The Blog

Obama Making Enemies on the Hill?

11:15 AM, Jan 15, 2009 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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This might be the first presidential honeymoon that ends before inauguration day:

Ten committee chairmen in the Senate and House said that Obama's advisers did not alert them ahead of time about the incoming president's Cabinet selections. Nine of them learned of the picks from the media, even though the Senate committee chairmen have confirmation authority over them.

The failure to inform has created some turbulence. As soon as Obama announced his selection of former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta to serve as CIA director, a surprised Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), incoming chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, complained that she was not told ahead of time and questioned Panetta's credentials.

When Obama named Rahm Emanuel his Chief of Staff, press reports indicated that part of the rationale was to ensure a beneficial relationship with the leadership on Capitol Hill. Joe Biden has said that he will help the Obama team work its agenda in the Senate. What happened?

The continued absence of Emanuel from the news is interesting. It seems that even though he has been cleared of all wrongdoing by his boss, he is still keeping his head down. But as Charlie Rangel guts Obama's stimulus package, and as Obama's aides give Congressional leaders the cold shoulder, someone with his influence would come in handy right now.