In assembling his Cabinet lineup at a faster pace than any of his predecessors, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has once again proved he is still the "No Drama" guy who prefers stability and pragmatism at a volatile time.
By the day before he started a 12-day Christmas vacation in Hawaii on Dec. 20, seven weeks after his election, Obama had managed to fill almost all of the key posts in his White House.
According to the White House Transition Project, a nonpartisan group that studies presidential hand-overs, the president-elect outpaced every predecessor in forming his cabinet.
What's more impressive to many observers is that Obama named his top advisers and secretaries in a very balanced way that reflects comprehensive deliberations and hints at a practical, way of-the-middle governing style.
A team of rivals
It's no secret that Obama admires the governing style of Abraham Lincoln, another outstanding politician and U.S. president from Illinois.
"Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his Cabinet because whatever, you know, personal feelings there were, the issue was, ‘How can we get this country through this time of crisis?," Obama said during his presidential campaign.
Lincoln appointed three former rivals within his party to his cabinet, which was called a "team of rivals" by historians.
Obama followed suit by inviting two former Democratic presidential contenders to join his cabinet, including Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as nominee for State of Secretary and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as nominee for Secretary of Commerce. Senator Joe Biden, another rival, became vice president-elect.
Moreover, Obama also named two allies of Clinton to cabinet posts.
Tom Vilsack, Obama's choice for agriculture secretary, served as co-chair of Clinton's presidential campaign while Hilda Solis, nominated to be labor secretary, was a Clinton supporter in the House of the Representatives.
Obama's cabinet has a bipartisan feature, too, notably with the decision to retain Robert Gates, the current defense secretary who has close ties to the Bush family, at the Pentagon.
Ray LaHood, Obama's choice for secretary of transportation, is a Republican.
Obama also showed a preference for experienced elected officials for cabinet posts.
Among the nominees for 15 cabinet secretaries and 5 cabinet-level officials, there are six former and current members of Congress, three former and current governors, and one former mayor.
Political analysts such as Charlie Cook, editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, sees the appointments as a good sign.
By choosing "people who have faced and been responsive to voters, but not smacking of hacks," Obama has walked a "fine line", said Cook.