SCOOP: McCain and Obama Camps Coordinated on Building Staff Rosters for Next Government

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obama mccain.jpg
A senior Obama campaign official shared with The Washington Note that in July 2008, the McCain and Obama camps began to work secretly behind the scenes to assemble large rosters of potential personnel for the administration that only one of the candidates would lead.
Lists comprised of Democrats and Republicans were assembled, sorted into areas of policy expertise, so that the roster could be called on after the election by either the Obama or McCain transition teams.
This kind of out-of-sight coordination is rare between battling presidential camps and provides some indication that both Obama and McCain intended to draw expertise into their governments from both sides of the aisle — or at least they wanted to appear interested in doing so if the information leaked out about the list development process.
Fascinating tidbit on cooperation behind battle lines.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

42 comments on “SCOOP: McCain and Obama Camps Coordinated on Building Staff Rosters for Next Government

  1. Reeta says:

    Scoop is a content management system originally developed by Rusty Foster. Scoop’s focus is on collaborative publishing, and its feature set is geared toward encouraging user contributions and participation. Scoop is written in Perl and runs via mod perl on Apache web servers with a MySQL database backend. Distributed under the GNU General Public License, Scoop is free software.
    ————–
    Reeta
    http://www.widecircles.com

    Reply

  2. brianna says:

    Hello this is Brianna visiting first time to this site and find it very interesting. I really like to join it.and really want to continue the discussion with this site..
    ——-
    brianna
    Link Building

    Reply

  3. arthurdecco says:

    PissedOffAmerican “Uh, Arthur, I meant “ovine”, with no “b”….”
    My abject apologies for assuming rather than researching. And for my impertinence.

    Reply

  4. Stoick says:

    I’m surprised there aren’t several hundred more comments on this subject. However, I am heartened that some are paying attention. There is absolutely no problem with eternal vigilance…no matter what, no matter when. Personally,I loved Obama until he voted for Telecom Immunity on the FISA reauthorization, and while I want to believe he was playing politics with clear intentions to reverse himself after he was elected…I have no way of knowing just yet. Nor am I certain that Steve’s piece means anything good or bad…yet.But I’m thankful Steve reported it, for good or bad it’s our president and we all own him.

    Reply

  5. MNPundit says:

    If you believe for a moment Sarah Palin would have gone along with this you are nuts.

    Reply

  6. Jay Ballou says:

    What bunch of gullible rubes. There is no reason to believe this — none whatsoever. (I’m not saying it isn’t true — maybe it is, maybe it isn’t — but there’s nothing here that should lead an intelligent person to think that it is.)

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  7. Max-1 says:

    America is in need of a Third Party.
    Don Bacon,
    If Obama, in 2005 said, “… it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in “appeasing” the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda,” then embracing Lieberman back into the fold three years would be “driving out appeasers of the Right”, Yes? Got “CHANGE”?
    An old friend of mine once said, American politics is but the right and left wing of a diseased and dying bird. This article just underscores this poignant statement.

    Reply

  8. bruce says:

    Perhaps, rather than jointly finding staffers for the next administration they were jointly finding staffers to do transition research for the new administration. These people need security clearance and are doing mostly fact-finding, not policy setting. The policy setting would be done by those appointed by the election winner but based on the same set of discovered facts. That’d make more sense unless these “staff rosters” discussed are truly non-partisan, lower-level apolitical types open to just following directions.

    Reply

  9. DFH says:

    This, along with Obama’s “palling around” with the likes of Larry Summers and John Brennan, guarantees that there will be ZERO accountability for the lying, the torturing, the illegal warring, the illegal spying (on US), and the desecration of our constitution which has taken place since Bush 43′s selection by the “Supreme” court.
    Meet the new boss… same as the old boss

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Uh, Arthur, I meant “ovine”, with no “b”….
    ovine 
    –adjective pertaining to, of the nature of, or like sheep.
    ——————————————————————————–
    Origin:
    1820–30; < LL ovīnus, equiv. to L ov(is) sheep + -īnus -ine 1

    Reply

  11. arthurdecco says:

    “Your arguments are nothing more than bleating, (b)ovine obeisance. (They’re) despicably insipid, and a far cry from the kind of people’s engagement that our nation requires for restoration.” posted by POA
    (directed at those who casually excuse, and by extension, encourage, the venal criminal natures of their so-called leaders.)
    Whew!

