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Obama Transition Team Focused on Review, Quality Recruitment

Valerie Jarrett, a co-chair of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, details how plans are unfolding to name a new Cabinet and shape the policy priorities of a new administration.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Our Newsmaker interview with Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, and to Judy Woodruff.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    With me now to discuss President-elect Obama's transition and his priorities once in office is Valerie Jarrett. She served as a senior adviser to Obama during the campaign. She's now co-chair of the Obama-Biden transition project.

    Valerie Jarrett, welcome to the NewsHour.

  • VALERIE JARRETT, Obama-Biden Transition Adviser:

    Well, thank you, Judy. Good evening to you. How are you tonight?

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    I'm well. And a personal question first. You've known Barack Obama for, what, 17 years. Is he any different since the election?

  • VALERIE JARRETT:

    Well, no. You know, I think what's amazing about President-elect Obama is that he's very grounded, he knows who he is, he has his priorities straight.

    And so he's heartened by this journey. It's been an amazing journey over the course of the last two years, as if he's traveled from one part of our country to the next and heard so many incredible stories about the strength and resilience of the American people.

    But he's still the same person that I really met 17 years ago. Certainly he's matured and he's grown in the course of those 17 years, but the basic core decency, intellect, judgment, temperament, they're really all just the same.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Well, let's talk about the transition. It's already been a week. You've got 10 weeks to go. Are you where you want to be, where you need to be at this point?

  • VALERIE JARRETT:

    Absolutely. Sen. — President-elect Obama hit the ground running Wednesday morning right after our celebration here in Chicago Tuesday evening. He announced his co-chairs, as you know, last week. He also announced his chief of staff.

    He released today the names of the lead people who are working on the agency reviews of the Defense Department, State Department, Treasury Department. He's had two meetings already with his economic advisers, and he's moving forward, studying all of the agencies throughout the federal government, and beginning his search for the best and the brightest to lead the different agencies and to work in the White House.

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