planned to announce the chief of staff position on Thursday.

In offering the White House post to Emanuel, Obama turned to a fellow
Chicago politician with a far different style from his own, a man known
for his bluntness as well as his single-minded determination.

House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio called Emanuel "an ironic choice
for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make
politics more civil, and govern from the center."

Before accepting the job, Emanuel told Chicago's WLS-TV that he was
honored to be considered but needed to weigh the impact on his family.
"I have a lot to weigh: the basis of public service, which I've given
my life to, a career choice. And most importantly, what I want to do as
a parent," Emanuel said in an interview aired Wednesday. "And I know
something about the White House. That, I assume, is one of the reasons
that President-elect Obama would like me to serve. But I also know
something about what it means to a family."

As word of Emanuel's acceptance spread Thursday, Obama was meeting
privately in Chicago with U.S. intelligence officials preparing him to
be commander in chief and transition team leaders tasked with building
his entire administration in 10 short weeks.

The president-elect planned his first public appearances since his
victory for Friday.

Aides said he will meet with economic advisers to discuss the nation's
financial woes — Americans listed the economy as their top concern
on Election Day — and then talk to the news media. Aides also said
that Obama and his wife, Michelle, will visit the White House on Monday
at President Bush's invitation.

"Michelle and I look forward to meeting with President Bush and the
first lady on Monday to begin the process of a smooth, effective
transition," Obama said in a statement. "I thank him for reaching out in
the spirit of bipartisanship that will be required to meet the many
challenges we face as a nation."

Obama advisers said he was selecting the leaders of the new government
with a sense of care over speed, with no plans to announce Cabinet
positions this week.

Aside from Emanuel, several Obama aides said other White House
officials were being lined up, including Robert Gibbs as the likely pick
for press secretary. Gibbs has been Obama's longtime spokesman and
confidant and was at Obama's side from his 2004 Senate campaign through
the long days on the presidential campaign trail.

Obama planned to stay home through the weekend, with a blackout on
news announcements so that he and his staff can get some rest after a
grueling campaign and the rush of their win Tuesday night. He is
planning a trip to Hawaii in December to get away with his family before
their move to the White House — and to honor his grandmother, who
died Sunday at her home there.

Obama began Thursday as he usually does, with a workout. Later, he
planned to visit with the transition team he officially announced
Wednesday but had been under way for weeks. Officials had kept
deliberations under wraps to avoid the appearance of overconfidence in
the weeks leading to Tuesday's election.

He also spent time at the FBI office in Chicago, a secure location for
him to receive his first president's daily brief.

The document is mostly written by the Central Intelligence Agency and
includes the most critical overnight intelligence. It is accompanied by a briefing from
top intelligence officials that typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour,
although Obama's first is expected to be longer.

Liz Sidoti reported from Washington. Associated Press Special
Correspondent David Espo in Washington and AP reporter Beth Fouhy in
Chicago contributed to this report.

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