He has not been officially inaugurated yet, but the hard work has already started for US President-elect Barack Obama.
Having moved to Washington on Sunday evening, Obama spent the next day selling a 568 billion euro economic stimulus package to congressional leaders. He called for fast, bi-partisan action. “On Friday, we are going to get the final jobs report for this year, and every indication is that we will have lost in 2008 more jobs than at any time since World War Two,” Obama said. Obama has further courted controversy in his choice to head the CIA. Leon Panetta has relatively little experience in national security and is best known for being President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff between 1994 and 1997. The choice is likely to appease liberal activists, who have criticised Obama’s other appointments as too hawkish. The CIA has been at the centre of a number of controversies during the Bush era. They range from perceived intelligence failures over 9-11 and Iraq, to the use of harsh interrogation methods like waterboarding and the secret transfer of terrorist suspects to countries known to use torture.