    Reply

  12. nici says:

    McCain is an asshole.

    Reply

  13. Sue says:

    This is nonsense!
    First, there was no “battle” there was a political campaign.
    Second, it only shows (if true) that they were both working for the Corporate Party, from different branches – but only a fool didn’t know that one!

    Reply

  14. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned this but wouldn’t this kind of nonsense that Steve describes vindicate Ralph Nader?

    Reply

  15. dalivision says:

    I too find this implausible but if it did occur then the question is which side initiated this “coordination”? Only FBI vetting would lead me to believe this took place in July.

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  16. Tuma says:

    “You people are justifying the crime by citing the results of the
    crime. The American people were victims, not co-conspirators.
    There was a HUGE propaganda campaign launched to justify the
    invasion of Iraq. The manipulation and complicity of the Fourth
    Estate was epic in its proportions. News entities were remade to
    advance political agendas, journalists were paid to present
    political advocations as hard news.”
    yes and no. yes there was huge propaganda, and it did convince
    huge swaths of the public. on the other hand, it wasn’t that
    hard to see through the propaganda if one paid the slightest bit
    of attention. in fact, it wasn’t hard to object to the war even if
    one didn’t know all the facts. the rightness of the war wasn’t
    entirely a factual question, but one of judgement, etc.
    so yes, the government carried out huge propaganda. but the
    people have an obligation to become informed and question
    what they read and hear. we’ve become such a consumerist
    society that we expect to be “fed” what we need to know and not
    to have to do any work. by 2004, it was pretty obvious that iraq
    was a disaster and we had been lied into war…and yet bush
    garnered even more votes than in 2000.

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  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    You people are justifying the crime by citing the results of the crime. The American people were victims, not co-conspirators. There was a HUGE propaganda campaign launched to justify the invasion of Iraq. The manipulation and complicity of the Fourth Estate was epic in its proportions. News entities were remade to advance political agendas, journalists were paid to present political advocations as hard news.
    The dumbing down of Americans was part of the crime, one the the perp’s tools.
    You cannot feed a community false information paraded as truth, then blame the community for its reaction to the deception. It is the propagandist at whose feet you should lay the blame.
    Your constant barrage of justifications and excuses for the high crimes of our leaders is truly disheartening, as is your willingness to shrug off the implications of a government that is not held to account by the people.
    We are where we find ourselves because of such excuses, justifications, and apothetic acceptence of an elite ruling class that long ago ceased to represent the people or the law.
    Your arguments are nothing more than bleating, ovine obeisance. Its despicably insipid, and a far cry from the kind of people’s engagement that our nation requires for restoration.

    Reply

  18. Mr.Murder says:

    Bill Clinton tried the same thing and people like Cohen nearly brought him down.

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  19. DonS says:

    Putting together a list of folks who know “how to pull the levers of power” in DC — seen as a necessary skill for an incoming administration to hit the ground running — just common sense??
    Me, I’m just amazed there are that many individuals out there with egos huge enough to think they can take top positions in government and make decisions that affect the lives of millions. I guess they all just stroke each other.
    BTW, we all know that its really the responsible long term civil servants who are the repository of information of how the government really works, and how to work it.
    If you were Bush of course, you didn’t really care about THAT reality of course. They just used a meat cleaver to make their own.
    And as far as collaboration I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing, just the way things are, or a horrible indicator. I’m not an optimist.

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  20. Shane Harris says:

    Welcome to one party government. There really is no difference. We Americans sure know how to put on a show though, eh?

    Reply

  21. questions says:

    …,
    I believe I indicated the need to examine all of the Bush regime assumptions and toss out as needed. The key here is not feramongering, but carefulness. There may be parts of the GWOT-thing that are relevant and there are likely HUGE exaggerations. I personally don’t know which way is up through all of this mess, and I’d prefer a slow go-over rather than a toss-it-all-out strategy. I don’t think that it’s insane to ask for a slowing of the partisan pendulum swings, a careful review of Bush’s legacy, and the considered ejection of foolish, dangerous and tyrannical policies. I merely hope that the cleansing process leads to peace and not to a reign of terror. It’s worth remembering that the left can be as insane as the right and the center.

