CBS: Barack Obama’s Non-Controversial Cabinet

Jeff Glor and Marcus Mabry, CBS On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Jeff Glor discussed Barack Obama’s latest cabinet picks with New York Times editor Marcus Mabry: "We'll start with Tom Daschle, potentially, secretary of Health and Human Services." Mabry approved of the choice: "...he's going to be the czar for over -- for overhauling the American health care system. That is a huge job and incredibly important. He knows how to get it done. He knows the Senate. He's going to help President Obama actually get it through." Mabry made no mention of a Wednesday New York Times article that highlighted Daschle’s numerous potential conflicts-of-interest in the position. In addition, no liberal label was applied to Daschle or any of Obama’s picks.

Glor then briefly mentioned Obama’s attorney general pick, but did not ask Mabry to comment: "Eric Holder, we know about. We've been talking about him for a couple days. He seems to be Barack Obama's pick for Attorney General." Holder, who was deputy attorney general under Bill Clinton, helped approve the pardon for convicted tax evader Marc Rich. Glor then discussed the possibility of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano being named Homeland Security secretary. Mabry provided little evidence of Napolitano’s qualifications: "Well, she's a real tough one when it comes to border security. Governor Napolitano, will be a woman in an incredibly important job."

The only hint of controversy with any of Obama’s potential cabinet picks came when Glor turned to Hillary Clinton: "...let's talk about Hillary Clinton, because this seems like more of a go now than it did just a couple days ago. There were questions about whether her husband wanted to curtail his international travel. It sounds like she wants it." Mabry replied: "Her husband, most importantly, President Clinton has made it very clear he's willing to work with the Obama administration going forward and do -- disclose everything, every donor who's ever given to the Clinton Global Initiative, everything they want as far as transparency, President Clinton is willing to give them, so that his wife, should she want this job, would have it."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:00AM TEASE:

JULIE CHEN: President-elect Obama builds his cabinet, we'll tell you what roles Tom Daschle and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano will play.

7:08AM SEGMENT:

JEFF GLOR: President-elect Barack Obama is starting to build his cabinet now. And joining us is Marcus Mabry, who is with the New York Times. Marcus, good morning to you.

MARCUS MABRY: Morning, Jeff.

GLOR: Also an expert on this, you wrote a book on a current cabinet member, Condoleezza Rice-

MABRY: Yes.

GLOR: -so you know what you're talking about here. Let's get right to it, let's start with the cabinet positions we're pretty much sure about. We'll start with Tom Daschle, potentially, secretary of Health and Human Services. This is a sprawling organization.

MABRY: It's an incredibly important bureaucracy in the government, one of the largest we have. At the same time, Tom Daschle, a former Senate Majority Leader, will also be in charge of health care reform, he's going to be the czar for over -- for overhauling the American health care system. That is a huge job and incredibly important. He knows how to get it done. He knows the Senate. He's going to help President Obama actually get it through.

GLOR: And he wrote a book on it, so potentially working closely with Ted Kennedy in the Senate.

MABRY: Literally wrote the book on it.

GLOR: He's been in and out of this quite a bit. Eric Holder, we know about. We've been talking about him for a couple days. He seems to be Barack Obama's pick for Attorney General. I want to move, though, to Janet Napolitano, because this is a great buzz right now. She, potentially, the Governor of Arizona, could be Homeland Security director. Why is she a choice here?

MABRY: Well, she's a real tough one when it comes to border security. Governor Napolitano, will be a woman in an incredibly important job. Homeland Security, of course, is the newest bureaucracy we have and the most important because it has directly to do with our domestic security. That's certainly going to be a huge challenge for this Democratic administration.

GLOR: And she was considered for a time potentially for VP. She was mention in that pile of people, at least.

MABRY: Absolutely. The challenge for the Obama Administration is to be as diverse as the Bush Administration was. This is one of those picks that also helps in the diversity scale.

GLOR: And find people that necessarily weren't in the Clinton Administration as well?

MABRY: That is a challenge. Right now a lot of people are saying to Barack Obama 'you said this was going to be an administration about change but you're bringing back lots of old Clintonians, so let's see someone new. Napolitano one of those new people.

GLOR: Speaking of the Clinton's, let's talk about Hillary Clinton, because this seems like more of a go now than it did just a couple days ago. There were questions about whether her husband wanted to curtail his international travel. It sounds like she wants it.

MABRY: She does want it, most likely. Her husband, most importantly, President Clinton has made it very clear he's willing to work with the Obama administration going forward and do -- disclose everything, every donor who's ever given to the Clinton Global Initiative, everything they want as far as transparency, President Clinton is willing to give them, so that his wife, should she want this job, would have it.

GLOR: And we're talking about secretary of state here, which would be a disappointment for Governor Bill Richardson, who brought a lot of Hispanics into the fold, but the question is where he goes if he doesn't get that position. Let's move to treasury. We can't overstate the importance of the treasury secretary at this point, given the financial turmoil. Tim Geithner and Larry Summers seem like the two biggest candidates. Who do think’s going to get it?

MABRY: They are, you know, at this point, if we're talking about having too many Clintonians, Larry Summers, of course, was President Clinton's treasury secretary, would be out of the running in that extent, if one wants to bring new people, if one wants to bring new bodies, new blood, a kind of best and brightest. Tim Geithner, head of the New York Fed, really at the center of this Wall Street meltdown we've seen, someone with lots of experience in this particular morass, someone who might be able to bring more confidence, restore confidence to the markets.

GLOR: We will wait and see what happens. Marcus Mabry from the New York Times, good to see you sir.

MABRY: Good seeing you, Jeff.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC