Obama’s Handful: The New Yorkers Who May Be Going to Washington

First among them is Orin Kramer, a financier at Boston Provident, a former aide in Jimmy Carter’s administration and a prodigious fund-raiser, who was perhaps the most influential bundler in Mr. Obama’s corner. Robert Wolf, an investment banker and CEO of UBS Americas, has expressed interest in a position, some insiders say. Also mentioned is Mark Gallogly, a private-equity expert who founded the firm Centerbridge after leaving Blackstone. Jim Torrey, a fund manager, has been especially enthusiastic and successful in raising money for Mr. Obama. Other founding members of the Obama fund-raising machine in New York include Provident Group managing director Brian Mathis and Frank Brosens, who runs Taconic Capital Advisors and is seen as very close to Bob Rubin.

Law is another major industry in New York, and insiders suggest that it will provide some candidates for jobs at the Department of Justice. Aside from the aforementioned Mr. Johnson, insiders have mentioned Preeta Bansal, a partner at Skadden, Arps and a former solicitor general of the State of New York who has worked on foreign policy, immigration and legal issues for the campaign. Before that, she worked on Supreme Court nominations in the Clinton White House, and like Obama, she is a graduate of Harvard Law. David Carden, an attorney at the law firm Jones Day, has roots in Illinois and has raised a lot of money for Mr. Obama. Andy Schapiro, a partner at Mayer Brown who attended Harvard with Mr. Obama and clerked for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and for Justice Harry Blackmun on the Supreme Court, is also named as a potential candidate for a position.

The most prominent New York-based figure who could potentially figure in a significant role in the Obama foreign policy operation is Richard Holbrooke, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He is, as several Obama insiders pointed out, too important not to be considered. At the same time, though, he has a couple of political problems. One is that he was an enthusiastic supporter of Hillary Clinton. The other, potentially more serious, is that he has had a rocky personal history with Anthony Lake, one of Mr. Obama’s most senior foreign policy advisers.

There’s at least one famous New Yorker who is less likely to get a call from the Obama administration than was once supposed.

Despite the advice he has offered to the next president in Newsweek columns, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is no longer in consideration as a candidate for a top job. To the degree that he was discussed at all, Mr. Bloomberg’s name all but vanished from serious conversation when he pushed a bill to overturn a two-term limit on city elected officials through the New York City Council, according to a number of insiders interviewed for this article.   

Though there’s much to be decided about which New Yorkers will eventually make the final cut, the decision-making portion of the transition process is certainly farther along than the resolutely tight-lipped Obama campaign has let on.

According to a senior Obama campaign official, a dozen groups completely separate from the campaign’s policy working groups have been operating under John Podesta, the former White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton, to come up with personnel in areas like the economy, health, climate change, foreign policy and national security. And according to another source with knowledge of the transition process, the campaign has already whittled those names down to “shortlists.”


Obama’s Handful: The New Yorkers Who May Be Going to Washington