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The Long Campaign
President-elect Barack Obama
(AP Images/

In Focus
Barack Obama's Victory Speech Office of the President-elect
Politically Appointed Jobs with the New Administration

Official Statements
White House Transition page
Statement by Pres. Bush on the Presidential Election (Nov. 5)
Remarks by Sec. Rice on Presidential Election (Nov. 5)
White House Fact Sheet: Ensuring a Smooth and Effective Presidential Transition (Oct. 28)

New Administration (C-SPAN)
Transition to Power (CNN)
The New Team (New York Times)

CRS Report
Presidential Transitions: Issues Involving Outgoing and Incoming Administrations (Oct. 23, 2008) Meet the 44th U.S. President
President-elect Obama Planning Response to Economic Crisis Work Begins Immediately for Next U.S. President and His Team Illinois Congressman is Obama’s First White House Appointment

Photo Gallery: Barack Obama (

ePublication: Barack Obama: 44th President of the United States
President-elect Barack Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama
Vice President-elect Joe Biden
Mrs. Jill Biden

Gallup Daily: Tracking the New Administration’s Progress

Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies


Please note: This website is an illustration of the transition period and has not been updated after the Inauguration on January 20, 2009.

Transition: Work Begins Immediately for Next U.S. President and His Team

Barack Obama will not take the oath of office until January 20, 2009, but work to address the many challenges that await him in the presidency begins immediately.

The New Administration

Roughly two weeks before his inauguration, Barack Obama has already taken numerous steps to prepare for his presidency. The President-elect has filled nearly all of the major posts in his new administration. The new staff of the White House will take up their duties on January 20. However, the 15 Cabinet members and four other Cabinet-level officials (the U.N. ambassador, E.P.A. administrator, budget chief and trade representative) remain subject to Senate confirmation.

Top priorities for the new president will be the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But there are many other important domestic and international concerns. Immediately following his election, Obama began naming and meeting with advisers who will help guide him on these tough issues. (

Foreign Policy Challenges

When Obama becomes president on January 20, 2009, he will become commander in chief of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama has criticized the Iraq war since its beginning and has pledged to begin withdrawing troops as soon as he is inaugurated, with a goal of having most troops out of the country within 16 months.

Throughout his campaign, Obama called for a multilateral approach to foreign policy in which the United States would engage more deeply and more frequently with its allies. American University professor Allan Lichtman told journalists at the State Department’s Foreign Press Center November 3 that he expects the Obama administration will follow through on that pledge. One potential area for increased cooperation is climate change. “I would expect Barack Obama to reopen negotiations with the [European Union] and other nations, including Russia and China, on the problem of global climate change,” Lichtman said.

Political experts caution that external factors often shape a president’s foreign policy. “You never know based on a campaign exactly how a president is going to conduct foreign affairs,” Lichtman said. (

See also:
About the USA > Government > Elections
About the USA > Government > Executive Branch

Texts are abridged from U.S. State Department IIP publications and other U.S. government materials.
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Updated: March 10, 2009