Obama-Biden Transition Project
a 501(c)(4) organization 
updated February 23, 2009

Valerie Jarrett
Senior advisor on the campaign and friend to Michelle and Barack Obama.  Served as finance chair for Obama's 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.  CEO of The Habitat Co., a real estate development and management company; she joined the firm in 1995.  Eight years working for the City of Chicago, first as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Finance and Development, then as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1991, and as Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development from 1992-95.

Pete Rouse
Senior advisor on the campaign.  Rouse served as chief of staff in Obama's Senate office from the beginning of his term; later he split time between the campaign and the Senate before eventually moving over to the campaign full-time.  More than 30 years experience working on Capitol Hill.  Prior to joining Obama, he worked for Sen. Tom Daschle starting in 1985.  Earlier he worked for then Rep. Dick Durbin (D-IL).  Legislative assistant to Sen. Jim Abourezk (D-SD), 1971-75.

John Podesta
President and CEO of the Center for American Progress.  Visiting Professor of Law on the faculty of the Georgetown University Law Center, a position he also held from 1995-97.   Chief of Staff to President Clinton at the White House from Oct. 1998-Jan. 2001; Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff, 1997-98.  Assistant to the President, Staff Secretary and a senior policy adviser on government information, privacy, telecommunications security and regulatory policy, Jan. 1993-95.  In 1988 Podesta and his brother Tony  founded  Podesta Associates, Inc.  Experience on Capitol Hill as Counsel to Democratic Leader Sen. Tom Daschle, 1995-96; Chief Counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee, 1987-88; Chief Minority Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks; Security and Terrorism; and Regulatory Reform; and Counsel on the Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee,1979-81.  Served as a special assistant to the Director of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency, 1978-79.  Worked as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice's Honors Program in the Land and Natural Resources Division, 1976-77.  Graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, 1976.  Graduate of Knox College in Galesburg, IL, 1971.  Author of The Power of Progress: How America's Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate, and Our Country (Crown, Aug. 2008).

Advisory Board
Carol Browner, William Daley, Christopher Edley, Michael Froman, Julius Genachowski, Donald Gips, Governor Janet Napolitano, Federico Peña, Susan Rice, Sonal Shah, Mark Gitenstein, and Ted Kaufman.
Gitenstein and Kaufman co-chairs of Vice President-elect Biden’s transition team.
(see Nov. 5, 2008 press release)    

day to day...
Executive Director
Chris Lu
Chief of staff in Obama's Senate office (started beginning of Sept. 2008; previously Pete Rouse had split between chief of staff and senior advisor to the campaign). Legislative director in Obama's Senate office.  Lu took leave to serve as Obama's communications director for the Feb. 5, 2008 Delaware primary campaign.  Deputy chief counsel for the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee (Rep. Henry Waxman), 1997-2005.  Special advisor for communications to Kerry-Edwards '04.  Worked as a litigator at a D.C. law firm and a law clerk to a federal court of appeals judge.  Graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, where he was a classmate of Obama.

General Counsel
Cassandra Butts
Friend of Obama from law school days.  Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy at the Center for American Progress through summer 2008.  Senior advisor to Obama  in 2004-05.  A senior advisor to Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-MO) and served as the policy director on his 2004 presidential campaign An Assistant Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund.  Legislative Counsel to Sen. Harris L. Wofford (D-PA).  Graduate of Harvard Law School, 1991 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Communications Director
Dan Pfeiffer
Communications director on Obama for America, announced July 15, 2008; previously served as deputy communications director and initially was traveling press secretary.  Communications director for Sen. Evan Bayh's All America PAC (started Sept. 2006); came to the PAC from Bayh's Senate office, where he started in 2005.  Deputy campaign manager on Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2004.  Worked on Sen. Tim Johnson's (D-SD) successful 2002 re-election campaign.  Communications director at the Democratic Governors Association.

Chief Spokesperson Stephanie Cutter
Senior advisor and chief of staff to Michelle Obama on the campaign from June 2008.  Communications director on Kerry-Edwards 2004 and John Kerry for President, announced Nov. 11, 2003.  Communications director for the 2004 Democratic National Convention (also participated in the press operation of the Los Angeles, Chicago and New York conventions).  Communications director for Senator Edward M. Kennedy.  Cutter worked for President Clinton as the deputy communications director at the White House and as the Associate Administrator for Communications at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Originally from Raynham, Massachusetts, Cutter is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Smith College in Northampton, MA.


Personnel Director
Jim Messina
Chief of staff on Obama for America.  Came to the campaign from his position as chief of staff to Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).  Chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), 2003-05.  Campaign manager on Baucus' 2002 campaign.  Chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), 1999-2001.  Campaign manager on Baucus' 1996 campaign.  Chief of staff to state Sen. Mike Halligan, 1995.  Worked on Daniel Kemmis' campaign for mayor of Missoula in 1993.  B.A. from the University of Montana, 1993.  Grew up in Boise, ID.

