November 12th, 2008
11:23 AM ET
14 years ago

Help wanted at the Obama White House

WASHINGTON (CNN) - An epidemic of layoffs is plaguing the country, but the Help Wanted sign is out in Washington: President-elect Obama's new administration needs to fill 7,996 positions according to the Plum Book, the quadrennial list of jobs filled by presidential appointment.

The Plum Book also lists the pay schedules for each presidential appointment. According to the book, a member of Obama's cabinet can make as much as $191,300.

But there are numerous positions whose salaries are not listed in the Plum Book, such as the president's chief of staff and press secretary, where the pay is at the administration's discretion, and can be much higher.

No administration official or presidential appointee can make more the president, who currently earns $400,000 a year.

The "Plum Book" - the name comes from the color of its cover - is published every four years immediately following the presidential election. The book was first released in 1952, when - after 22 years of a Democratically-controlled White House - Republican President Dwight Eisenhower's administration needed to identify what government jobs they could fill. The Plum Book was again produced in 1960 for the Kennedy administration, and has been published every four years since.

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soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Karen from Charlottesville

    I would work for him for free. I have a great job and would take a leave of absence to serve my country under the leadership of Barack Obama. I believe that we can all make a positive difference.

    November 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. rayjay

    I hope some of you brainless poeple who have never been without a job get fired to show you that not everyone is lazy and nost likly lost the jobs because of jerks like you and your eleite buddies. Go share some dog food and get used to it , it may be your diet in the future.

    Now is the time to work together to be great once again

    November 12, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Joe Banana November 12th, 2008 1:17 pm ET

    You can put a suit on a monkey but in the end its still a monkey.
    You're in luck. He's hiring monkeys, too! Don't forget to wear a suit!

    November 12, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. H-ROD


    November 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Mel B. in Columbia SC

    I am just curious on how to apply I would love to be on his kitchen staff

    November 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Obi-Wan

    How do I apply?

    November 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. DetroitRob

    Sweetie. You are so off base. Sad that you would not somehow TRY to compare Sarah Palin to Obama. She is accomplished? Oh, I forgot about that intellectual powerhouse of a community college that she graduated. Not to mention the higher degree that she earned; Oops wrong again, she was lucky to get the garbage bachelor's degree she received. Our new president-elect probably has forgotten more than Palin every knew. It does not take a genius to conclude that this woman is woefully inadequately educated to be someone that would lead us in the upper echelon's of our government. How can she be expected to help draft legislation when she barely reads, and obviously doesn't know the constitution. Mr. Obama on the other hand is so far more prepared being that he has obtain the highest degree offered in our universities, JD.

    November 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Paula

    Hey Joe Banana: 1:17pm:
    I think I hear that ugly green monster called "Jealousy".

    November 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Lori

    To Joe Banana: You are a racist idiot. Please take your vile beliefs with you when you crawl back under the rock you call home. Ugh, what a slimy, disgusting excuse for a human being you are.

    November 12, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. hope

    this sounds like a good opportunity for our young people that are interested in government. learn all you can, someday you might be in the white house.

    November 12, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Robert November 12th, 2008 1:10 pm ET

    Can someone explain to me why the President needs to make $400,000 a year? He doesn't pay rent, has no car payment, doesn't buy gas, or groceries. That would equate to a lot more in the real world. Obviously corporate CEO's earn much more, but this is public service, not a profit-making enterprise. Obama could make a big public statement by reducing his salary.
    That's including Combat Pay. Sometimes presidents get shot at!

    Can you say "Ronald Reagan?"

    November 12, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. observer

    He is creating jobs....
    Those people who are against him may not get into his administration because they cannot agree with him and will not do the job required.

    Hey, put aside the hatred and be open esp. to the JOBS....

    November 12, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Abbie

    No they don't-I love her. Please stop reporting INACCURATE information. Her and her family were crucified for no reason. CNN is so one-sided it really is pitiful.

