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. Carrie

    Absolutely nothing wrong with what the President Elect is doing.

    Had McCain actually vetted Palin, he probably would not have chosen her. Had McCain actually vetted Joe the Plumber, he would have found out that perhaps he needs to find another Joe out there. If Bush had actually vetted people who work in this administration now, perhaps we would not have been in the mess we are in now.

    Stop whinning people!

    November 22, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Mike in Toronto

    He's got the vetting process exactly right. If Obama runs his government like he has his transition then we will get serious, professional, uncompromising, stewardship and leadership for first time in decades.
    Let him do what we elected he to do.

    November 22, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. Wisconsin Northwoods Dude

    I completely agree with the in-depth vetting process Obama's team is conducting. They're making sure that there won't be any 'skeletons in the closets' of the folks who are being considered for cabinet posts. It makes sense to weed out those who might have something hidden in their past that might come back to bite them later. And since Obamas theme is 'Change', perhaps this might bring in some new folks who don't have a lot of bad baggage.

    November 22, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  4. TheTruthHurts

    As long as mistakes are in the open they can be forgiven. When they are in the closet, that's what creates the problem.

    November 22, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. Illinois 2

    The american voters should have been vetting President Elect Obama prior to the election. I strongly believe had this been done, he would not have been where he is today... After all we still hear troubling things about him all the time..

    November 22, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Remy

    What is this word "VETTING"?

    But Obama's questioning of people who want to become HIGH officials is a good idea. If anyone runaway, we can simply understand that those people have some problems in public life.

    Let them go away. Frauds are afraid to face questions. Well done Obama!

    November 22, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Donna in Oregon

    President Elect Obama is an amazing man. To the extent possible he is changing the way things are done in WA. It will be nice to have a president who cares about the past dealings of his appointees.

    There are people who would criticize President Elect Obama even if he cured cancer, solved the global warming crisis, and brought about peace on earth. He wasn't THEIR candidate and they cannot deal with anybody but THEIR candidate being in charge. To them I say: you are either a part of the solution or the problem. Further, you should buckle up for a long and miserable (potential) 8 years because nothing he does will satisfy you.

    How sad.

    November 22, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    I think Obama's vetting process is perfect in ensuring we don't get a corrupt government. If someone really wants to be a part of his administration, they should have no problem providing information about all aspects of their lives.

    And, when you really think about it, would someone with truly corrupt skeletons in their closet actually be considered a qualified candidate?

    November 22, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Bridget

    I think it's fantastic that Obama's team has set a high standard of qualifications for those who will be serving the public within the Obama Administration. It's about time the President sets an example for the USA. No sneaky weasels in power anymore...ahhhh, it will be nice to see a transparent government again!

    November 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. sarah

    And, I suppose if he were not to put much energy into the vetting process – that would make a headline as well.

    November 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. loic From Lbv

    The president-elect vetting team is doing a great job. he campained on the basis of change, so it's high time crooks were not part the government , people with questionable morality must be out .
    this is a government of the people, for the people and by the people.
    Kudos to your vetting team for they're doing a good job in the history of american politics. Cnn calls it a bumpy transition, i call it a wise transition. because i believe it's important to scrutinize whoever you wanna work with.

    November 22, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Sally

    Vetting is vitally important – but who vets the vetters? Seriously, Hillary is making exactly the right choice in accepting S of S position. If, though I doubt it, BHO turns out to be a wonderful President, he'll be reelected in 2012, so she wont get in. However, in 2016, she'll be 68, and unfortunately, that wont be in her favour. This will open the way for Chelsea Clinton, who has beauty, brains and power behind her that could make HER the first woman President.

    November 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. Dan

    Why is such scrutiny a bad thing? I now have another reason, along with a host of others, to trust President-Elect Obama.

    November 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Franky

    Come to think about it, if I get vetted, boy, I don't even know if they'll want me, LOL!!

    Even Andrew Jackson would be ticked off, LOL!!

    November 22, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. carol

    I am very proud that Obama is vetting his people with the highest scrutinity....we want only the best to help run this country, we all see what McCain's version of vetting turned out to be!!!!
    I think anybody whom he may choose would be more than honored to go through a serious process before being offered a position....they will all want the same outcome for the country at the end of the day.
    No, he is doing the right thing and I am happy that he is not taking on anybody that is not up to his standard, he will after all be the President.

    November 22, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. tammy

    Well done Obama. He first set the example and so the rest should follow suit. I am sure America doesnt want it's dirty linen being washed in the open world. Go on - Wise and prudent Obama !!!!! Tammy. London

    November 22, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Do it right the first time

    Just as Obama says use a scapel and not a hatchet. I want a president who is meticulous.

    November 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. Simmy

    I would go through a month-long vetting process to be on his staff to even be a mail deliver in his White House! If they can't take the heat: I can't think of anything soooooo let them eat cake!

    November 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Joyce in Indiana

    Vetting the candidates properly won't necessarily prevent a bad apple from slipping through, but it sure decreases the probability. At the very least, they should be able to figure out what might cause problems. If they disqualify (or scare off) some otherwise good candidates, then so be it.

    November 22, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    You can't be too careful these days!! We need the best!

    It's much better than not vetting enough, right?

    November 22, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. Paul Hackett

    Wow what a head line. To bad he didn't use this kind of scrutiny picking his friends to hang with in the early years of his political career. But hey it didn't stop the vote though. Obama puts his new cabinet though more than we required of him to be President.
    We know less about Obama than we knew about any President ever elected, and he wants to know everything about anyone else.
    I like Obama the Icon to millions, but I don't like the political agenda.

    November 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. 1984

    That's right, everyone. Anyone who doesn't want to answer intrusive questions about their personal life has something to hide... and they're crooks too! And they want to bring down the federal government!

    If the Dear Leader asks you to give up your personal secrets, you shall submit.

    This thread really demonstrates to me how easy it is to fool people into accepting a dictatorial government in the guise of a democratic one. If you love the Dear Leader, you'll swallow anything.

    November 22, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Joe Green

    The republicans will jump down Obama's throat at the first mis-step.

    Can you blame him for being careful?

    If McCain had properly vetted Palin, he'd be the President-elect.

    It goes to show you how important vetting is.

    November 22, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Dave In Ohio

    People- please take a moment to READ what you write before you blindly click SUBMIT.

    Your improper spelling and grammar severely undercuts your arguments that OTHER people are fools.


    November 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. FreeNLovIt

    Okay, I READ Obama's economic plan over and over. I'm in IT. Do I now have to pick up a shovel? Thank you for those manual labor jobs, but they're not good enough to grow the economy. Someone told me that under Clinton, he allowed X amount of jobs to be offshored, so we had IT jobs. With W in office, MOST of the IT jobs were offshored or outsourced -offshored. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield, outsourced most of their mainframe jobs to IBM. In return, IBM just offshored it. Bottomline, stop bleeding TECHNO jobs overseas unless we are all employed first. We pay taxes so we should be offered jobs first before any offshore.

    November 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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