Associate Personnel Director
Patrick Gaspard
(announced June 18, 2008)  Prior to joining the campaign, Gaspard was executive vice president of politics and legislation for Local 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.  In 2006 he served as acting political director for SEIU international.  National field director for America Coming Together, 2004.  1199 SEIU deputy director.  Chief of staff to New York City Council member Margarita Lopez.

Personnel Counsel
Christine Varney
Partner at Hogan & Hartson; rejoined the firm in 1997.  Served as a Federal Trade Commissioner from 1994-97.  An Assistant to the President and Secretary to the Cabinet.  Practiced law with Hogan & Hartson.  Chief Counsel to the Clinton/Gore Campaign, General Counsel to the 1992 Presidential Inaugural Committee, and General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee from 1989-92.  J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, 1986.  M.P.A. from Syracuse University, 1978.  B.A. from The State University of New York, University at Albany, 1977.

"...manage and review the Agency Review Teams' work and coordinate with other transition teams, including those handling personnel, policy and the budget."
Melody Barnes
(announced Nov. 5, 2008)  Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress.  Chief counsel to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dec. 1995-March 2003.  Barnes’ experience also includes an appointment as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and serving as assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights.  Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City.  Law degree from the University of Michigan and bachelor's degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Co-Chair Lisa Brown
(announced Nov. 5, 2008)  On leave from the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy where she is the Executive Director.  Brown served as Counsel to Vice President Gore, with a broad legal and policy portfolio that included serving on the Executive Board of the President’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities. Before that, she worked in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, was a Partner at the D.C. law firm of Shea & Gardner (now Goodwin Procter), and clerked on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals for the Honorable John C. Godbold.

Co-Chair (and member of the Advisory Board)
Don Gips
On leave from his role as Group Vice President of Global Corporate Development at Level 3 Communications, where he leads merger and acquisition efforts and is the Chief Strategy Officer.  Prior to joining Level 3, Mr. Gips served in the White House as Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Gore. Previously, Mr. Gips was Chief of the International Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission where he was responsible for the WTO negotiations and all spectrum policy.  Mr. Gips also helped launch the Americorps Program at the Corporation for National Service.  Before entering government, he was an Executive Manager at McKinsey & Company.

Agency Review Working Group Members
- Seth Harris, David J. Hayes, Reed Hundt, Sally Katzen, Tom Perez, Sarah Sewall, Ray Rivera, Louisa Terrell, Michael Warren, Tom Wheeler, Jon Wilkins, Jonathan Molot.

Deputy Directors - Lisa Ellman and Joani Walsh.
Special Assistant - Liz Fujii

Agency Review Teams - (began efforts as early as Nov. 14, 2008) 10 broad areas:  Economics and International Trade  -  National Security  -  Justice and Civil Rights  -  Energy and Natural Resources  -  Education and Labor  -  Department of Health & Human Services  -  Science, Tech, Space and Arts  -  Executive Office of the President  -  Government Operations  -  Transportation

"...develop the priority policy proposals and plans from the Obama Campaign for action during the Obama-Biden Administration"
Policy Working Group leaders announced Nov. 19, 2008:

Economic - Daniel K. Tarullo

Daniel K. Tarullo
is Professor of Law at Georgetown University.  He teaches and writes in the areas of banking law, international economic regulation, and economic policymaking.  From 1993 to 1998 he was, successively, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy. From 1995 to 1998 he was also President Clinton’s personal representative to the G7/G8 group of industrialized nations. Prior to joining the Administration, he practiced law, served on the staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and taught at Harvard Law School.

Education - Linda Darling-Hammond
Linda Darling-Hammond is Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University where she has launched the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the School Redesign Network.  Her research, teaching, and policy work focus on issues of school reform, teaching quality and educational equity.  She is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and member of the executive board of the National Academy of Education.  She has been a leader in the standards movement, chairing both the New York State Curriculum and Assessment Council as it adopted new standards and assessments for students and the Interstate New Teachers Support and Assessment Council (INTASC) as it developed new standards for teachers. From 1994-2001, she served as executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a blue-ribbon panel whose 1996 report, What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future, was named in 2006 as one of the most influential affecting U.S. education, and Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation’s ten most influential people affecting educational policy.  She received her BA from Yale University, magna cum laude, in 1973 and her Doctorate in Urban Education from Temple University in 1978.  She began her career as a public school teacher. 

Energy and Environment - Carol M. Browner  [PHOTO]
Carol M. Browner is the longest serving Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency serving from 1993 to 2001.  Prior to that, she served as Florida Secretary of the Environment.  Browner is a founder and principal of The Albright Group LLC, a global strategy firm and of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm that focuses on emerging markets.  Browner serves as the chair of the National Audubon Society Board of Directors, and sits on the Board of Directors of APX, the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Center for American Progress and the League of Conservation Voters.