    Reply

  22. TonyForesta says:

    Intriguing post bobby b, and a poignant inquiry. After all the analysis, and collation of numerous streams of information, and diligent reflection that forms the bullwark of an opinion, I usually trust my instincts,… and this “Fascinating tidbit ” feels icky.

    Reply

  23. bobby b says:

    If this is true, (and by “this”, I don’t mean the innocuous reading that could be made of this, but the far more serious underlying tone that seemingly suggests that the two candidates had agreed at some point pre-vote that they would be drawing heavily from the same talent pool for their expert help no matter who won), it’s troubling.
    Why would this trouble me? The two candidates descended into a mutual character assassination as they battled for our votes, their platforms were distinguished one from the other in vituperative terms, they each left us no doubts that they would be governing from very different points of view, and yet, here they were seemingly in secret agreement that each one would be moving to the middle should they win.
    Am I missing something? This sounds so completely dishonest to the voters, who were obviously not going to get what they thought they were voting for no matter who won.
    Or is this too broad and deep of a meaning to ascribe to an administrative-efficiency measure?

    Reply

  24. Dan Kervick says:

    Well, I assume that any presidential campaign begins the process of assembling lists of possible appointees early in the game, so they can send out feelers, do some preliminary vetting, determining who is actually available, etc. They would naturally tend to keep these preliminary explorations secret, for many reasons, one of which is that the media or the opposing campaign would likely spin these prudent steps as an “arrogant” counting of unhatched chickens.
    I also assume the Obama camapign quietly asked many important statespeople and leaders in different fields whom they would suggest for such a list. It may be that John McCain was just one of those senior statesmen. If that’s all that is being reported here, then it doesn’t seem like much of a big deal.
    However, the way Steve describes the process, he makes it sound like Obama and McCain were in effect working jointly on the shape of future administration, with only the president of that administration to be selected by the election. He says, “they began to work secretly behind the scenes to assemble large rosters of potential personnel for the administration that only one of the candidates would lead.” He uses the term “coordination”, and suggests the two campaigns were engaged in a process to choose some sort of joint roster of candidates from which the post-election appointments would be made.
    This sounds wildly, wildly implausible to me. For one thing, there is just no need for that kind of “coordination”. And despite efforts at bipartisanship, some real and some just for show, Republicans tend to select almost all Republicans for the top positions, and Democrats do the same. And that’s the way it should be. That’s why we have elections, after all.
    But perhaps what might have been happening is that the two campaigns both knew that they were each doing some preliminary vetting of possible appointees, and they decided to share their vetting profiles. That’s not any really substantial degree of coordination on the upcoming administration, just a small courtesy.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “unfortunately some folks bought into that line of fear mongering and some like yourself go so far as to continue to nurture it”
    Bingo. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll seek to convince you that somehow you were complicit in shoving chemical lightsticks up Muslim rectums just by virtue of the fact that you’re an American citizen.

    Reply

  26. Don Bacon says:

    Many of you haven’t been listening.
    Obama ran on a promise for change, but the change, in his view, was from partisanship to cooperation because Washington was viewed as a contentious place where nothing positive was accomplished due to inter-party bickering. Obama promised to change all that and foster cooperation.
    from Obama’s DailyKos diary posting from 2005:
    “According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists – a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog – we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda. In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in “appeasing” the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda. The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era. I think this perspective misreads the American people.”
    Robert Gates is next.

    Reply

  27. ... says:

    questions quote >>The big concern, likely, is vulnerability to attacks or collapse if the transition is rocky at all.<< the bush admin was very good at spreading fear while silencing inquisitive minds… your comment is right in line with the same intent, whether conscious or not… unfortunately some folks bought into that line of fear mongering and some like yourself go so far as to continue to nurture it..

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yet one more strong indication that accountability is “off the table”. You can’t very well indict your own appointees.
    Why doesn’t this posturing fraud just move the whole slimey crew into the White House? The Bush clan, the Clintons, and the Obamas can simply co-habitate in the White House, and put the finishing touches on flushin’ us down the crapper.

    Reply

  29. Carroll says:

    I also find this creepy.
    I find most of BO’s appointments so far to be creepy.
    How does raiding the crypt to staff his adm equate with change?
    I guess when you have no clear idea of your own on what you want to do or how to do it you surround yourself with conflicting opinions and then just pick one.
    I have zero confidence.

