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Illinois House Representative accepts nomination as Obama's chief of staff
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Rahm Emanuel, a House Representative from Illinois, has accepted the nomination as the next White House chief of staff, said President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday.

Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) (R) discusses the House Democrats 100 Hours Agenda on Capitol Hill as U.S. House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) listens in Washington in this January 10, 2007 file photograph. [Xinhua/Reuters Photo]

"I announce this appointment first because the Chief of Staff is central to the ability of a President and Administration to accomplish an agenda," said Obama in Chicago. "And no one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel."

The selection of Emanuel was the first decision Obama made after he won the presidential elections on Tuesday by a large margin over Republican candidate John McCain.

The 48-year-old Congressman is currently the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House and has a prospect to be the House Speaker. Prior to it, he was a key figure in the former President Bill Clinton's administration as a senior advisor and chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2006 mid-term elections.

Emanuel was known for his strong style and fundraising capabilities, different from those who led Obama's campaign, and his nomination, as U.S. media said, showed a shift in tone for Obama.

Analysts said that Obama assigned the key position to the influential Democrat in Congress to push forward with all legislatures on the Democratic Party's agenda.

As the chief of staff, a top White House appointee, Emanuel is expected to be in the closest circle around the president. Apart from proposing policies, he has authority to decide anyone having access to the president.

In an earlier TV interview on Wednesday, Emanuel said that he felt honored to be selected for the position, but he still had concerns on its impact on his family life.

"I have a lot to weigh: the basis of public service, which I've given my life to, a career choice. And most importantly, what I want to do as a parent."

The first challenge for the president-elect is to form his cabinet before he is sworn in to the White House. Beside Emanuel, Robert Gibbs, Obama's longtime spokesman, is said to be also among those who are being lined up for Obama's administration.

Obama earlier said that he would recruit Republicans in his cabinet but did not disclose any details.

However, media and political analysts speculated that the current secretary of defense, Robert Gates, and the secretary of finance, Henry Paulson, could retain their positions after Jan. 20.

(Xinhua News Agency November 7, 2008)

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