Health Care - Senator Tom Daschle
Currently, Senator Tom Daschle is an advisor to the law firm of Alston and Bird, where he provides strategic advice on public policy issues such as climate change, energy, health care, trade, financial services, and telecommunications.  He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University and a public speaker.  In 2007, he joined with former Majority Leaders George Mitchell, Bob Dole, and Howard Baker to create the Bipartisan Policy Center, an organization dedicated to finding common ground on some of the pressing public policy challenges of our time. He is also Co-Chair of the ONE Vote ’08 Campaign, along with former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, to address health and poverty in the developing world in a more aggressive and successful way.

Daschle was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, serving eight years.  In 1986, Daschle was elected to the U.S. Senate. Two years later he became the first Co-Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and the first South Dakotan to be elected to a leadership position in the U.S. Congress.  In 1994, Daschle was elected by his colleagues as their Democratic Leader. Daschle is one of the longest-serving Senate Democratic Leaders in history and the only one to serve twice as both Majority and Minority Leader.

Immigration - T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar
T. Alexander Aleinikoff has been Dean of the Georgetown University Law Center and Executive Vice President of Georgetown University since July 2004.  He has been a member of the Georgetown faculty since 1997.  Dean Aleinikoff served as General Counsel and Executive Associate Commissioner for Programs at the Immigration and Naturalization Service for several years during the Clinton Administration. From 1997 to 2004 he was a Senior Associate at the Migration Policy Institute, where he now serves on the Board of Trustees.  He has written widely on immigration, refugee and citizenship law and constitutional law.  Dean Aleinikoff is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Yale Law School.

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar is Professor and Deane F. Johnson Faculty Scholar at Stanford Law School.  His work focuses on how organizations manage complex regulatory, migration, international security, and criminal justice problems.  During the Clinton Administration he served at Treasury as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Enforcement, where he worked on countering domestic and international financial crime, improving border coordination, and enhancing anti-corruption measures.  He has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including Asylum Access and the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation.  He has testified before Congress on immigration policy and separation of powers, and was appointed to the Silicon Valley Blue Ribbon Task Force on Aviation Security.  He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford.  He is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

National Security - James B. Steinberg and Dr. Susan E. Rice
James B. Steinberg is dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs (2006-present) and is a former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Clinton (1996-2000). His previous positions include vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution (2001-2005), director of the Policy Planning Staff (1994-1996) and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Analysis in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1993-1994) at the U.S. Department of State. He is the author of and contributor to many books on foreign policy and national security topics, including, most recently, with Kurt Campbell, Difficult Transitions: Foreign Policy Troubles at the Outset of Power.

Dr. Susan E. Rice served most recently as a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Obama for America campaign while on leave from the Brookings Institution where she is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development Programs.  Rice currently serves on the Obama-Biden Transition Project Advisory Board.  From 1997-2001, she was U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.  Prior to that, Rice served in the White House at the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs and as Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping.  Rice was previously a management consultant at McKinsey and Company.  She received her B.A. in History with Honors from Stanford University and her M.Phil. and D.Phil. (Ph.D.) degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

Technology, Innovation & Government Reform - Blair Levin, Sonal Shah and Julius Genachowski

Blair Levin
is a Managing Director of Stifel Nicolaus and serves as the firm’s principal telecom, media and tech regulatory and strategy analyst.  Prior to his work as an analyst, Mr. Levin served as Chief of Staff to Chairman Reed Hundt at the Federal Communications Commission from 1993 through 1997.  Before joining the FCC, Levin was a partner in the North Carolina law firm of Parker Poe, Poe, Adams and Bernstein.

Sonal Shah heads Google.org’s global development efforts.  Prior to joining Google, she was Vice President at Goldman, Sachs and Co. developing and implementing the firm’s environmental policy.  She is also the co-founder of Indicorps, a U.S.-based non-profit organization offering one-year fellowships Indian-Americans to work on development projects in India.   Sonal also worked at the Center for American Progress on trade, outsourcing and post conflict issues and the Center for Global Development on development policy issues.  Sonal worked at the Department of Treasury from 1995-2002 on various economic issues and regions of the world, including Bosnia, Kosovo, the Asian crisis and sub-Saharan Africa.  During that time she also worked at the National Security Council from 1998-1999.  Sonal received her BA in economics from the University of Chicago and her MA in economics from Duke University.  She is on the Obama-Biden Transition Project Advisory Board.