    Reply

  30. Matt says:

    Well, on the Republican side of this, I hope the people who thought Sarah Palin would be “good for America” are not the same ones suggesting potential personnel for this newly revealed show of supposed non-partisanship.

    Reply

  31. questions says:

    The big concern, likely, is vulnerability to attacks or collapse if the transition is rocky at all. No intell must be ignored, no insights of the outgoing regime should be left unanalyzed, nothing the exiters take seriously should be dropped without a careful and thorough reading byt the incoming group. Remember, the Clinton people were serious about bin Laden, the Bush people weren’t. The goal is complete professionalism throughout. I feel a little less grossed out by McC after reading this post.

    Reply

  32. TonyForesta says:

    Word arthurdecco. I find this story unsettling, or even creepy. Obama ran on a platform of change, and most of those who voted for him expect that his administration would at least attempt to exact that change. That change involves repudiating the lawlessness, systemic deception, wanton profiteering, and fascists corporatist policies and machinations of the bushgov. While reconciliation seems the mantra de jour, – when examining the political, social, legal, and economic carnage, and the catastrophic costs and debts that Obama will inherit from the bushgov’s wayward and pernicious policies, ideoloogies, and machinations, – how can there be anything gained by coordinationg in anyway with McCain or the gop. What benefit could Obama possibly be reap by coordinating or cooperating with the opposition candidate, and a candidate whose policies and platforms advocated with very few exceptions the exact same costly, bloody, failed policies and lawlessness of the bushgov?
    Though I support Obama, this “Fascinating tidbit” and some of the recent appointments and socalled reconciliation activity leave uneasy, and questioning if the change we all want, and voted for, and desperately NEED, is really Obama’s intention, – or if as authurdecco states “(confirms) that the USA is governed by a single, corporatist party”

    Reply

  33. Spunkmeyer says:

    What could this possibly mean? Both camps are aware that the U.S.
    is teetering on the brink of financial and economic disaster.
    Doesn’t matter is you’re using distilled or spring water when the
    house is on fire.

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  34. insider says:

    steve clemons has his information correct. what he learned is not a
    state secret. it was just not reported by anyone.

    Reply

  35. Steven Clemons says:

    Dan — I was as surprised as you, and I wasn’t in a position when
    discussing this to get a lot more than I did. What I “think” I was
    hearing is that this was an apolitical effort to define a good list of
    top policy experts without regard to political or ideological tilt.
    There were a couple of us that heard this — and we were all
    surprised, but also frankly — we were impressed.
    Matt — I don’t think Palin constitutes the sort of policy experts
    that were being assembled for this list.
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  36. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks buzz — yes, I am sure — but I don’t know all of the
    details. I haven’t seen the list. I have confirmed this on the
    Republican side as well. This was a collaborative act. I don’t know
    “how” collaborative – -but I know that there was a sense in both
    campaigns that a pool of solid policy experts — regardless of party
    affiliation — was in the national interest. I don’t know if the list
    was used or formed a basis for what John Podesta and others
    started with — but I have confirmed that in July this process was
    begun. I think it’s highly impressive. I am hoping that other news
    organizations who are better resourced just go out and nail the
    rest of the story. best, steve clemons

    Reply

  37. buzz says:

    Hmmm … are you sure you are not confusing the initiative by both campaigns to submit lists of potential appointees to the FBI prior to the election in order to speed up vetting of likely Administration nominees? For what it’s worth, that is the first time this has ever occured in a presidential campaign, so it was very noteworthy.

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  38. Matt says:

    Did George W. get to slip any names into the pot? How about Sarah Palin?

    Reply

  39. Dan Kervick says:

    I don’t really understand the story, Steve. Why would this kind of collaboration be necessary? Surely the campaigns and their staffs are perfectly capable of generating their own lists of qualified job seekers.

    Reply

  40. arthurdecco says:

    This is just another piece in the puzzle confirming that the USA is governed by a single, corporatist party, Mr. Clemons. It doesn’t matter who “officially” is awarded the Presidency – the real power rests with the puppet masters – not the McCains or Obamas of the world.

    Reply

  41. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks Chris — It wouldn’t be appropriate. But the story is verifiable if the networks or other major news dailies just call the campaign directors. They have no reason to hide this now — it’s just no one has asked them. I’m not going to compromise my source though. best, steve clemons

    Reply

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