Obama sets record for top Hispanics
Dec 16, 2008
By Mike Allen
President-elect Obama has already broken White House records for the number of top Hispanic officials, and is expected to name two more in the next day or two, according to transition officials.
“Based on what I can cull from records, we have more Hispanics in senior positions in this White House than under either President Bush or President Clinton,” incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said in an interview.
“Diversity wasn’t the driving force here," Emanuel added. "I’m proud of the fact that it is a diverse staff. But most importantly, the quality is of a single standard. We wanted to make sure that we got a great staff of seasoned people — both on the policy front and on the political front — who know their stuff.”
Emanuel said that was achieved partly by drawing from a combination of the campaign, Capitol Hill and policy-development organizations.
According to research by the Obama transition:
— The maximum number of Latino Assistants to the President at any one time was two: under President Bill Clinton in 1998 and 2000.
— The maximum number of Latino Assistants and Deputy Assistants to the President combined at any one time was five — in the current Bush White House and in the Clinton White House in 1998.
Obama has already named these well-known Hispanics to his government:
— New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be secretary of commerce
— Nancy Sutley to be Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality
— Moises "Mo" Vela to be Director of Administration, Office of the Vice President
— Louis Caldera to run the White House Military Office
— Cecelia Munoz to be director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
The following announcements are likely in the next day or two:
— U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), for secretary of the interior
— Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion is rumored to be the president-elect’s choice to head the new White House Office of Urban Policy.