[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/15/art.axelrod0215.cnn.jpg caption="David Axelrod said Sunday that the White House is using a thoughtful procedure to fill outstanding Cabinet posts."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The man primarily responsible for crafting President Obama’s message during two years of a hard-fought presidential campaign said the potential nominees for Commerce Secretary and Secretary of Health and Human Services will be announced soon.
“Choosing Cabinet members isn’t like American Idol,” David Axelrod, a senior aide to the President, said Sunday. “You don’t throw contestants out there and let the American people vote. We’re going through a thoughtful procedure to fill these posts. We want to get it right.”
The President’s method for selecting Cabinet nominees has come under increasing scrutiny after several nominees revealed problems with taxes and after three prominent nominees – New Mexico’s Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, former Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle, and New Hampshire’s Republican Sen. Judd Gregg – all withdrew their names from consideration for Cabinet posts after being tapped by Obama.
Richardson and Gregg had both been nominees to head the Commerce Department and Obama had named Daschle to run HHS and to advise the president as the White House’s “health czar.”
Nancy Killefer, who had been chosen by Obama for a new post focused on making the federal government more efficient, also withdrew her name for further consideration because of tax issues.
Axelrod also told reporters Sunday that despite the White House’s challenges with Cabinet nominees in recent weeks, the President’s grassroots supporters are behind him.
“We’ve got 13 million supporters who are eager to be a part of the solution [to the nation’s problems],” Axelrod said about Organizing for America, the grassroots organization recently set up to maintain contact with supporters Obama amassed during his White House run.
“One of the compacts we made with our supporters during this campaign was that we were going to bring the American people back into the governance of their own country. And so we’re trying to keep them informed as to what we’re doing and what that organization is doing. And they were very actively supportive of this economic recovery plan and they’re going to be important as we move forward.”