Julius Genachowski is co-founder of Rock Creek Ventures and LaunchBox Digital, a special advisor at General Atlantic, and a member of various boards of directors and advisors.   From 1997 to 2005, he was a senior executive at IAC/InterActiveCorp, where his roles included Chief of Business Operations, General Counsel, and a member of the Office of the Chairman.   Genachowski served at the Federal Communications Commission from 1994 to 1997, including as Chief Counsel to the Chairman.  >From 1991 to 1994 he served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter, to U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. (ret.), and to Chief Judge Abner J. Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.   He worked in Congress from 1985 to 1988, for Sen. Charles E. Schumer (then a U.S. Representative), and for the joint select committee on the Iran-Contra Affair.   He is on the Obama-Biden Transition Project Advisory Board.

Director of Congressional Relations
Phil Schiliro
Member of the campaign's congressional liaison team, announced July 2008.  Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)'s long-time chief of staff and also the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee's top Democratic staff person since 1997.   In 2004, he moved over to the Senate to work as policy director for Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.  Ran for Congress on Long Island in 1992 and 1994.  Started working for Rep.Waxman in 1982.  Graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School, 1981.  Graduate of Hofstra University.  Native of Baldwin on Long Island, New York.

Director of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs Michael Strautmanis
Member of the campaign's congressional liaison team.  Chief counsel and deputy chief of staff to Obama in his Senate office.  Lobbyist with the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.  Legislative director and counsel to then Rep. Rod Blagojevich.  Chief of staff to the General Counsel at the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Clinton administration.  Practiced law.  J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law, 1994.


Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean
Deputy director of content on the campaign.  Previously worked as a research and communications strategist at CNBC and as Vice President at IMS, Inc., a research consulting firm.  Jarvis-Shean studied at the University of Cape Town and was the fifth generation of her family to attend the University of California, Berkeley, from which she graduated with a degree in political science.  Native of Sacramento, California.


Director of Operations Katy Kale
Comes to the transition from the office Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), where she served as administrative director.  Worked for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) from 2001-07, first as scheduler, then as office manager. 

Director of Operations Brad Kiley
Vice president of finance and operations at the Center for American Progress.  Deputy assistant to the President for management and administration at the White House under President Clinton.  Director of finance and administration for the 1996 Democratic National Convention.  Graduate of Texas Christian University.

New Media Director
Macon Phillips
Deputy Director of New Media for the campaign.  As director of Blue State Digital's Strategy Practice, Phillips developed online programs for clients such as Sen. Ted Kennedy, the DNC and Wal-Mart Watch, including email narrative development, outreach and promotion, online advertising strategy, and website structure and content development.  Prior to joining Blue State, he developed information management networks for various Vermont-based businesses.  A.B. in sociology from Duke University.  Originally from Huntsville, Alabama.

Deputy New Media Director
Cammie Croft
New media rapid response manager on the campaign (oversaw efforts to integrate new media and communications, including managing websites such as FighttheSmears.com and UndertheRadar.com)  Before joining the campaign, Croft built the tracking and media monitoring program at Progressive Accountability, a rapid-response communications advocacy campaign that provided video of Republican Presidential candidates for the mass public. Croft also worked as the rapid response mobilization director for Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, where she led their new media efforts.  B.A. in political science and communication from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Transition Economic Advisory Board

and on the other side of the equation
An executive order signed by President George W. Bush on Oct. 9, 2008 established a Presidential Transition Coordinating Council.  On Nov. 8 White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and John Podesta, chair of President-elect Obama's transition, signed a memorandum of understanding outlining  procedures between the two teams.
White House
Chief of Staff
Josh Bolten
(sworn in on April 14, 2006)  Director of the Office of Management and Budget, sworn in on June 30, 2003, and earlier as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy at the White House, 2001-03Policy director of the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, March 1999-Nov. 2000.  Executive Director, Legal & Government Affairs, for Goldman Sachs International in London, 1994-99.  During the George H.W. Bush Administration, Bolten served three years as General Counsel to the US Trade Representative and one year in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs.  International Trade Counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, 1985-89.  Private practice with O'Melveny & Myers, and worked in the legal office of the US State Department.  AB from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, 1976; J.D. from Stanford Law School, 1980.

Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations
Blake L. Gottesman
(returned to the White House in summer 2008)  Gottesman began his career with a high school internship in the Texas Governor's Office.  He spent a year at Claremont McKenna College, then joined the Bush for President campaign in 1999 and continued on that for almost 18 months.  Worked five-and-a-half years at the White House through June 2006, serving as Bush's personal aide.  Left to go to Harvard Business School and earned an M.B.A..

Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Liaison  Ross Kyle

example: Department of Justice

with assistance from
General Services Administration

Presidential Transition Director
Gail Lovelace
"Gail T. Lovelace was named the federal government's first Chief People Officer on September 11, 1998.  In 2003, she was appointed to be GSA's Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) in accordance with the CHCO Act of 2002."  Previously, Lovelace served as GSA's director and deputy director of human resources.  Degrees from the University of Maryland and the University of Louisville.

Copyright © 2008  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action