(Chicago-Illinois) President-elect Barack Obama wasted no time during his first press conference addressing both the Nation's rising unemployment and staffing his cabinet is one turn. His cabinet will be headed by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and "415,000 of the most intelligent, incisive and hard working folks that I know, currently unemployed Americans."
David Axlerod, President-elect Obama's campaign manager and now adviser to the administration, described the genesis. "President-elect Obama saw this month's job report, how for the month of September alone jobs declined, 284,00, double what the government estimates were in last month's report. That's when it hit him. We've got a cabinet to staff." However, President-elect Obama was quick to qualify. "I want to stress here that I maintain my commitment to halt unnecessary government spending. The job losses for September and October total 524,000. But we're only going to have a staff of 415,000. I mean no disrespect to the 109,000. But we needed to qualify these people."
President-elect Obama said there was precedent for this. "During the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt started the WPA, CCC, government agencies to employ skilled workers. I see no difference." The President-elect did realize there would be problems. "Chairs for one, because we can't expect these folks to stand. These meetings are fairly lengthy. But even here, I see opportunity. Someone has to make those chairs. That means more employment. To how many past cabinets can you say, simply by virtue of them sitting down they are allowing other American to get back up on their feet by getting jobs."
The bold move quickly drew fire from Republicans. One of the first shots was from House Republican leader John Boehner. "Here is a President-elect who ran under a campaign of controlled spending. And you know how he's going to do it? Those 415,000 chairs are coming from IKEA by way of a Chinese factory."
Acting true to his no nonsense "bad cop" reputation, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel answered Congressman Boehner's allegation. "The possibility of these chairs coming from a Chinese factory are about as likely as Sarah Palin being able to name the Presidential order of succession passed President." Acting true to his "good cop" role, President-elect "No drama Obama" choose a more circumspect answer. "These chairs will not be from IKEA, Office Depot nor even my personal favorite Staples. They will be from the American people. As to the former Republican Vice Presidential nominee being able to cite the Presidential rules of succession, I can only say the Nation's loss is Wasilla's….well, let's just leave it at that."