    November 12, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. SmartStart

    I would love to have a job at the White House. I have good communications skills and I am a people person.

    November 12, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Maggie in SC

    Soccer Nana, I think they said the job did not require smarts, just be able to turn the other way.
    Robert you giot that righe abouyt Obama letting his salary be cut. He would make a really good impression if he fed some of the hungry we have in our country alon. He would most likelyn rains the poor man's taxes to pay for his cut in salary. But all kidding aside. He needs to open up a lot of homelss shelters, soup kitchens and keep the children off the streets in drug infested areas and out coun ty would be better.. At the rate we are going we will have to build more juvinile prisons. We need to cut the cost of trying crimminals over and over for the same things and put them away for a lifetime. that would set a good example to criminals.

    November 12, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Sweetie November 12th, 2008 12:55 pm ET

    I'd apply for one of those "Plum" Jobs…..

    However I'm an Independent "Typical White Women" that Obama has already dismissed by calling me "Sweetie"!

    He has a real problem with White women who are more accomplished then he is!

    Good Luck to all who apply!
    It's a good thing I'm not the President.
    I sure as hell wouldn't be calling you "sweetie!"

    November 12, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Cynthia; Bham

    "Sweetie" unless you saw him somewhere in person and he called you that or you're the news reporter that he called tsweetie but called to apologize for it. It seems to me you have some other issues.

    November 12, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Setys

    You bitter and frustrated people that are so against President elect Obama, I hope you will let your evil minds change for the better. You republicans tend to label yourselves as the righteous ones, as the good Christians but with your comments, there is no way any of you are the good Christians, It is really a shame the way you have portrayed Christianity, such comments do not come from true Christians.


    November 12, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Changeneedstohappen

    Joe "LOSER" Banana
    let me say that the monkey comment very poor use of words! President OBAMA! won this election hands down unlike Bush with 50 of the nation voting for Kerry. Bush who had to steal the election to win in 2000! Americans had to deal with his bull for 8 years and where are we lets see hmmm at war b/c he was trying to defend his daddy!
    At least this administration is looking to hire folks and post it!
    He hasn't even had a chance and people are making so many judgements! I pray he does so well so people like you have nothing to say but put your foot in your mouths!

    November 12, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Sophia Beck

    some of the comments are just cruel-

    November 12, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Robert

    Good luck on getting one of those jobs....they are like any other employer – it is who you know and what they owe you. Those jobs are already taken – by a friend of a friend of a friend. And for those who would even suggest that Obama should cut the size of the are joking right? All Obama has talked about is how much bigger government will be and how much more it will cost.

    November 12, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    3strikes November 12th, 2008 1:13 pm ET

    let the favoritism and nepotism begin. thats the reason why america will be spiraling down to oblivion, because of inexperienced empty suit idiocy, that just wants to play president, 1st term senator, makes me sick
    So what if he makes you sick? These jobs have Health Insurance! 🙂

    November 12, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. The New Civil War has begun (Sons of the Founders vs. The Socialists)

    I challenge the president elect to issue a bold decree across Washington, stating that as part of his "change" plan, that each department's budget will be immediately cut by 10 percent and will be frozen at that dollar amount until the end of his first term. (note, I did not say a cut in the rate of growth, I said an actual, no kidding CUT)

    THAT, my friends, is called real change.

    Many government agencies will whine about it, but they need to be told like we in the DoD were told all through the 1990s - DO MORE WITH LESS. In other words, SUCK IT UP, YOU'RE NOT GETTING ANY MORE MONEY.

    November 12, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. daune

    some of you guys should be ashamed of your self ,i know i am, for reading so of the filth . calling the president- ellect a monkey i feel sorry for you. get a life man.

    November 12, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. maurice

    im with mitch....move over bro we can be the dynamic-duo at making drinks. hahahahahhahahaha and for all you haters you won`t no peace until you know peace

    November 12, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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