Obama 2.0 still a work in progress
A reboot of President Barack Obama’s White House, dubbed “Obama 2.0″ in a New York Times magazine article, is still showing the hourglass.
Many decisions about staff changes and other key issues are still far from resolved, but behind-the-scenes conversations continue.
Obama, who leaves for a 10-day Asia tour on Friday, will squeeze in time between summits and other events to huddle with aides over these issues.
“The president will, I think, no doubt spend time on the trip in Asia with both staff and with memos working through both reorganization as well as staff positions that need to be filled,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. For example, the position of National Economic Council director being vacated by Larry Summers.
“The sort of notion of Obama 2.0 I think takes into account a lot of different things,” Gibbs said. “We’re only a few hours away from the election and I know (interim White House chief of staff Pete Rouse) and others here are working on a whole series of things that you would likely put under that umbrella.”
In the aftermath of sweeping Republican victories in Tuesday’s congressional elections, pundits are sketching out a range of scenarios for how far Obama might go in recalibrating both his message and his policies.
Some analysts say a decisive shift toward more centrist policies following the example of Bill Clinton in 1994 is not only inevitable but essential if Obama is to win back independent voters.
Other observers believe the tone of contrition Obama struck at Wednesday’s news conference was just that — a change in tone and part and parcel of a fresh communications approach but not a prelude to an overhaul of his policies.
Some signals of the shape and scope of Obama 2.0 may come when the White House begins to make some post-election staff announcements.
The review of staff decisions and other changes is being led by Rouse. At the morning off-camera White House briefing, the LA Times White House correspondent pressed Gibbs on speculation that the staff changes would include Cabinet officials as well.
Gibbs said he would not be able to “add a lot” on that subject.
Obviously there were staffers “transitioning because they’ve come to a natural point in which the public service that they signed up for at the beginning of the administration is coming to its natural conclusion,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of background to talk about in terms of the Cabinet.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts (Obama at a meeting with his Cabinet)