November 22nd, 2008
12:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama's vetting could chase away candidates

President-elect Barack Obama's transition team is subjecting prospective employees to rigorous vetting.

President-elect Barack Obama's transition team is subjecting prospective employees to rigorous vetting.

(CNN) - When it comes to vetting potential high-level advisers, is President-elect Barack Obama too cautious for his own good?

As a presidential candidate, the former Illinois senator quickly adopted the nickname "No Drama Obama" for the meticulous level of prudence he applied to nearly every campaign speech, strategy decision and personnel appointment. The result was a nearly two-year-long presidential bid most notable for its seeming lack of a damaging gaffe or embarrassing misstep.

But some political observers say the president-elect's similar caution with respect to recruiting new administration officials and key high-level advisers may be turning away a string of qualified candidates wary of subjecting themselves and their families to the most rigid presidential vetting process on record.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. KEEP IT UP, President-elect!

    We the people do NOT want CROOKS serving themselves in our name,

    clouding your vision and tarnishing your credibility.

    there are more than enough talent out there.

    look farther and you'll find the genuine public servants!

    November 22, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. mjc

    Sure, Obama should subscribe to John McCain's method of vetting candidates.

    November 22, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Rose

    I see nothing wrong with the vetting process. Quite frankly, if they've got something to hide, they have no business in this new administration. It's as much about keeping out the crooks as it is restoring our image across the world. This time, we really are hiring only the best and the brightest.

    November 22, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. Joyce in Florida

    It goes along with the territory. If they want a position in the new Cabinet, they should have no qualms about the vetting procedure. If it scares them away, then they might possibly have something to hide. I think being careful and proceeding along with the vetting process is a very good thing. Unfortunately, I do not think it was done during the current Administration and look at where we are now. Hmmmmm. Stop the whining and let our new President-elect do his job. Obama is a smart and calculative man and will do what is best for our country. God knows we need that now. This Hillary Clinton supporter and white female supports Obama and his choices. He has made many excellent ones so far. Go OBAMA/BIDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 22, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Andrea, California

    NO, if they have something to hide, Obama nor i want them. Im not Obama crazy, but i agree with this, No Drama is the way to get things done. Or at least keeping it to a minimal at the starting point is perfect, good for him. And also shows that you Clinton haters know. Always thinking theyre hiding something, seems like they couldnt be more open.

    November 22, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Bay Area

    Good for Obama. If a candidate is wary of the vetting process, then perhaps he/she is not in the best interest of the nation. There are too many scandals these days.

    November 22, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. renee

    I do not blame him....just look at what the 24 hr news coverage has created! "extreme scrutiny' of every single gesture, spoken word, facial expression of the political figures. Maybe people are not happy because they may not have anything to criticize!!!!!

    November 22, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Gilbert

    You need to know who is working with you. Keep it up.

    November 22, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Mike in Texas

    Good for Obama! If candidates think its too intrusive, then too bad. if they have things to hide we don't want them in our government.

    November 22, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Meka

    If you've got anything to Hide, Obama suggest you NEED NOT TO APPLY!

    What's done in the Dark . . . comes to light, just ask GW Bush. He thought the Iraq Saga would never surface!

    November 22, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Gaylon Barrow


    November 22, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Democrats Unite

    If they turn away, then that means that they got something to hide. Obama is doing this right.

    November 22, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. Lorna, NY

    I agree with the vetting process. After Bush, we need to have clean government. If Bush had done this, maybe we would be in the mess we are in today.

    November 22, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. E.C.Coleman

    Didn't like my comment, CNN? Where is it?
    Again, Obama should be ashamed and should have used some measure of prudence instead of insulting former First Lady Nancy Ragan. Matters not that he called to apologize. What matters is that his innermost thoughts were expressed. Obama has no integrity and no character.

    November 22, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Dante in Madison, WI

    You know, this is just a ridiculous story. People whine and moan about corruption in Washington and when we finally get a President Elect who is trying to do something about it, what does he get–a headline that says "Obama's vetting could chase away candidates."

    If it chases away corrupt, in-the-pocket candidates who are tied in to special interests or questionable organizations, then good–let it chase them away. We need to be free of politicians only looking to fatten their own coffers and social influence.

    I say good for Obama. Let him scare away the garbage and let the best rise to the top.

    November 22, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Margo - TEXAS

    If they cant handle the vetting process then they dont need to be apart of his cabinet.

    I love the way CNN and every other news station first LOVES OBAMA. Now that he's president elect you have to nit pick at every little thing he does.

    This truly isnt even a story, come on now!

    These people are going to have the most important jobs in the country. Dont you think the vetting process should be tough?

    November 22, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Glad that he is scrutinizing his nominees. Maybe his administration will be scandal free unlike the last 4 Presidents.

    November 22, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. USA Patriot

    As usual, Obama is being thoughtful and responsible. I can't see any wrong in that. We need a leader with those qualities. Lord knows we haven't had that for a while.

    November 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Walter

    I agree. This story is crazy. These positions are important, affecting us all. Please take your time and make good decisions. This idea of immediate gratification at this level is what got us in the pickle we are now.

    I did not vote for Obama, but he has really impressed me with his steady manner. Mr. Obama please do not let us down.

    November 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Pat

    geeze, his vetting process is totally reasonable!

    November 22, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. David Goldman



    November 22, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. John from Seattle

    Like most the others here I have to agree that a strict vetting will generate a much stronger and less corrupt government. Ok, truth be told a few fairly legitimate and strong leaders will opt out and/or not be eligible despite their personal ability to maintain integrity despite industry contacts they have. Overall, however, maintaining a strict vetting policy will have way more benefits than running a surface level vetting only process.

    McCain was the best Republican candidate and one I would have considered in the face of weaker Dem candidates (like Kerry), but look what the weak vetting process did to McCain's candidacy – Palin wound up being a pull down on his candidacy and seemed to give a glimpse into his decision making process.

    Obama has many serious challenges ahead and only time will tell if he can pull it off, but I'm with him on a strict vetting.

    November 22, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. MAYBE....?



    November 22, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. ashley

    EC COLEMAN – Get over it Mr. Obama is the President Elect, so you might as well deal with it. If the only thing you have to base your comment on is the Ms. Reagan's then you truly have issues. I think most of you people that cant come to grip with our NEW PRESIDENT, SHOULD JUST LEAVE IF YOU DONT LIKE IT AND COME BACK IN ANOTHER 8 YEARS.

    November 22, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. David

    If the goal is to restore the republic's faith in its elected officials, at a time when the common perception towards politicians and government across the nation can be summed up with the following: "How can you tell when a politician is lying? " – "His lips are moving!"; it requires increased vigilance and vetting.

    I don't believe we're looking for saints or angels, anyone who has served in public life, or in positions of leadership, will have, if they've done anything, made mistakes, and made enemies.

    If the homily, "The character of the kingdom emanates from the character of the king", rings true, doesn't it make sense to ensure that the leadership positions are given to those, experience and capability being equal, whose character will have the most positive impact?

    If this nation is indeed at a crossroads, as circumstances seem to suggest, doesn't the importance of who is in the leadership positions take on even more significance?

    November 22, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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