Transition Race - Update

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Despite the remaining hole in his cabinet at HHS, Obama has maintained his slight lead over George W. Bush in my presidential transition race.  On March 25, 2001, Bush had confirmed appointees sitting in 19 of my list 64 top positions.  As of yesterday, Obama had filled 23.  His advantage stems both from his retentions in DOD and that he was two months faster in filling top jobs at the Department of Justice.

Given the economic crisis, however, it is still somewhat worrisome that Geitner remains the only Senate confirmed appointment at Treasury.  While it is true that Bush did not fill the deputy and undersecretary positions until August of his first year, the times seem to call for a little more haste.  Yet, as of yesterday, the nomination of only one the remaining top three positions has even been referred to committee.  

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The aggregate pace of confirmations is important but only one way of evaluating his performance.

Most previous presidents have prioritized their appointments. Reagan, for example, focused on they "key 87" positions necessary for his economic agenda. Given the importance of both economic policy and foreign policy to his presidency and the nation, it is disconcerting that Treasury and State have so many vacancies at this point. Of course, if you are relying on White House advisory structures to run policy then delays may be less consequential.

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