Monday, November 24 2008
When the phone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House during a crisis, President Barack Obama won’t lack for advice. But the question may be whose advice will be the loudest?
Obama’s potential national security team looks like an all-star lineup: Sen. Hillary Clinton is on track, sources say, to be secretary of state; Defense Secretary Robert Gates may stay on; and retired Gen. Jim Jones is a leading candidate for national security adviser.
And according to The New York Times, retired Adm. Dennis Blair may be named as director of national intelligence. He did a tour of duty at the CIA, and his expertise is clandestine military operations.
Observers may wonder if so much high-power talent can get along.
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“Are there downsides? Sure. When you have people with this much stature, there can be ego clashes,” said CNN contributor David Gergen. “Everybody’s ego has got to get into the same room … and in at least one or two of those cases, I’m sure people think that their egos are big enough to fill the room all by themselves.”
Clinton has applauded Gates’ candor but early on put him on notice.
“We need a strong secretary of defense — but that doesn’t mean strong-headed,” Clinton said during Gates’ confirmation hearings in 2006.